Join me Sunday at 11 a.m. for the Sunday Morning Country Classic Spotlight featuring Patsy Cline. 

It was country music's darkest day 51 years ago this past March 5, 2014.  A plane crash took the life of Patsy along with Hawkshaw Hawkins and Cowboy Copas near Camden, Tennessee.  She has achieved icon status since her tragic death at age thirty.

Patsy invariably set a standard for female vocalists.  She has inspired scores of singers including K.D. Lang, Loretta Lynn, Linda Ronstadt, Trisha Yearwood and Wynonna Judd.  Her career was brief but it produced the number one jukebox hit of all time, a song written by Willie Nelson called Crazy.

She was born Virgina Patterson Hensley in Winchester, Virginia during the depression.  She inherited her musical talent from her father, an amateur singer whom she later confessed abused her as a child.  Patsy dropped out of school at age fifteen to support her family after her father deserted them.  By age twenty, she connected with local country bandleader, Bill Peer.  That association nurtured her desire to become a country music star.

She adopted the name Patsy after her middle name, Patterson.  She made her national TV debut on Arthur Godfrey's 'Talent Scouts Show' on January 21, 1957, singing Walking After Midnight which hit #2 on the country chart and #12 on the Pop Chart.

Other hit recordings followed including I Fall to Pieces, Crazy and She's Got You.  Loretta Lynn covered that song in 1977 which scored her a #1 hit.  She also scored Top Ten Hits with Sweet Dreams and Faded Love.

Patsy is buried at Shenandoah Memorial Park in Winchester, Virginia.  Her grave is marked with a bronze plaque which reads, Virginia H. (Patsy) Cline, Death Cannot Kill What Never Dies: Love.  A bell tower was erected at the cemetery in her memory which plays hymns daily at 6 p.m., the hour of her death.