‘Crazy’: Patsy Cline Creates An All-Time Country Classic
Patsy recorded Willie Nelson’s song just two months after a car crash that nearly killed her.
Patsy Cline had probably never heard of a little-known songwriter called Willie Hugh Nelson in 1961, but she would soon be thanking him for one of the songs of her life. On October 23, 1961, “Crazy” made its debut on the Billboard Hot 100.
Cline and producer Owen Bradley had been looking for the track that would be her follow-up to her first country chart-topper “I Fall To Pieces.” Bradley rearranged “Crazy” as a ballad in her style, Cline recorded her interpretation just two months after a car crash that nearly killed her, and one of the most famous of all country songs was born.
It was Cline’s recording of “Crazy” that made the name of Willie Nelson, and with his reputation established, his own version would appear the following year on the album …And Then I Wrote. That also featured with other gems such as “Hello Walls” and “Funny How Time Slips Away.”
A country to pop crossover
“Crazy” debuted on the US pop chart at a confident No.65, second only among the week’s new entries to Gary US Bonds’ new release, “School Is In.” Cline’s single took just three weeks to make the Top 20 and five to hit the Top 10, peaking at No.9. The song also raced to No.2 on the country chart, but had to wait almost 30 years more to become a chart record in the UK, when a reissue took it to No.14 early in 1991.
Listen to the All Time Country Greatest Hits playlist.
Early in 2021, “Crazy” was honored with it first-ever official video, directed by Natalie O’Moore and filmed at Dee’s Country Cocktail Lounge outside Nashville. The clip was a collaboration between the Patsy Cline Estate, UMe, and UMG Nashville.
“Crazy” went on to be covered endlessly, by artists ranging from Kenny Rogers to Shirley Bassey, and also became a trademark song for the young LeAnn Rimes. One of the newest versions of it is by Neil Young, on his 2014 album A Letter Home. French vocal stylist (and former First Lady) Carla Bruni covers it, with Nelson, on her 2017 album French Touch. But the artist that will always own “Crazy” is Patsy Cline.
Buy or stream “Crazy” on The Very Best of Patsy Cline.
October 23, 2014 at 11:16 pm
What a Lady she makes all Women feel her pain in a tainted relationship I love her music and it still sounds great today as it did years ago. Her memory will live on for many years to come… Love you Patsy!
October 24, 2014 at 6:50 pm
October 26, 2014 at 3:48 pm
she makes everyone feel the pain…..an incredible voice and such a legacy.
October 26, 2014 at 4:59 pm
One of the best things I heard some-one say about Patsys’ singing voice was that ‘She could even ‘cry’ in tune’.
October 24, 2015 at 4:18 am
what about church music for like funerals? by Patsy..
October 31, 2015 at 9:16 pm
What a fabulous singer. Wish she could of stayed around.
Roberto G. Medina
October 23, 2016 at 10:29 pm
When I was young, I shared many days of loneliness with Patsy Cline through her songs. Her rendition of “I Love You So Much It Hurts” is a priceless gift of Patsy to me.
October 24, 2016 at 6:58 pm
Wanna hear “Patsy Cline”???? Then never pass up a chance to see Jessica Welch in “Always, Patsy Cline” I saw it 22 times when she played in the Wells Theater in Norfolk….