REMEMBERING PATSY CLINE… (click here to read the entire story)

March 5, 2008

45 Years ago today- the world lost the Greatest female singer ever-

The one, the only…Ms. Patsy Cline

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…”Anything but Country”- that’s the usual answer I get when my friends and I are trying to decide on a radio station.  Normally, we can’t decide….so everyone is always instructed to bring a couple of CD’s for the road trip and we’ll sit through them as we drive (everyone is allowed one “veto”).  When it’s my turn…I usually yell out- “Ok, one Country song and then”….  (that’s usually as far as I get before hearing VETO! screams from everyone).

“But…It’s Patsy Cline”.  Then of course the standard phrase is next… “Oh, she’s not Country… I like her”.  Wait, wait…so because someone that usually hates country, likes Patsy…. that makes Patsy “not Country”?  It’s always the same excuse…but they love Patsy. 

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Patsy, wearing one of her famous western dresses. 

(This dress is now displayed in the Country Music Hall of Fame!)

I can’t say that I blame them…I’m a pretty big fan myself.  I’m even a charter member of her fan club. (YES!, she still has a fan club…Elvis still has a fan club, several in fact…so don’t make that face.)  There is even an annual Patsy Cline Memorial Celebration in her hometown of Winchester, Virginia over Labor Day Weekend to celebrate her life. It starts on Friday evening and ends on Monday morning.  For me, the most touching part of the entire weekend is the Memorial Service.  Another highlight of the weekend is the fact that Patsy’s husband, Charlie Dick- has attended each and every fan club gathering over the last 20 years.

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Patsy and Charlie on their wedding day, 1957

Until I became such a huge fan of Patsy’s, I never really understood why all those people lined up at Graceland.  I mean, I like Elvis…I just didn’t get it.  Then I went to Graceland… I get it now.  I never understood those silly girls screaming their heads off and crying when the Beatles played on the Ed Sullivan show…I get it now.  I feel all that (times ten) when I’m at Patsy’s grave.  It’s something that’s too hard to explain, so I won’t try.  But- I’m pretty sure you have a singer that makes you melt and you “get it”.

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That guy up there in the picture with Patsy is George Hamilton IV.  He played several shows with Patsy early on in their careers.  He always speaks so warmly of Patsy and has attended several of the Labor Day events to honor her in Winchester.  He’s the nicest guy you’ll ever meet and he really respected Patsy as an entertainer.  George has some great stories….one of my favorites is when he says “Kitty Wells may have opened the door for women in Country Music- but Patsy kicked that door down!”  He’s the best.

During the early days of Country Music, gingham and lace were pretty much the standard attire for women.  Patsy had her own style and and a frame that you’d usually only see in Hollywood.  Her mother, Hilda Hensley, was a wonderful seamstress and would hand craft some of Patsy’s most famous stage costumes.  Patsy would design them herself and then show the sketches to her mother and Ms. Hensley would create western stage clothes that would rival Nudie’s Rodeo Tailors in North Hollywood, CA.  As Patsy’s style changed so did the dresses.  During the early 60’s she began wearing a variety of dresses in beautiful colors made from silk, sequins and chiffon.  Once again the talents of her mother were called upon to create more of these signature stage costumes that would be worn for publicity photos, concerts and album covers over the next several years.

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Ms. Hilda Hensley and Patsy’s famous red westen costume.

The one thing that always amazes me about Patsy is how people that actually knew her, say how great she was with her fans.  Sometimes you hear things about entertainers and it sounds like it could never be true.  I’ve seen the ten page letters she’s written to fans in the early 60’s and it’s amazing that she took the time to do that (and often!)  It’s also kind of neat to hear how she’d stay for hours after a show, signing autographs until the very last fan that wanted one or even a picture with her- got one.

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Patsy poses with some fans while on tour in Canada.

Speaking of which…I’m sure Patsy would be very proud of the way her husband Charlie and their children Julie and Randy have continued to extend that same personal respect and friendship to her fans, just as she always did.  In fact, one fan from Texas named Louise Seger- stayed in contact with Patsy for several months and those letters have since become the basis of an International hit play written by Ted Swindley. 

Read about it here:

http://www.alwayspatsycline.net/

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Patsy played all the venues where a true star was invited to perform.  Aside from becoming a member of the Grand Ole Opry- she also played Carnegie Hall, The Hollywood Bowl and American Bandstand.  She even headlined her own show in Fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada at the Mint Casino.

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One of my favorite Patsy pictures….”Country Diva”.

Patsy Cline had come a long way from her first taste of fame after winning “Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts“…(for all you youngsters out there, that was the equivilant of winning “American Idol” back in the day).  Patsy was becoming a huge draw and was touring the nation. She even did a show with Rock-N-Roll star Roy Orbison!  By now, her hits included “Walkin’ After Midnight, I Fall To Pieces, Crazy, She’s Got You, Heartaches, Strange, Imagine That, Leavin’ On Your Mind, So Wrong” and a dozen others.  Patsy was finally living her dream.  She won just about every major award at the 1962 DJ Convention, including “Star of the Year”.  

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Patsy Cline on stage at the “Grand Ole Opry”.

On March 3, 1963 she played a benefit concert for a DJ that had lost his life and left behind a wife and children.  Patsy along with several other members of the Grand Ole Opry peformed in Kansas City at the Memorial Hall to a capacity crowd.  However, not everyone that wanted to see the show got in.  After noticing the large crowd still waiting, the entertainers agreed to a second show that would again benefit the DJ’s widow and her family.  Patsy had a slight cold but agreed to a second show.  The picture below, is one of the last known photos taken of her. 

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Patsy Cline, backstage- March 3, 1963.

Patsy Cline- along with Opry Stars Cowboy Copus & Hawkshaw Hawkins flew back towards Nashville with Patsy’s manager/pilot Randy Hughes on March 5, 1963…

  They never made it home.

After her death, Patsy’s recordings continued to sell and she still won major awards years after she passed.  One of the greatest honors she would ever receive was her induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame- located in Nashville, Tennessee.  She was the FIRST female solo artist inducted into this elite group of stars.

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PATSY CLINE’S plaque at the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Patsy was “re-discovered” by millions of fans via the Loretta Lynn movie based on her best selling book “Coal Miner’s Daughter”. Beverly D’Angelo portrayed Patsy in the movie.  After a growing interest in Patsy’s music started to reach a whole new generation of fans, the idea for a new film based entirely on Patsy Cline was made starring Jessica Lange as Patsy and Ed Harris as Charlie Dick.  It was called “Sweet Dreams”, named after one of Patsy’s most famous songs.  Prior to that, the only way fans could connect to Patsy’s music was through her albums.  One album has always been a hit-

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 Greatest Hits- released in 1967.

The album “Patsy Cline’s Greatest Hits” has sold over TEN MILLION copies and is listed in the 2005 edition of the Guinness Book of World Records.  Patsy holds the honor of  “Most weeks on the US charts for an album by a female artist of any genre in history.”  At the time, the album had spent a total of 722 weeks in the Billboard Music charts and during that period- the album held the No. 1 position for almost FIVE YEARS total!!

Patsy also earned a special Grammy Award for “Lifetime Achievement”, she also has the honor of having the #1 Jukebox Hit of all time for “Crazy”.  She was also ranked #1 by CMT in their countdown of 40 Greatest Women In Country Music History.  Patsy was also honored by the United States Postal Service with a stamp in her likeness.  She has a street named after her on the Universal Studios lot in California.  Patsy even has her very own star on the world famous Hollywood Walk of Fame!

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Husband Charlie and Daughter Julie attended the Hollywood Walk of Fame star dedication ceremony for Patsy Cline on August 3, 1999.

There are several documentaries that have been issued by Patsy’s Estate.  Their titles are “The Real Patsy Cline”, “Remembering Patsy” and “Sweet Dreams Still”.  All contain so many wonderful performances of Patsy at her best. 

If you’re ever near Winchester, Virginia- you can visit her grave.  It’s marked with an elegant bronze plaque that reads:

“DEATH CAN NOT KILL WHAT NEVER DIES- LOVE”.

 

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24 Responses to “REMEMBERING PATSY CLINE… (click here to read the entire story)”

  1. […] REMEMBERING PATSY CLINE…. […]

  2. What a great tribute to Patsy Cline. Well thought out and sensitive. Great pics that I haven’t seen before. Record stats were amazing. Really great job!!!

  3. Incrediblly awesome tribute!! Loved the new pics and the way her lifestory was told. Amazing job!! What a true treasure we will all miss. May your songs live forever in our hearts Patsy.

  4. Ernie Brickle Says:

    Mario, this is great! Thanks for remembering our gal.
    Patsy has done so much musically and through the
    many friendships (as ours) that are a result of her.
    I know she is very pleased. Thanks for your efforts
    and for your friendship.
    Ernie

  5. Great tribute to Patsy and great pictures Mario.
    It’s a really good job !!
    As you said, 45 Years ago today, the world lost the greatest female singer ever.
    The world lost a wonderful voice and person.

    Through Patsy, I know you and I am very glad.
    Arno …

  6. Great post! Patsy Cline was the greatest! I dont understand people who say “anything but Country”- usualyl they are ignorant non-music lovers who only like Top 40 radio and “hits”. I love Country Music and see it as a true art form. Patsy Cline was one of those original people- she was very much a Country singer, yet her own. Thats why people have a hard time thinking shes just “Country”. But Country she was- and I love her singin!

  7. OH GOD I KNOW WHAT YOU MEAN.yep,anything BUT country.and then i go OHHHH PLEASE JUST ONE FREAKIN SONG! we’re all rockers,and when i go out of town my brother a friend and her sister.so they’re like okay,we hate country hit some kiss or judas priest:))>(not that i don’t like them,GOD,it’s just that country is so for the road,and the glass:))
    I SO FEEL YOUR PAIN

  8. awesome job!
    i just adore Patsy.

  9. I absolutely love Patsy Cline and her music. I just saw the play “Always, Patsy Cline” in Santa Rosa California and it was very good. A wonderful story about her warm and caring relationship with a fan named Louise Seger. It left a mark on me. God Bless you Patsy.

  10. Jimmy Walker Says:

    Like the new look.
    Merry Christmas!

    Jimmy

  11. Question? Was Patsy Cline part Cherokee as I have been told?

  12. brenda wiser Says:

    . for the beautiful pictures of a beautiful woman I ADMIRE. mY MOM PLAYED HER SONGS WHEN i was little and I STILL LOVEher voice. Nobody will ever compare or be as great a singer and so original as the beautiful patsy . a n admirer forever.. want to see more of these oictures…

  13. Bob Loren Says:

    This is a wonderful tribute to Patsy Cline. I live in Stephens City, Virginia, this is very close to where Patsy is from. “Walking after Midnight” is probably my favorite song of all time. Patsy’s voice will live forever.

  14. richard gamble Says:

    THERE WILL NEVER BE ANOTHER SONGSTRESS WITH THE ABILITY AND CHARACTER OF MS. CLINE. I WAS BUT 7 YEARS OLD WHEN SHE PASSED ON BUT VIVIDLY REMEMBER, I WAS IN SCHOOL AND A SMALL RADIO WAS PLAYING DURING NAP TIME, WHEN IT BROKE THE NEWS THAT SHE HAD PASSED AND MY TEACHER STARTED CRYING. SHE WILL TRULY BE MISSED AND HAS BEEN MISSED FOR 45 YEARS. WHO KNOWS WHAT SHE WOULD HAVE ACCOMPLISHED.

  15. (Great Page) I love Patsy very much…she and I sing together alot of time out here on the road..I have the same album got it @ an estate sale..perfect

  16. Karen McNatt Says:

    A very nice page about Patsy. I loved hearing some of the stories I haven’t heard before. I loved the 10 page letter to her fan, almost makes me cry! I was 8 years old when she passed away. Her accident was about 6 weeks after my mother’s passing in a car accident. I remember hearing about her and remembered my Mother loved her!
    I am having a big celebration for her birthday here in Nashville this September 8, 2010. We will attempt to sing her songs, dress in her style and honor her memory with a benefit for a music school that provides music lessons to underpriveledged children.
    Nashville has not forgotten Patsy, and we will make sure the next generation doesn’t either!
    Happy Birthday Patsy Cline!

  17. I wasn’t even born yet when Ms. Patsy Cline was killed, but my mother was a big fan of hers and I got to know her music because of my mother; for which I am grateful. To this day, no other artist comes close to having a voice like Patsy Cline. Her voice and songs stir my soul and makes me wish I was alive during her era. My mother is gone now too, and every time I listen to, “I Fall to Pieces”; my mother’s favorite song by Patsy, it brings tears to my eyes for both of them. Patsy, your legend will live forever, my mother passed your music on to me and me to my children. Your sound is unique and deserves to be passed on throughout the generations so they know what real music sounds like. I was born in 1966, and can remember listening to your music from my earliest memories. Thank you for having the stamina and courage to follow through with your dream and make the music you made. Gone, but here for eternity!

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  20. Mary Adams Says:

    One of the best country singers besides Loretta Lynn

    • I have allways loved patsy cline, I am In my fifties ,and have enjoyed country music as long as I can remember, and now my granddaughter age 15 has fallen in love with her to,has most of her records, It,s true , some people or songs never die ,her husband and kids where very lucky to have been In her life

  21. I have the book displayed on my coffee table. I love Patsy Cline and her music. No one ever sang like her before or after her death. Best singer that ever lived. I actually sang on a show with Patsy when I was five years old in Charlotte, NC..\\. I got to meet her in her dressing room back stage. She was just beginning to tour again since her near fatal car accident. She was on crutches and had a bad scar on her forehead. She also still had a black eye. I will never forget that night. Such a sweet , sweet lady. I still pay a tribute to her to this day on all of our shows. Sweet Dreams, our dear Patsy! We love you.

  22. nickofthyme Says:

    There will never be another like her.

  23. I LOVE COUNTRY! Rock and Pop music suck!!!!!

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