Patti Dahlstrom (born 1947) is an American singer/songwriter, recording artist, and musician. She recorded four albums in the seventies, and co-wrote the Helen Reddy hit "Emotion", before enjoying a renaissance and renewed visibility in 2010.
Patti Dahlstrom was born Patty Dahlstrom in 1947, Houston, Harris County, Texas, to Nina and Billy Dahlstrom. She has four siblings: sisters Nina, Cheryl and Ollabelle, and brother Frederick.
Dahlstrom attended River Oaks Elementary, Lanier Junior High, and Lamar High School in Houston, Texas.
In high school hse belonged to the Choralettes, an elite girls chorus and they performed all over Houston and once a year took a trip to New York for the Worlds Fair, or Washington DC, where they sang for the Senate, including Ted Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy. She was also on the dance team.
Growing up, at family parties she often performed Patti Page's "Tennessee Waltz". The singer inspired her to change the spelling of her name from Patty to Patti. She began writing songs before she was a teenager and often imagined reading her name on the credits on album sleeves.
Dahlstrom enrolled at the University of Texas; however, she dropped out after two years and relocated to Los Angeles, California to pursue a career in music. She was 20 at the time.
After three years of struggling, Dahlstrom broke into the world of professional songwriting, signing to Jobete Music, the publishing division of Motown, where she was mentored by Berry Gordy. Around the same time, she also began a songwriting relationship with Severin Browne, brother of Jackson Browne.
Moving to 20th Century Records, which was also headed by Regan, she followed with three more albums, The Way I Am (1973), Your Place or Mine (1975), and Livin It Thru (1976), produced by Michael J Jackson and Michael Omartian, Jack Conrad and Bill Schnee, and Larry Knechtel respectively.
Among the notable songs from Dahlstrom's 20th Century tenure was "Sending My Good Thoughts To You", which she co-wrote with Artie Wayne, and dedicated to her friend Jim Croce, who died in a plane crash in 1973. The song was included on Your Place or Mine in 1975.
Despite the fact that there was no break out hit single for Dahlstrom herself, her popularity as a songwriter for other recording artists was considerable. Notable among the recordings of her work are: "Ain't No Way To Rise Above (Fallin' In Love)" by Anne Murray (1982); "Running Out of World" by Cilla Black (1976); "Emotion" by Helen Reddy and Shirley Bassey; "What If", "I'm Letting Go", and "I Never Did" by Thelma Houston (1972); "Dialogue" by Michael Johnson (1979); "Feels Like More Than Dancing" by Captain and Tennille; "Over The Line" by Johnny Rivers (1973); and "Even Texas Isn't Big Enough Now" by Riders in the Sky (1986) from the album New Trails.
Dahlstrom's second album, The Way I Am, included "Emotion", a song that had arisen when Artie Wayne, Warner Brothers Publishing's General Manager, brought a copy of a Véronique Sanson album to Patti, with a view to her providing English lyrics. Dahlstrom was taken by the song "Amoureuse" and set it to her own words to form "Emotion". Confusingly, there was another contemporaneous English version of the song, with translated lyrics by Gary Osborne, which retained the title 'Amoureuse'. However, it was Dahlstrom's version, recorded by Helen Reddy, that became a US #22 and US AC #1 hit in 1974. In 2009, Véronique Sanson declared in an interview with the French magazine Platine that Dahlstrom's version remains her favorite version of Amoureuse.
In the seventies, Dahlstrom's recording career came to an end when she declined the opportunity to make a fifth album, and was, by her own request, released from her contract. She cited exhaustion among the reasons for the decision.
Years later, Russ Regan publicly disclosed his surprise and confusion that Dahlstrom's albums had not been high-profile successes, saying, "In my career there are two female singer/songwriters who I signed, that should've been stars, Patti Dahlstrom and Harriet Schock".
She continued to pursue songwriting through the seventies and eighties, as well as branching out into photography. Photographic assignments included working on set with Robert Altman and shooting an album cover and 1978 tour book for John Denver. Returning to Texas in 1990, Dahlstrom taught songwriting at The Art Institute of Houston before swiftly being made Department Director. In addition to teaching, she pursued studies of her own, including a degree in Liberal Arts.
Following a birthday trip to England in 2007, Dahlstrom decided to move to London in 2008, undertaking a Masters in Professional Writing. She lived there until 2011 and then moved to San José del Cabo, Mexico.
In March 2010, the CD Emotion - The Music of Patti Dahlstrom was released by Rev-ola. The 20 track compilation, drawing on Dahlstrom's four albums, was the culmination of a renewed internet-based interest in her music, which had been mounting for several years. The package contained a 24-page booklet with an essay by Mick Patrick, revitalized sound quality consequent to work by Norman Blake and Joe Foster, and design and artwork by Andy Morten. Engineering was by Nick Robbins. Norman Seeff's striking photographs of Dahlstrom were used throughout. The compilation scored a four-star review by Kingsley Abbott in Record Collector magazine.
Patti Dahlstrom (UNI 73127, 1972)
- Produced and Arranged by Toxey French
- String Quartet and Background Vocals Arranged by Michael Omartian
- Guitar/Leader: Ben Benay
- Keyboards: Michael Omartian, Jerry Peters
- Drums: Joel O'Brien, Gene Pello, Toxey French
- Bass: Jerry Scheff, Jack Conrad
- Congas: King Errison
- Tenor Sax: Jim Horn
- Strings: Tibor Zellig, Harry Hyams, Jesse Ehrlich
- Concertmaster: Sid Sharp
- Background Vocals: Billie Barnum, Julia Tillman, Oma Drake
- Photography: Ed Caraeff
- Art Direction and Design: Virginia Clark
The Way I Am (20th Century T421, 1973)
- Produced by Michael J Jackson and Michael Omartian
- Guitars: Larry Carlton, Dean Parks, Ned Doheny, David Spinoza, David Lindley
- Keyboards: Michael Omartian, Craig Doerge, David Spinoza, Michael Utley
- Drums: Jim Gordon, Gary Mallaber
- Congas: Jim Gordon
- Bass: Jack Conrad, Bryan Garafalo, Leland Sklar
- Sax, Flutes, Clarinets: Tom Scott
- Flugelhorn and Flute Arrangement: Clarence McDonald
- Strings Arrangement: Michael Omartian, David Campbell, Norman Kurban
- Background Vocals: Patti Dahlstrom, Don Dunn
- Photography: Ed Caraeff
- Design: David Larkham and Michael Ross for Tepee Graphics
Your Place Or Mine (20th Century T461, 1975)
- Produced by Jack Conrad and Bill Schnee
- Guitars: Dean Parks, Al Staehely, Art Munson, Freddy Tackett, Steve Cropper, Jay Grayson, Al Casey
- Keyboards: Larry Knechtel, Michael Utley, Andy Cahan, George Clinton
- Drums: David Kemper, Gary Mallaber, Jim Keltner
- Bass: Jack Conrad, David Hungate, Klaus Voorman
- Banjo, Fiddle, Slide: David Lindley
- Accordion: Nick DeCaro
- Horns: Jim Horn, Chuck Findley, Jackie Kelso, Lon Van Eaton
- Flute: Jim Horn
- Percussion: Steve Foreman, Milt Holland
- Strings Arrangement: Jimmie Haskell, David Foster
- Concertmaster: Sid Sharp
- Background Vocals: Patti Dahlstrom, Don Dunn, Ray Kennedy, Chuck Higgens
- Horns Arranged by Jim Horn
- Photography: Buddy Rosenberg, Bob Levy
- Art Direction: Queens Graphics
Livin' It Thru (20th Century T521, 1976)
- Produced by Larry Knechtel
- Cast: Mike Baird, Ben Benay, Gary Coleman, Jack Conrad, Jay Cooper, Michael Deasy, Daryl Dragon, Don Dunn, Chuck Findley, Bernie Grundman, Jimmie Haskell, Duitch Helmer, Jim Horn, Jackie Kelso, Larry Knechtel, Shelly Knechtel, Jeff Porcaro, Russ Regan, Jerry Scheff, Norman Seeff, Sid Sharp, Bob Siller, Melissa Tennille, Toni Tennille, Gary Ulmer, Al Staehely.
Emotion - The Music of Patti Dahlstrom (Rev-Ola Rev 299, 2010)
- Compilation drawn from the previous four albums