UNDATED (CBS) -- Singer Patti Page became a star just before the rock 'n roll era and even Elvis Presley couldn't knock her off the charts. Page died in California on New Year's Day, after performing for seven decades and selling more than 100 million records.
Patti Page was a pop queen when pop songs were first getting started. Beginning in 1948, the woman they called "The Singing Rage" scored at least one top-twenty hit for 11 straight years, including her biggest single, The Tennessee Waltz, which stayed at number one for 9 weeks in 1950 and 51.
Rolling Stone contributing editor Anthony DeCurtis says, "It's one thing to have hits, and Patti Page had plenty of those, it's another for your voice to be one of the defining voices of an era."
Her popularity took her to television, where she had shows on all three broadcast networks. And in the 1960s Page tried her hand on the big screen, appearing in three feature films including opposite Burt Lancaster in "Elmer Gantry."
But it was her voice for which she will be most remembered. DeCurtis says, "She was somebody who really took the emotion of a song and gave it to the listeners. And listeners and fans really responded to that."
Born Clara Ann Fowler in Claremore, Oklahoma, Page was one of 11 children growing up in a poor family. She won her first Grammy in 1999 when she was 71. She'll get her second, a lifetime achievement award, posthumously next month.
Patti Page was 85.