Patsy Cline sings “I Fall To Pieces”

Written by Charles McKay

In category: Song of the Day

Published August 6, 2019

My journey through the 1960s continues.

Billboard’s Top Seller – “Tossin’ and Turnin” by Ritchie Adams and Malou Rene and performed by Bobby Lewis

Grammy for Song of the Year and Record of the Year (1962) – Henry Mancini & Johnny Mercer (songwriters) for “Moon River” performed by Henry Mancini, released in early 1961.

Clearly the popular taste varied from the critical taste. But then again, Billboard’s Top 100 for 1961 ranged from Bobby Lewis, Chubby Checker, The Shirelles, Ray Charles, Neil Sedaka and Presley to Patsy Cline, Roy Orbison, Floyd Kramer, Ferrante & Teicher, Lawrence Welk and Mancini.

I am tempted to offer “Moon River.” Instead, I am choosing “I Fall to Pieces” by Hank Cochran and Harlan Howard and performed by Patsy Cline. It was Cline’s first number-one hit on the Country charts, and her second hit single to cross over onto the Pop charts. Billboard ranked it as the second highest selling song for 1961. It became one of Cline’s most-recognizable hit singles, and was reintroduced to new audiences in 1985 in the feature film Sweet Dreams featuring Jessica Lang (Lange lip-synced to the original Patsy Cline recordings).

In Honky Tonk Angel: The Intimate Story of Patsy Cline, composer Harlan Howard relates the story of its recording to author Ellis Nassour:

“On the night of the session, we absolutely did NOT want to do the standard 4:4 shuffle that had by then been done to death. We were trying all kinds of other (basic rhythm) combinations, but they all just laid there and bled all over the floor. So, it had to be the shuffle then, like it or not. But the amazing thing was, once Patsy got into the groove, she just caressed those lyrics and that melody so tenderly that it was just like satin. We knew we had magic in the can when, on the fourth take, every grown man in that studio was bawling like a baby and Bradley said `That’s the one’.”

I don’t bawl when I hear it but I do consider Cline one of the greatest female singers of all time.

select author’s name to read all of their posts

Leading NYFOS’s administrative team, Charles McKay has 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.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *