Singer Patti Page, who died New Year’s Day, had a connection to Cape Cod — celebrating it in a song that described it as a land of sand dunes, salty air, and quaint little villages.
Page, who was 85, rose to stardom in the 1950s with songs like “Tennessee Waltz.” But it was her song “Old Cape Cod” that first advertised the Cape as a vacation gem, said Wendy Northcross, head of the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce.
“We think she put the Cape on the map,” she said. “Before the Kennedys, before our successful marketing ever did it, she did.”
Despite the famous song, recorded in 1957, Page had never been to Cape Cod until 2010, when she visited the area for a fund-raiser. During her visit, the street the Chamber of Commerce stands on was named Patti Page Way in her honor.
After her first visit, Page returned several times.
“I’d like to bring my grandchildren here,” Page said of the Cape in a 2010 interview with the Globe. “That would be nice. I live in San Diego County, so getting back here is not the easiest thing in the world to do. But I’d like to bring them here someday.”
“I fell in love with the music and the lyrics to the song,” Page told the Globe. “When I first came here, I knew that she [the songwriter] had captured it completely.”
Northcross, the Chamber director, said she was heartbroken to hear of Page’s death and called her “a lovely woman who wrote an iconic song to which nothing compares.”
She said the Chamber of Commerce had hung a black ribbon on the street sign that marks Patti Page way.