Patsy Cline

(September 8, 1932–March 5, 1963)

Patsy Cline was born Virginia Patterson Hensley in Winchester. At age sixteen, she quit school to help support her family and began singing professionally. She was hired by a bandleader who gave her the stage name of Patsy. In 1953, she married Gerald E. Cline. She toured regionally and signed a record contract in 1954. The next year, Patsy Cline recorded her first songs in Nashville, Tennessee. After an appearance on Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts, her recording of "Walkin' After Midnight" reached the second spot on Billboard's country music chart.

After her divorce in 1957, Cline married again and had two children. She moved to Nashville and in 1960 joined the Grand Ole Opry. In 1961, her song "I Fall to Pieces" became her first number-one country hit. She recorded "Crazy" that year, which was also a hit and at the end of the twentieth century remained the song most often played on jukeboxes. She toured with Johnny Cash, and performed at such venues as Carnegie Hall and the Hollywood Bowl. She had recorded more than one hundred songs by the time of her death in a plane crash on March 5, 1963. She was buried in Shenandoah Memorial Park, near Winchester.

Cline was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame (1973) and into the Virginia Folk Music Association's Virginia Country Music Hall of Fame (1981). She was recognized with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 1995 by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. She is commemorated with a U.S. postage stamp, numerous biographies, a tribute album, and a feature film. Her music has inspired numerous singers, from Loretta Lynn to k. d. lang.