Patsy Cline sings “You Belong to Me” and more

Written by Charles McKay

In category: Song of the Day

Published December 13, 2016

Another wonderful voice performing some terrific songs in another genre—Patsy Cline [1932–1963], one of the great singers of the 20th century.  Born in Winchester, Virginia, on September 8, 1932, she got her big break in 1957 thanks to the Arthur Godfrey Talent program.  Six years later(March 29163) at the age of 30 and just months after her last recording session, she died tragically in a plane crash while returning home from a concert in Kansas City, KS.

Here are just a few of the many successes and accolades she received during her brief career as well as posthumously:

  • 1960, upon invitation, joined the cast of the Grand Ole Opry
  • Cline was the first female country music star to headline her own show and receive billing above the male stars with whom she toured.
  • 1961 & 1962, won Billboard Magazine’s award for Favorite Female Country & Western Artist
  • 1961, recorded “Crazy” by Willie Nelson, which would become her signature song
  • 1962, appeared on Dick Clark’s American Bandstand and released her third album, Sentimentally Yours
  • 1963, she got so involved with the stories in the songs’ lyrics, she reportedly cried through most of her last recording sessions. The album, originally titled Faded Love, was released posthumously in June 1963 with the title, The Patsy Cline Story, and includes the song “Sweet Dreams.”
  • 1973, was the first female solo artist to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame
  • 1997, her recording of “Crazy” was named the number one jukebox hit of all time
  • 2002, CMT (Country Music Television) named Cline first on its 40 Greatest Women of Country Music, voted by members of the music industry
  • 2005, Patsy Cline’s Greatest Hits was certified by the RIAA as Diamond, recognizing the sale of 10 million copies. The album was listed as Longest-Charting Title by a Female Artist in the 2005 edition of the Guinness Book of World Records.

I was eight when she died and have some memory of it.  It wasn’t until 1985 though (I was living in NYC by this time), when the movie Sweet Dreams starring Jessica Lange was released, that I came to appreciate Cline as a real artist. As I was researching her life, I came across a number of interesting facts and quotes, including this one:  When asked in a WSM-AM interview about her vocal stylings, she said, “Oh, I just sing like I hurt inside”.  I suppose this applies to most country singers as the main theme in country songs is often heartache or loss.  But with Cline, that hurt was especially palpable.  And the rich burnished quality and depth of her voice just added to the effect.

If you’re up to it, I am offering you three audio tracks, including Sweet Dreams.  The other two are from the popular songbook rep.  I esp like her version of what was by then the classic recording You Belong To Me by Jo Stafford.  Cline as usual does it justice and in her own style.  Hope you enjoy….

You Belong To Me

Sweet Dreams

You Made Me Love You

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Now leading our administrative team, Charles McKay’s career in the arts has demonstrated a longstanding devotion to vocal music. Prior to his time with NYFOS, he enjoyed a long career at Carnegie Hall, including programming the Great Singers concert series and developing professional training residencies, including the legendary Robert Shaw Choral Workshop.


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