With more vocal talent than a warehouse full of “X Factor” wannabes, Patsy Cline also brought some “girl power” attitude to shake up the male-orientated country music establishment. She was born today in 1932.
Country songstress Virginia Patterson Hensley aka Patsy Cline was born in Winchester, Virginia, USA. A life that reads almost like a screenplay saw this young singer rise from obscurity via a talent contest victory to become a highly successful performer.
Singing on local radio broadcasts as a teenager, Patsy (the Cline came courtesy of her short-lived 1953 marriage to Gerald Cline) won first prize in the 1954 Country Music Championships held and signed her first recording contract. Championed by country great Ernest Tubb and recording in Nashville with famed producer Owen Bradley in 1955, her first single, “A Church A Court Room then Good-Bye” led to her maiden appearance on the Grand Ole Opry but failed to become a hit.
Cheating death in two serious car accidents on the way, Patsy enjoyed a run of success from 1956 onwards as singles such as “Walkin’ after Midnight”, “I Fall To Pieces”, ”She’s Got You” and “Crazy” took up residency on jukeboxes and elevated her to iconic status.
Invited to join the Opry cast in January 1960, Patsy graced the stage of Carnegie Hall the following year and in a hectic 1962 also toured with Johnny Cash and played a residency at a club in Las Vegas.
Agreeing at short notice to sing at a benefit concert in Kansas City in March 1963, Patsy travelled by light plane and set off on the return flight to Nashville with co-stars Cowboy Copas and Hawkshaw Hawkins. However shortly after making a refueling stop in Tennessee, the plane was reported missing and wreckage was later found. There were no survivors.
Aged just thirty at the time of her death, Two of Patsy’ biggest hits “Sweet Dreams (of you)” and “Faded Love” were posthumously released. Her recordings retain a timeless quality and she remains an inspiration to performers and fans alike, with books and stage shows maintaining her legacy into the 21st century.
August 2011 saw Patsy’s former childhood home in Winchester opened to the public for the first time, the one-bedroomed house she shared with her mother, brother and sister having undergone extensive renovation.
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And here’s some footage of Patsy in action: