‘Crazy’: Patsy Cline’s Immortal Reading Of A Little-Known Willie Nelson Song

The song became one of the country queen’s signatures and helped make the name of its songwriter, Willie Nelson.

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Patsy Cline - Photo: Courtesy of UMe
Patsy Cline - Photo: Courtesy of UMe

When Patsy Cline heard the demo of a new song by a little-known songwriter called Willie 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.

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The writer 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.”

Listen to the best of Patsy Cline on Apple Music and Spotify.

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, reaching diamond certification in 2006 – 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.”

Buy or stream “Crazy” on The Very Best of Patsy Cline.



  1. Connie Ames

    August 22, 2014 at 6:49 am

    I love this lady , wish I could have met her, will always love her. I’ve always felt some kind of a connection with her. I was a child when she first started out & my daddy loved her. I can’t get enough of Pasty Cline, I love hearing her over & over.

  2. Louise Carther

    August 22, 2014 at 2:03 pm

    I bought my first Patsy Cline recording in the early 1980’s and have been
    listening to her ever since!
    I never tire of that beautiful voice and the emotion she put into every song.

  3. Tony Abuisi

    August 23, 2014 at 11:28 pm

    Patsy Cline will live on for a long long time, no one can sing country love like Patsy Cline, she opend the doors for all the young female artists of her day and today. A very special lady.

  4. dana van deusen

    August 24, 2014 at 12:55 am

    patsy was one of best

  5. Björn Larsson

    August 24, 2014 at 9:33 am

    There will never ever be a country star like Patsy Cline again. She was outstanding as a singer and as a person!


    August 24, 2014 at 3:57 pm

    I was always under the impression that Patsy was being told to record this song in an up tempo way. The recording session wasn’t going to well and her alcoholic husband came into the recording studio and was abusive. She was so unhappy knowing that her marriage was on it’s last legs, that she sang the version we know and love from her very soul and that her manager said that’s it that’s the way it will be done. and the legend began.. Is that a myth?

    • piz

      December 11, 2014 at 7:27 pm

      Yeah, I think the whole idea of her husband being abusive came from the move they made. It was my understanding that her husband was never like that…

    • DontBelieveEverythingYouHear

      February 27, 2016 at 1:54 pm

      Wanna buy some magic beans too ?

    • APCFO

      February 27, 2016 at 6:00 pm

      Sorry but that is totally untrue. Take it from me. They were my parents. – Julie Fudge, Always Patsy Cline Fan Org.

  7. Barbara

    November 2, 2014 at 4:53 pm

    The late great Patsy Cline!

  8. vincent radtke

    December 11, 2014 at 1:45 pm

    Patsy Cline has always been “MY LADY”. She has and will always be my favorite artist. I am 84. My favorite song is “It didn’t say.”.

  9. Amanda Easton

    December 12, 2014 at 5:51 am

    Patsy Cline is awesome 🙂

  10. AndyLee

    December 12, 2014 at 6:34 pm

    I,m 74 years old Patsy and Loretta Lynn sang at Pappy,s Show Land. Loretta interduced Patsy as it being her first singing, Ray Price and Hank Locklin were there too. my cuz Donnie Stroud a drummer for Ray Price brought the two Lady,s to my table and did not know who they were.

  11. Genie

    December 14, 2014 at 11:37 am

    Only Patsy Cline can sing CRAZY.

  12. David MacBeth

    February 20, 2015 at 10:04 am

    Willie Nelson composed ‘Crazy’.Patsy didn’t like being pushed in a ‘pop’ direction.

  13. David MacBeth

    February 20, 2015 at 10:13 am

    Heard a great comment about Patsy a short time ago,and that was:-‘Patsy could even cry in tune’,brilliant!

  14. Holly D

    February 20, 2015 at 2:03 pm

    I have grown up with my mom listening to Patsy Cline! I too listen and my kids also sing her songs as I did when I was a kid. Her music touches the souls of many! I feel as if I was jipped out of a part of life not being able to go to one of her shows! Or see her sing live and in person! Her legend will always live on because her music was just that good!

  15. Richard Biller

    February 21, 2015 at 5:06 am

    i remember Patsy at the Brunswick Fire Hall with Jimmy Dean, Roy Clark, among others. She also sang at the Brunswick Moose Club — and for a teen dance on Halloween in1957. Loved to hear her sing. Sadly there will never be another Patsy.

    • Deb F

      December 18, 2015 at 3:18 am

      Lucky you!

  16. Danny Peters

    February 25, 2015 at 8:14 pm

    Past y Cline was the best in her time and LeAnne Rimes could have been the new Country female Queen of Country music.

    • Becky

      March 3, 2015 at 4:35 am

      LeAnne Rimes has never been and will never be the female Queen of Country music. She does not have the talent or class to match or even get close to Patsy Cline. Reba is the Queen of Country Music now. Reba said one time real country music is about heartache and pain It is rare people that can truly sing real country music.

      • George Marchetti

        August 22, 2016 at 3:52 pm

        Too bad LeAnne Rimes did not continue to sing songs like “Blue”. One of my favorites.

  17. janet

    March 2, 2015 at 10:56 pm

    The resonance of Patsy’s voice touches a chord in my soul.

  18. Barbara Sullivan

    July 21, 2015 at 12:19 am

    The Lady had a voice & it was one of kind Certain singers’ have voices like that She was special..Thanks’

  19. Lisa Dennis

    July 21, 2015 at 1:09 am

    from hearing the song crazy, for the first time ever I remember thinking wow this woman’s voice is truly amazing, a legend and since hearing her I have listened to all of her songs and love everyone of them, patsy cline was and will always be the queen of country music, truly amazing vocals,and all her songs only patsy could sing them the way she did.

  20. dann

    July 21, 2015 at 3:33 am

    They will never be Ladies Like Patsy and good friends Loretta and Tammy

  21. margaret Osborne ma

    July 21, 2015 at 7:45 am

    I love patsy cline music always have my profile picture of me and patsy cline shows a resemblances l look like patsy l am glad l nearly look like my idle patsy just wish l could sing like her LCD

  22. Geraldine Reuber

    August 22, 2015 at 1:55 am

    Pasty Cline was my birth mother 1954-1963 I went with her to rerecord cazy I sorry to say that Willie Nelson vision I didn,t like I like my Mom’s better.

  23. Deb F

    December 18, 2015 at 3:20 am

    I just wish there had been more recordings of her singing.

  24. Neville Pellitt

    February 28, 2016 at 4:51 am

    I had the honour of introducing Patsy Cline to Australian audiences. 4 Star records and I were in business discussions at that time and Patsy had just recorded “Walking After Midnight” which 4 Star did not release immediately- so I played in first on my program “Harmony Trail” which was broadcast at that time only in Australia and New Zealand. The US release of that song came after she sang it on the “Arthur Godfrey Show”.I followed her career over the few short years, while I was the Australian rep for singer Jim Reeves, who died the same way as Patsy, just a year later.

    • Glenn

      November 16, 2017 at 7:06 am

      Just wondering if their is anywhere I can find more info on Harmony Trail. My mother and her sister were on this show as the Trickey Sisters and recorded a tape. Would love to know if any photos or music still existed.

  25. ann

    February 28, 2016 at 3:44 pm

    Lovely voice.

  26. William Green

    June 13, 2016 at 4:51 pm

    I get goosebumps every time I hear her sing. Nobody else has come close yet.

  27. Barry Brennand

    June 14, 2016 at 8:27 pm

    One great song written by a great songwriter sung by both two great People patsy sadly missed please carry on Willie you re music is great

  28. Linda

    July 14, 2016 at 10:30 pm

    I sang Patsy cline songs all my life, but my highlight was when I danced with my son at his wedding and he asked me to sing “Crazy” while we danced. What an emotional moment.

  29. Steve sharp

    August 21, 2016 at 1:21 pm

    There will never be another Patsy she sings with feeling you can hear it in every song she sing.I could listen to her all day longi.Love Patsy wish she was still alive .

  30. Cheryle McLatchy

    August 22, 2016 at 12:55 am

    Loved her singing from the very first. Nobody can sing like her and vocalize with meaning like she does. Wish we had more of her songs to hear. Feel sorry for her family, having to live without her. Thanks Willy for the great song.

  31. Anthony seiler

    August 22, 2017 at 1:38 am

    Patsy was so great that if she sang a song then it was hers,nobody could do it better.I am 73 years old,I have listened to her music since i was very young. None better.

  32. Lois Smith

    August 22, 2017 at 6:40 am

    Patsy Cline was a great singer and I love her music, there will never be another Patsy Cline. She will always be the queen of country music and may she RIP always.

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