Study Guide

Crazy Introduction

Crazy Introduction

In a Nutshell

Patsy Cline was not your average country star.

By all accounts, she had a huge personality, a heart of gold, and an extremely hard life. She sang with a singular intensity, and gave her all on stage and in person. She cried during performances, swore at producers, and fought hard for her career.

Before all that, Patsy Cline—born Virginia Patterson Hensley—survived childhood abuse, poverty, and a series of broken relationships with men. When she finally climbed to fame after years of singing in obscurity on a bad recording contract, it was on the force of songs like "Crazy," a simple, tragic country tune that drips with Patsy's sadness, sass, and strength.

Then, less than two years after she finally attained superstardom, Patsy Cline was dead.

Before that fateful plane crash, she'd told a fellow musician, "Honey, I've had two bad ones. The third one will either be a charm or it'll kill me." (Source)

She was talkin' about accidents, and it sure wasn't the charm. And that was only the tip of the iceberg in this series of unfortunate events.

About the Song

ArtistCline, Patsy
Year1961
LabelDecca
Writer(s)Willie Nelson
Producer(s)Owen Bradley
Musician(s)Patsy Cline (vocals), The Jordanaires (vocals)
Learn to playTablature
Album"Crazy" (Single)

Music Video

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Influences on Cline, Patsy

Judy Garland
Hank Williams
Helen Morgan
Kay Starr
Kate Smith
Charline Arthur
Patsy Montana

Influenced by Cline, Patsy

Loretta Lynn
k.d. lang
Linda Ronstadt
Trisha Yearwood
Wynonna Judd
Dottie West
Barbara Mandrell
Jan Howard
Brenda Lee

Crazy Resources

Books

Margaret Jones, Patsy: The Life and Times of Patsy Cline (1999)
A good book for the serious fan, although it may be harder to get through for the casual listener. It includes interviews with June Carter, Tompall Glaser, Wanda Jackson, Faron Youngin, and a foreword by Loretta Lynn.

Ellis Nassour, Honky Tonk Angel: The Intimate Story of Patsy Cline (2008)
This is a revised, abridged version of Nassour's 1981 biography, and still stands as the most authoritative Cline bio available. It's also highly personal and emotional in its approach: this is a person who clearly loved Patsy Cline.

Albums

Patsy Cline: 12 Greatest Hits (1967)
This is a reissue of a great early compilation of Cline's most popular songs. According to reviewer Rick Mitchell, it was the highest-selling album by any female country musician until the reign of Shania Twain in the 1990s.

The Patsy Cline Collection (1991)
This box set produced by MCA brings together 104 recordings from Patsy Cline's recording era, which lasted less than ten years. It's essential for fans and apparently includes rare photos in the liner notes.

Images

Classic Patsy Portrait
Patsy Cline was not considered conventionally beautiful, but her glamorous and surprising personality shone through even in photos.

Hilda Hensley
Patsy Cline's mother was her best friend, and outlived her by many years. Interview opportunities with Hilda were rare, and so are photographs of her.

Movies & TV

Patsy Cline: American Masters (2017)
Featuring women inspired by Cline, PBS created a great documentary detailing the singer's legacy for Women's History Month and what would have been her 85th birthday. If you happen to catch it, watch it.

The Real Patsy Cline (2004)
This short documentary features rare live performances.

Sweet Dreams (1985)
This slightly fictionalized biopic starring Jessica Lange came in the aftermath of the exceedingly successful film about Loretta Lynn, Coal Miner's Daughter—which also includes a great Patsy Cline portrayal.

Websites

Patsy Cline's Official Site
While it's not the most impressive celebrity page out there, this site keeps fans up to date on Patsy's long list of posthumous honors and recognitions.

Patsy Cline's Biography
Here's a good rundown of Patsy Cline's career and music. For more in-depth biographies, head over to the Books section.

Video & Audio

"Crazy"
And here's the Willie Nelson tune that Patsy Cline turned into a legendary hit.

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