Patsy Cline

Cline, Patsy, 1932–63, American country singer, b. Winchester, Va., as Virginia Patterson Hensley. She began singing locally while still in her teens and signed her first recording contract in 1953, but did not become well known until after the release of her first hit, "Walkin' after Midnight" (1957). Cline became a regular performer on radio's Grand Ole Opry in 1960. While remaining a country artist, she was the first female vocalist to successfully cross over to the pop charts. Among her other hits are "I Fall to Pieces" (1961), "Crazy" (1961), and "She's Got You" (1962). Cline was killed in a plane crash at the age of 30. Her strong, golden-toned voice and expressive, sometimes sobbing style influenced a wide range of singers including Dottie West, Loretta Lynn, Tammy Wynette, Dolly Parton, and K. D. Lang. Cline was posthumously named (1992) to the Country Music Hall of Fame and given (1995) a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

See C. Hazen and M. Freeman, ed., Love Always: Patsy Cline's Letters to a Friend (1999); biographies by E. Nassour (rev. ed. 1993), M. Jones (1994, repr. 1999), M. Bego (1995), S. E. Brown and L. F. Myers (1996), and D. Hall (1998); Sweet Dreams (documentary film, 1985).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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