On Sept. 8, 1932, Virginia Patterson Hensley was born in Gore, Virginia. Not too long after, the world would know her as country star Patsy Cline.
As a teenager, she supported her family by working multiple odd jobs, including singing for a local radio station. Her voice captured the attention of many listeners and eventually earned her a record deal in 1954.
Under her strict recording contract with Four Star Records, Cline found herself to be limited artistically. Still, during this time she earned her first ever hit with “Walkin’ After Midnight”. The track reached No. 2 on the country chart and No. 16 on the pop charts, making her one of the first artists to achieve a crossover hit.
In 1960, after a brief lull in her career, Cline signed with Decca Records in Nashville. With the help of legendary producer Owen Bradley, she recorded her first No. 1 hit, “I Fall to Pieces.” In that same year, Cline realized a lifelong dream when she became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. After releasing the now-classic “Crazy”, she began to sell out shows all across the country.
On March 3, 1963, Cline performed alongside George Jones, Dottie West and many others at the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall, in Kansas City, Kan. She boarded a plane from Kansas City to Dyersburg, Tenn. in order to get back home to Nashville. The weather was poor in the area, which led Dottie West and her husband to drive back home. Cline refused a ride with the two, saying “Don’t worry about me, Hoss. When it’s my time to go, it’s my time.”
The plane crashed 90 miles outside of Nashville, killing Cline, the pilot and Opry members Cowboy Copas and Hawkshaw Hawkins. Cline was only 30 years old when she died.
52 years later, Cline is seen as one of the most influential country artists in history. Click below to remember Patsy Cline and watch her performance of “Crazy” from an 1962 episode of Pet Milk TV.