Patsy Cline (1932–1963)

Updated: February 28, 2011

Country singer.

Patsy Cline’s renditions of country songs played a major role in breaking down the boundaries between country music and pop. Born Virginia Patterson Hensley in Winchester, Virginia, on September 8, 1932, Cline lived in the Appalachian region for much of her life. Cline’s identification with her regional roots was evident in her sometimes vigorous altercations with her production team and others over her desire to make country recordings in a more traditional style despite the widespread feeling that her voice was better suited for crossover pop success.

Cline’s talent, evident at an early age, was matched by her single-minded pursuit of a career in country music. In 1957 she won the competition on Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts television show with her performance of “Walkin’ After Midnight.” Godfrey signed Cline for future appearances on his show, and the song climbed both the country and pop charts when released as a single, making her the first female country singer to have a crossover hit. In 1960 she became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. These television and radio venues introduced Cline to a national audience. Later hits in her eight-year career include “I Fall to Pieces,” “Crazy,” and “She’s Got You.”

Cline died on March 5, 1963, in an airplane crash while returning from a benefit with fellow country singers Hawkshaw Hawkins and Cowboy Copas. In 1973 Cline was the first female solo artist elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame. Her sensuous voice and gutsy persona have inspired many subsequent female country singers.

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MLA Style

"Patsy Cline," Encyclopedia of Appalachia, 2018, Encyclopedia of Appalachia. 23 Sep 2018 <>

APA Style

"Patsy Cline." (2018) In Encyclopedia of Appalachia, Retrieved September 23, 2018, from Encyclopedia of Appalachia:

Patsy Cline