Patsy Cline
"“Ladies and Gentlemen, the one and only Patsy Cline.” -- Johnny Cash
Patsy Cline first made the charts in 1957 with "Walking After Midnight," a song she had performed for Arthury Godfrey's Talent Scouts and won. It was a rare cross-over hit for a female country artist, climbing to the #2 spot on the country chart and going to #12 on the pop chart. At the time, Cline was under contract with Four Star Records and was required to record only songs published by Four Star. None of those efforts in 1958 or 1959 matched the success of "Walking After Midnight." A major change came in 1960 when her contract with Four Star expired and through her new manager, Randy Hughs, she signed a new contract with Decca. She hooked up with producers Owen Bradley and Chet Atkins and soon the "Nashville Sound" emerged. Using strings and more sophisticated arrangements, Bradley produced Patsy Cline as more of a pop sound. Patsy didn't want to be a "pop" singer, but found the material well suited to her voice. In 1961 she recorded "I Fall to Pieces" and it was an immediate cross-over hit. It made #1 on the country chart and Patsy became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Then, the soaring career almost came to a literally crashing end when she and her brother were involved in a head-on car accident in June. Patsy was thrown through the windshield, but survived -- the driver of the other car did not. After a month in the hospital, Patsy returned to the concert tour, still on crutches. To follow the success of "I Fall to Pieces" she returned to the studio and was given a demo of a Willie Nelson composition, "Crazy." Patsy tried to record it like the demo, but it just didn't work. After a frustrating first session, she returned to the studio and did a version sounding more like a female torch song. The result was a giant cross-over hit, another country #1 and a top ten pop song. Patsy's stage presence began to reflect this pop orientation as she would wear designer dresses and even gold lame pants instead of the standard western outfits. And Patsy Cline became a headliner, rather than a co-star, or even just an opening act, which was typical for female country singers at the time. With two big hits to her credit, she returned to the studio in late 1961 and recorded her second album. Backed by The Jordanaires, the album produced another hit, "She's Got You" (#1 country; #14 pop). She was fast becoming a country superstar and her high style presentation put off typical introductions on the country scene that would refer to the singer as "the pretty little," or "the lovely." While touring with Johnny Cash in 1962, she was introduced by Cash as "the one and only, Patsy Cline." In 1963, after performing in Kansas City, she boarded Hughes' Piper Comanche to return to Nashville. After refueling in Dyersburgh, Tennessee, the plane encountered bad weather and crashed in a forest near Camden, Tennessee, 90 miles from Nashville. All aboard were killed. Patsy Cline was 30 years old. Songs from her fourth album were released posthumously and "Sweet Dreams" became a #5 country hit and nearly made the pop top 40 (#44). In succeeding years, many country artists would cite Patsy Cline as their inspiration and she achieved legendary status. She was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1973. In 1985, Jessica Lange played Patsy in a movie about her life, "Sweet Dreams."
title week debuted highest ranking weeks on chart
Walking After Midnight 3/2/1957 12 11
I Fall to Pieces 7/24/1961 12 10
Crazy 11/6/1961 9 7
She s Got You 2/24/1962 14 8
Sweet Dreams 6/21/1963 44