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54 Years Ago: Patsy Cline Hits No. 1 With ‘I Fall to Pieces’

Patsy Cline I Fall to Pieces single cover
Decca Records

Fifty-four years ago today, on Aug. 7, 1961, Patsy Cline soared to the top of the charts with her single “I Fall to Pieces,” from her Patsy Cline Showcase album.

“I Fall to Pieces” was Cline’s first No. 1 hit; she’d previously landed in the No. 2 spot with her single “Walkin’ After Midnight.” Written by Hank Cochran and Harlan Howard, “I Fall to Pieces,” which is considered one of Cline’s trademark songs, was actually written for another singer, who passed on the tune. Cline also originally declined to record it, before being persuaded by her producer, Owen Bradley.

“Cline was reluctant to record this ballad, which had been turned down by Brenda Lee, until Bradley coaxed her into it,” Rolling Stone explains. “Seven months pregnant when she cut it, Cline belted the ending the first time through, but the magic happened when she dropped to her lower register on her second try.”

While Cline should have been enjoying her newfound success, she was unfortunately in a serious car accident just as the “I Fall to Pieces” was climbing up the charts, leaving her hospitalized for a month. Still, the song was named the No. 1 single of the year by Billboard.

Tragically, Cline passed away less than two years after “I Fall to Pieces” was released. The song has been included on several of the Greatest Hits albums that were released after her death, including Remembering Patsy Cline and Jim Reeves, Live at the Opry and The Country Hall of Fame — Patsy Cline.

Listen to Cline perform “I Fall to Pieces” on YouTube, and download the single on iTunes.

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NEXT: Top 10 Patsy Cline Songs

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