When Patsy Cline heard the demo of a new song by a little-known songwriter called Hugh Nelson, she didn’t care for it much. But as she and producer Owen Bradley looked for the track that would be her follow-up to her first country chart-topper “I Fall To Pieces,” Bradley rearranged it as a ballad in her style. So it was that on August 21, 1961, Patsy Cline created the “Crazy” legend.
Hugh Nelson would of course become known far and wide as Willie Nelson, and it was Cline’s recording of “Crazy” that made that name. With his reputation established, his own version would appear the following year on the album …And Then I Wrote, along with other gems such as “Hello Walls” and “Funny How Time Slips Away.”
A classic in country and pop
Cline recorded her interpretation just two months after the car crash that nearly killed her. It raced to No.2 on the country chart and No.9 on the Hot 100 — even if it had to wait almost 30 years more to become a chart record in the UK. Early in 1991, a reissue took it to No.14, curiously enough at the same time that a young pop artist called Seal was high in the bestsellers with a different song called “Crazy.”
Surprisingly, Cline only made the US pop album chart once during her lifetime, with Patsy Cline Showcase, and not at all on the country survey, before her sad death in a plane crash at the age of just 30 in March 1963. All of her other chart albums in the US were posthumous, the biggest sales going to the 1967 compilation Patsy Cline’s Greatest Hits. That sold ten million copies, partly from its original run but mainly from a 1996 reissue that gave it an aggregate of over four years on the country chart. Of course, it included the classic “Crazy.”
“Crazy” is on The Very Best of Patsy Cline, which can be bought here.
Follow the official Patsy Cline Best Of playlist.