Patsy Cline

Greatly Appreciated

Patsy Cline  (born Virginia Patterson Hensley; September 8, 1932 – March 5, 1963) was an American singer.  Cline was best known for her rich tone, emotionally expressive and bold contralto voice and her role as a country music industry pioneer.  Along with Kitty Wells, she helped pave the way for women as headline performers in the genre.  Her hits began in 1957 with Donn Hecht’s and Alan Block’s “Walkin’ After Midnight”, Hank Cochran’s and Harlan Howard’s “I Fall to Pieces”, Hank Cochran’s “She’s Got You”, Willie Nelson’s “Crazy” and ended in 1963 with Don Gibson’s “Sweet Dreams”.  In 1973, she became the first female solo artist inducted to the Country Music Hall of Fame.  According to her 1973 Country Music Hall of Fame plaque:  “Her heritage of timeless recordings is testimony to her artistic capacity.”  (More from Wikipedia)

By now, the parade of early deaths of beloved musicians is long indeed.  Not a few of these losses have occurred in small airplane crashes:  Glenn MillerJohn DenverJim ReevesOtis ReddingJim CroceRick NelsonStevie Ray VaughanAaliyah, and three bandmembers in Lynyrd Skynyrd:  Ronnie van ZantStevie Gaines, and Cassie Gaines There is even a parallel to The Day the Music Died in country music, when Patsy ClineCowboy Copas and Hawkshaw Hawkins all died in a plane crash on March 5, 1963


(June 2013/1)


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Likewise,  the few women who reached the top of their field are among the biggest stars in country and western music history:  Kitty WellsTammy WynettePatsy ClineLoretta LynnDolly Parton, and Reba McEntyre, among many others.  In hip hopSalt-N-Pepa burst onto the scene in 1985 and probably helped establish the musical genre altogether, back when rap was being dismissed as a fad. 


(October 2013)


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Alt-country star k.d. lang has had an angular, androgynous persona since her first public appearances in the late 1980’s; she publicly came out as a lesbian in 1992 and has been one of the more activist among popular musicians.  The band that k.d. lang formed, the Reclines started out as a Patsy Cline tribute band. 


(January 2014)


Last edited: March 22, 2021