Peggy Layton was planning to take a special trip with her sister to Los Angeles this weekend.
Instead, the Oklahoma City resident will accept the Lifetime Achievement Award on behalf of her older sibling, Patti Page, Saturday during Grammy Week festivities in L.A.
“I was hoping that she would be there. But she will be in spirit,” Layton said.
Page, 85, the Oklahoma-born and bred pop music icon known as “The Singing Rage,” died Jan. 1 in Encinitas, Calif. She had struggled with health problems in recent years.
Just three weeks before her death, The Recording Academy announced that the Claremore native would receive a 2013 Lifetime Achievement Award at a special invitation-only ceremony this Saturday. Page and the other honorees also will be acknowledged during the 55th Annual Grammy Awards telecast, airing from 7 to 10:30 p.m. Sunday on CBS.
Carole King, Glenn Gould, Charlie Haden, Lightnin' Hopkins, Ravi Shankar and the Temptations also will receive Grammy Lifetime Achievement Awards at Saturday's ceremony. Shankar, 92, a world-renowned sitar player, died the day before the awards were publicly announced in December.
“Patti was so excited, and she was planning on going,” Layton said with a sigh. “It's a shame. I just don't understand why they wait 'til they're so old to give the Lifetime Achievement Award. You know, she was in the business for 62 years or longer. Why can't they give it when they're younger? You know, not real young, because that wouldn't be a lifetime, but not when they're so old that they die or they're too old to go.”
Born Clara Ann Fowler on Nov. 8, 1927, Page was the top-selling female artist of the 1950s, with a legacy and influence that spanned generations. She released more than 100 albums and 160 singles in a career that spanned more than six decades, according to her Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame biography.
She notched 111 chart hits, including pop classics like “(How Much Is That) Doggie In the Window,” “Old Cape Cod” and “Tennessee Waltz,” which became a No. 1 hit concurrently on the pop, country and R&B charts.
“It brings tears to your eyes. At least it does mine. But I'm prejudiced,” Layton said of her sister's famed rendition of “Tennessee Waltz.” “She was a great person, and she had the clearest voice of anyone. She didn't know music. She never had a music lesson in her life. God just gave her a voice, and she took it.
“There'll never be another ‘Singing Rage Miss Patti Page.'”
Growing up in Tulsa, Layton was the youngest of 11 children. Page was next-to-youngest of the eight girls and three boys.
“She was a bouncy girl. I mean, she never met a stranger. Yet when she became a star ... she was a very private person. She didn't go out after a concert and carouse around or anything like that. She would always sign autographs and then she would always go to her room or go out and have dinner with just her friends,” said Layton, 83, in a phone interview from the Oklahoma City independent living center she now calls home.