Belles and Gals 500th Artist… Patsy Cline

Belles and Gals began in January 2016 and in that time we’ve featured artists at all levels of country music. Our aim has always been to treat the established superstars of the genre in exactly the same way as the artist who has literally just recorded their first song, released their first video or is launching their debut EP. As such, we knew we’d featured an extensive number of artists.

However, it came to our attention very recently (thanks to one of our wonderful social media followers) that we were rapidly closing in on a major landmark! So today, we’re delighted to feature our 500th different artist!!

Within the previous 499 artists, it might have seemed like we had featured every legend of the industry. Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton and Emmylou Harris have all graced our pages, while the current stars of the industry have obviously featured extensively. However, there is one name who has never featured and today marks the perfect opportunity to spotlight an incredible, if sadly short lived, career.

Our 500th artist is the wonderful Patsy Cline.

Patsy Cline was born on September 8th 1932 in Winchester, New Virginia and would become a pioneer of the Nashville Sound in the 1950’s and in the early part of the 1960’s.

Her legendary voice might have been due to a throat infection and rheumatic fever she suffered at the age of 13. “”The fever affected my throat and when I recovered I had this booming voice like Kate Smith” (Kate Smith was an American singer who was known as the ‘First Lady of Radio’). Patsy would watch performers through the window at her local radio station, and asked disc jockey Jimmy McCoy of WINC (AM) if she could perform. In 1947, Patsy did just this. It was well received and continued radio appearances throughout Winchester and the Tri-State area saw her garner a huge following, which led to shows with established country star Jimmy Dean.

Patsy was born Virginia Patterson Hensley, but her second manager suggested she used ‘Patsy’ based on her middle name. The following year she married Gerald Cline, and the now famous name was complete. A recording contract in 1954 saw the release of her first few singles, but they never took off.

In 1957, Patsy Cline would land a spot on Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts, where she wowed the audience with ‘Walkin’ After Midnight’, a song which would hit the country and the pop charts. Around this time, Cline would divorce her husband, and marry Charles Dick, the couple going on to have 2 children and make the move to Nashville, Tennessee.

After a small break from the industry, Patsy Cline came back in the early 1960’s where her career really flourished. Now with Decca Records, ‘I Fall To Pieces’ hit the top of the country chart in 1961, while also making a mark on the pop charts too. Soon after, Patsy would release ‘Crazy’, penned by Willie Nelson and start performing with the likes of Johnny Cash, June Carter and George Jones. She was also supportive of other female artists such as Loretta Lynn.

Tragically, the career of Patsy Cline was all too short. On March 5th, 1963, she died in a plane crash in Camden, Tennessee. Two days before, Patsy had performed three shows at a benefit event in Kansas City, to a thundering ovation – her final song being ‘I’ll Sail This Ship Alone’. Unable to fly home the next day due to fog, they made the journey home in heavy weather on the evening of the 5th March. Sadly the plane crashed 90 miles away from its Nashville destination and all of the inhabitants of the plane perished.

Thousands attended the memorial service, and she was buried at Shenandoah Memorial Park in her hometown of Winchester, Virginia.

Soon after her death, the song ‘Sweet Dreams’ was released and became a hit.

Today, it is a real honour to feature an artist who truly paved the way for female artists in country music.

Patsy Cline, our 500th artist.

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