It’s a statistical travesty that Patsy Cline never had so much as a top 30 single in the UK during her all-too-short lifetime. Indeed, the country queen only had two 45s that made the British chart at all before she passed away in 1963, and ‘Crazy’ only became a top 20 single there in 1990.
But when she did make the bestsellers with the second of those singles, via her UK label Brunswick (owned at the time by the UK arm of her American company, Decca), it was ironically with a song that didn’t make the US country chart at all. The song was ‘Heartaches,’ written by Al Hoffman and John Klenner and published more than 30 years earlier in 1931.
Bandleader Guy Lombardo had success with his version of the tune that year, and it was revived in various versions in 1947. Harry James, Jimmy Dorsey and Eddy Howard all made Billboard’s bestseller lists with theirs, but Chicago dance band leader Ted Weems outdid them all, spending an epic 13 weeks at No. 1 in a 78rpm release on Victor, with whistling by Elmo Tanner. Sales were estimated at some two million copies.
‘Heartaches’ was a composition with a lovelorn lyric, but on Cline’s rendition, that was in contrast to a jaunty arrangement. Her lack of success with the single on country radio was indicative of a more poppy feel, which did take it to No. 73 on the Hot 100.
That sound was perhaps more in keeping with the transatlantic audience, and thus the song entered the 50-position UK chart on 29 November 1962 at No. 48. With Frank Ifield’s ‘Lovesick Blues’ sitting at No. 1, The Beatles were climbing the bestsellers for the very first time with ‘Love Me Do.’ Cline’s fellow chart debutants included Bobby Darin with ‘Baby Face,’ Brenda Lee with ‘Rocking Around The Christmas Tree’ and Elvis Presley with ‘Return To Sender.’
‘Heartaches’ made a good second-week climb to No. 34, but its next move to No. 31 proved to be its highest ranking in a five-week run.
‘Heartaches’ is on The Very Best Of Patsy Cline, which can be bought here.
Follow the official Patsy Cline Best Of playlist.