There are artists and entertainers who sadly leave us too soon. But in their short lifespans, they leave behind an incredible body of work and their legacy lives on even decades after their passing.
The country singer Patsy Cline is a great example of such an artist. The musicina died on March 5, 1963, in a plane crash at the age of 30. Yet, till today we listen to her music and discuss her life.
She was a brilliant singer and songwriter who became a member of the prestigious Grand Ole Opry and received posthumous recognition from the Grammy Awards and the Country Music Hall of Fame.
Of particular interest to Patsy Cline fans, are the chilling words she spoke before her plane crashed. To this day, these words can still cause any fan to shudder…
Join FactsVerse as we take a look at the incredible life and career of Patsy Cline…
Patsy Cline was born Virginia Patterson Hensley on September 8, 1932, in Winchester, Virginia. Her childhood wasn’t the easiest. The family was poor and often moved around so that her father, Samuel could find stable work. Unfortunately, stable work wasn’t always available, and the family continued to experience financial woes throughout Patsy’s childhood.
From a young age, she displayed an admirable work ethic. Her father abandoned the family and she had to find a way to make ends meet and look after everyone. She dropped out of school and took up a slew of odd jobs.
Among these odd jobs was performing at various honky tonks during the weekends. While she may have done this to make some extra cash, it was clear that she was passionate about music. It was also clear that she had an exceptional talent for music.
While she had to juggle singing with other odd jobs – including cleaning Greyhound buses – she continued to work on her craft. She may not be it then, but she destines to become a famous country music performer.
Before we tell you more about Patsy Cline’s life and career, please like this video and subscribe to our channel for more entertaining videos and interesting stories. Now, back to the video…
At the age of 15, Virginia sent a letter to the Grand Ole Opry. This is a popular country music organization that features the most prominent country stars. It’s been around for almost a century but at the time it was still in its early twenties!
Nevertheless, the Grand Ole Opry was one of country music’s most important institutions. She gives a chance to audition to become a regular performer at the Grand Ole Opry concerts. She traveled to Nashville with her family to perform. Sadly, she never received a response from them. She later became a member after her music career took off.
But this didn’t discourage Virginia. She continued to perform in local clubs around the South. In 1952, she became a member of country musician Bill Peer’s band and toured with the band. It was also at this time when Virginia adopted the stage name of “Patsy” drawing from her middle name, Patterson.
In 1953, she won $100 in a country music contest. She receives the opportunity to perform on the TV show “Town and Country Time” created by Connie B. Gay – often thought of as a founding father of country music.
She began performing on various TV shows and her popularity was increasing by the day. She finally began recording music and releasing records in the late 1950s.
PATSY’S LIFE AND CAREER
Patsy Cline began recording music in the mid-1950s. However, her first singles aren’t met with much success.
At the age of 24, she got a chance to perform on The Arthur Godfrey Show. She performed a song called “Walkin’ After Midnight.” The performance became hugely popular, and she quickly recorded the song to release as a single.
The song eventually reached the Number 2 spot on the Billboard country chart! While it would be a while till she achieved another big hit, this song made her a star. It also made her one of the first country singers to sell over 1 million copies of a record!
It was shortly after releasing this record that she divorced her first husband Gerald. Gerald saw Patsy as a housewife and didn’t feel comfortable with her becoming a major country star. It was clear by now, that becoming such a star was her destiny!
She would later marry Charlie Dick with whom she had 2 children, Julie and Randy.
In the early 1960s, Patsy released hit after hit. Her popular songs included “I Fall to Pieces,” “Crazy,” “Sweet Dreams,” and “She’s Got You.”
Patsy Cline had become unstoppable. At a young age, she had become one of America’s most prominent country stars. At the time, she seemed immortal, and it seemed that her career would span decades.
Unfortunately, this isn’t meant to be. And strangely enough, it seemed as if Patsy knew that she wouldn’t live long. Patsy had experienced two serious car accidents during her life. While she managed to survive those harrowing events, they made her think often about mortality…
THE PLANE CRASH
On Tuesday, March 5, 1963, Patsy Cline boarded a plane. This aircraft would ultimately crash and bring about her death.
But what’s even more haunting are the chilling words Patsy Cline spoke shorlty before the plane crash. She apparently told singer Ray Walker,
“Honey, I’ve had two bad ones. The third one either will be a charm or it will kill me.”
It’s likely that ‘bad ones’ referred to her two car accidents.
On March 3, 1963, Patsy Cline performed at a concert in Kansas City, Kansas. The concert was a benefit at the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall. The benefit was for the famous disc jockey “Cactus” Jack Call who had died in a car crash a month earlier.
Patsy Cline performed with other popular country music stars, including George Jones, Billy Walker, Dottie West, Stoney Cooper, Wilma Lee, George McCormick, Cowboy Copas, and Hawkshaw Hawkins.
No doubt, she gave one of her best performances at this show. Her final performance was “I’ll Sail My Ship Alone.”
Following the concert, she intended to travel back to Nashville, where she lived. However, she was unable to catch a flight from Fairfax Airport due to poor weather conditions. She spent the night at the Town House Motor Hotel.
She offers a ride by Dottie West and her husband Bill. The drive back to Nashville would take just under a day of non-stop travel. But Patsy politely turned down the offer, opting to fly at a later date.
In fact, the way she worded her refusal was rather strange. She rejected Dottie’s offer by saying:
“Don’t worry about me, Hoss. When it’s my time to go, it’s my time to go,”
Patsy Cline boards a plane that is destined for Nashville. The plane is a Piper PA-24 Comanche plane and piloted by Randy Hughes.
Sadly, Patsy would never make it home to Nashville. The plane had unexpectedly crashed in a forest near Camden, Tennessee – about 90 miles away from Nashville. No one survived the plane crash.
Patsy Cline is just 30 when she’s dead on March 5, 1963. Many fans, friends, and family members came to pay their respects at her funeral. She was buried at the Shenandoah Memorial Park in Winchester, Virginia – the town in which she was born and spent much of her childhood.
Patsy Cline’s life ended much too soon. Nevertheless, in only 30 years, she managed to rise from her humble beginnings in Virginia to become one of the biggest stars in country music. To this day, she’s remembered as an icon of the country music genre.
Many of her most popular songs were released after her death. There have also been posthumous albums providing remastered editions of her most popular songs.
In 1967, Decca Records released Patsy Cline: Greatest Hits. This album later won an award in the Guinness Book of World Records for being the longest album recorded by a female artist to hold a place on a music chart.
In 1991, MCA, which had bought Decca Records released a box set of her music. The box set was called The Patsy Cline Collection. This box set was listed by Rolling Stone magazine in their 50 Greatest Albums of All-Time.
Since her passing, many music writers have praised Patsy Cline’s incredible musical style and have made note of the passion which she emphasized in her songs.
Even after her death, her songs have been part of the soundtrack for many popular films. These films have included Blood Simple, Deception, Rudy, Natural Born Killers, Tommy Boy, How To Make an American Quilt, U-Turn, A Texas Funeral, Sonny, The Departed, The Notorious Bettie Page, Hick, and Welcome to Marwen.
Her songs have been used in TV shows such as Moonlighting, Saturday Night Live, The 58th Annual Academy Awards, Quantum Leap, Reasonable Doubts, Cybill, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Playing The Field, King of the Hill, Alias, The West Wing, and Veep.
Patsy Cline left us too soon. But her music will continue to live for generations to come…
Are you a fan of Patsy Cline?
Do you think that she’s gotten her due as one of Country music’s best artists? Or do we need to re-introduce her music to a new generation?
Let’s hear your thoughts in the comments.
If you liked this story, be sure to hit the ‘like’ button and be sure to Subscribe to FactsVerse for more great stories! Hit the bell icon to receive regular notifications!
We’ll see you in the next video!