It’s one of those cruel statistics that the year Patsy Cline died so tragically, 1963, was one in which she had some of the greatest success of her all-too-short career. On 10 October, she peaked at No. 7 on the country chart with what would be her final top ten solo single, ‘Faded Love.’ (Main photo: the ‘Faded Love’ EP released in Australia and New Zealand in 1964).
The country queen was taken in a plane crash in March of that year, when ‘Leavin’ On Your Mind’ was on its way to No. 8 on the country survey. The wave of grief and affection for Patsy then helped her first posthumous single, Don Gibson’s classic ‘Sweet Dreams (Of You),’ to No. 5 country.
Then in September, Decca released ‘Faded Love’ as the next Cline 45. The song was written by a country giant of the previous generation, Bob Wills, with his father John and his brother Billy Jack. Bob’s version, with his group the Texas Playboys, reached No. 8 on the country chart in 1950, on MGM.
Poignantly, Patsy’s version was recorded at the last studio session, in February 1963, before her death, and had been planned for her next album. The recording remained unissued on an LP until a Greatest Hits set in 1967, but meanwhile, it climbed the country survey and peaked at No. 7.
Cline was not the first to revive ‘Faded Love’: a version by Houston-born Leon McAuliffe had reached No. 22 earlier in the year. He would later cut it again, with Tompall Glaser and the Glaser Brothers, in a 1971 version that peaked in the exact same spot. By then, Elvis Presley had weighed in with his take on the song, on his Elvis Country album of 1970.
In the early ‘60s, it was extremely hard for even the biggest country stars to cross over to the US pop chart. Patsy only reached the top ten of the pop list once, with ‘Crazy,’ and ‘Faded Love’ peaked at No. 96. We can only guess how many crossover hits she would have had in these different chart times.
‘Faded Love’ is on The Very Best of Patsy Cline, which can be bought here.