Sunday, November 14, 2010

Patsy Cline: Country Music Singer

Q4iPatsyClineCountryMusicSingerVACity of Winchester, VA
Marker No. Q-4-i 

Marker Text: Patsy Cline (Virginia Patterson Hensley), world-famous singer, lived in this house. She was born in Winchester Memorial Hospital on 8 Sept. 1932. On 21 Jan. 1957 she won Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts national television show’s competition singing “Walkin’ After Midnight.” In 1961 “I Fall to Pieces” became a hit. Her iconic “Crazy” was released a year later. Her haunting voice took her to the top of the charts, and her style and popularity have never waned. She died in an airplane crash on 5 Mar. 1963 in Camden, Tennessee. In 1973, she was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. Cline is interred at nearby Shenandoah Memorial Park.

Q4iPatsyClineCountryMusicSingerVA3Location:  At 608 South Kent Street, Winchester, Virginia near the intersection with East Monmouth Street. Erected by the Department of Historic Resources in 2005. 
  Until I moved to northern Virginia, I was unaware that the country singer Patsy Cline was born and was buried in Winchester, VA. I had driven by the Shenandoah Memorial Park where she is buried many times. A few years ago, I attended a production of “Always...Patsy Cline” at the Liz Spurlock Amphitheater in the Chief Logan State Park in Logan County, WV which is an excellent production about her life and music and well worth seeing if you have the opportunity. This production awakened a few memQ4iPatsyClineCountryMusicSingerVA4ories of my childhood of hearing Patsy Cline singing on TV when our family only got two or three channels during good weather. I definitely remember the songs, “Crazy” and “Walkin after Midnight.”
Photo on the left is the bell tower at the Shenandoah Memorial Park, Patsy Cline’s grave is on far left behind the funeral home in the background.

  I don't plan to go into her life in any detail since there are many websites available to tell you a more complete story. One web site which is good is “A Tribune to Patsy Cline” has some good background and photos. Q4iPatsyClineCountryMusicSingerVA1 Patsy Cline like many singers got their start singing in a church choir and in her case a Baptist church choir even though her initial interest was to become a dancer.  As the marker indicates she was born as Virginia Patterson Hensley. As a child, she was called “Ginny.” The name Patsy Cline developed from two things, the name Patsy came from her middle name “Patterson” which was her mother's maiden name. The name Cline came from her first marriage to Gerald Cline in 1953. Using the name Patsy was suggested to her by Bill Peer who helped her in her early career as opposed to using Virginia or Ginny. I had to remind myself of these facts in order to find her grave marker, since her marker uses the surname “Dick” which was her married name when she married Charlie Dick in 1957. Though the name “Patsy Cline” is on the marker you can miss it, unless you know to look for the name Dick.Q4iPatsyClineCountryMusicSingerVA9

Photo on the left, grave marker is at bottom of photo and bell tower is in the distance on the left.

  The movie “Sweet Dreams” is about Patsy's later life as a singer until her death. Patsy was good friends with Loretta Lynn and Patsy is portrayed in the movie about Lynn's life, “A Coal Miners Daughter.” Patsy unfortunately died at the age of 30 in a plane crash in Tennessee in 1963 and she left behind a wonderful legacy of songs, for which, she will always be remembered.Q4iPatsyClineCountryMusicSingerVA7  As mentioned on the historical marker Patsy Cline's big break in her singing career occurred after appearing on Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts in 1957. Patsy had already been performing and recording music prior to this appearance, but Arthur Godfrey's show had the effect of helping to launch the careers of many performers to a national stage. Godfrey helped many performers, like, Patsy. Some notables include Pat Boone, Tony Bennett, Eddie Fisher, and Connie Francis.  

  Q4iPatsyClineCountryMusicSingerVA6The historical marker is located in front of the home where Patsy lived as a teenager and she worked in many of the businesses in the area, many that still exist. To the right of the house is a bulletin board with photos and information about Patsy. There is an annual gathering in Winchester of Patsy's fans on the occasion of her birthday in September. The Shenandoah Memorial Park where Patsy is buried is located on Route 522 south of Winchester on the right as you travel south. Her grave is located next to the road behind the Funeral Home's parking lot. There is a bell tower in the cemetery south of her grave which was installed in her memory. (Memorial plaque photo for Bell Tower above)   

1 comment:

  1. I grew up listening to country music and Patsy Cline was aways at the top of my list as country singers, I still buy and listen to her music, Her music will always be at the top of my list, she was an inpiration to all that loved her and her music. Every time we play her music i get a lump in my throat and I tear up. Love Patsy then and still love her now