Earlier this month, the world lost Patti Page, the original singer of one of the best known 20th century dog songs: How Much Is That Doggie In The Window.
Released in 1953, this squeaky clean tune was meant for kids but ended up being a huge mainstream hit. It held the number one spot on the Billboard charts for two months. Clearly, this was the height of that odd pre-rock-and-roll moment in pop music history. Here, Patti sings her tune with a puppy in her arms. There are some lyrics I’d never heard before — apparently she is on her way to California and wants to get a dog to keep her lover from being sad when she goes.
Today, this song is little more than a novelty tune sung by children. However, it’s also become a kind of weird anti-anthem for those of us who advocate against buying dogs at pet stores, a practice that generally feeds the corrosive puppy mill system.
The late Ms. Page was aware that her song seemed to support purchasing dogs. Her response was to rerecord the song with new lyrics about the importance of getting dogs from shelters rather than from stores. Here, she is explaining her decision to record this new version of the tune, and then singing it.
Very said to lose this singer, but how fortunate that, before passing, she was able to add this sweet and thoughtful bookend to her repertoire for the sake of shelter dogs everywhere.