A Rare and an Almost Lost TV Footage
Back on January 21, 1957, Nashville’s Patsy Cline first appeared on TV through Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts show in New York.
Prior to her debut, producer Janette Davis coached Cline on her outfit and on which song to perform on the show. Cline originally wanted to sing “A Poor Man’s Roses (Or a Rich Man’s Gold).” She intended to be dressed in her mom’s custom made cowgirl suit. Davis had Cline wear a cocktail dress instead and chose “Walkin’ After Midnight” for her song.
Cline, however, disliked “Walkin’ After Midnight.” Added to that was the fact that Davis’ choice was an old pop song. It took some convincing before Patsy Cline finally agreed.
On the show, Patsy Cline‘s graceful performance was participated in by the then known musicians Grady Martin, Hank Garland, and Owen Bradley. Bradley played the piano for Cline’s performance while Martin and Garland did the guitar accompaniment.
The 1957 footage was rediscovered after almost fifty years from the time it was first aired. Despite Cline’s objection to “Walkin’ After Midnight,” she gave a stunning delivery of the song. That evening, she won the competition.
Walkin’ After Midnight: Patsy Cline’s Big Break
Riding the buzz of favorable responses over Cline’s performance, Decca Records would then ask her to record “Walkin’ After Midnight” as her single debut. Upon its release on February 11 of the same year. Cline’s version of the song made it to the Top 2 on the Country charts and sold millions. This breakthrough made Patsy Cline a mainstay singer for the Arthur Godfrey show. She was also invited by other major networks as their guest on several shows including the Grand Ole Opry and the Western Ranch Party. Soon, on January 9, 1960, Patsy Cline officially became a member of the Grand Ole Opry.
On August 5, 1957, Decca Records included “Walkin’ After Midnight” on Cline’s debut album, “Patsy Cline.” Later, Cline would re-record the song but with some alterations to make it sound like “pop.” This said version would often be referred to as an “oldie” and categorized as “Country” on music playlists. It was not, however, the actual single that people fell in love with at first hearing.
Nonetheless, Cline’s version of “Walkin’ After Midnight” never left Country Music’s list of the Greatest Songs of all time. She’s the second to record the song in 1957 after Lynn Howard in August 1956. Other Country singers released their covers the following years, but none had come close to Cline’s success. Among them were Goldie Hill (1964), Loretta Lynn (1977), Wanda Jackson (1982) and The Oak Ridge Boys (1991).
A Poor Man’s Roses (Or a Rich Man’s Gold): Patsy Cline’s 1st Bet
Much as we’re glad of Patsy Cline’s achievements with “Walkin’ After Midnight,” we wonder what could have happened if Cline went with A Poor Man’s Roses (Or a Rich Man’s Gold). Knowing Cline’s caliber as a singer, she might have still won the contest. In fact, “A Poor Man’s Roses (Or a Rich Man’s Gold)” was the B-Side to “Walkin’ After Midnight.” It was recorded earlier by Cline in 1956 and like its flip side, it also climbed the Billboard Country chart and landed in #14. Soon, “A Poor Man’s Roses (Or a Rich Man’s Gold)” was included on Billboard Magazine Chart of Top 100 Songs peaking at #27.
On July 18, 1981, this Patsy Cline song would again resurface on the Billboard Country Chart. It reached and secured the #66 spot for a total of six weeks.
Patsy Cline: The Lady and The Legend
Her birth name was Virginia Patterson Hensley and was born on September 8, 1932. She started pursuing a singing career in 1946 but with minor successes until 1948.
In 1952, Virginia took the advice to change her name to “Patsy.” Her stage name was derived from “Patterson,” her then middle name prior to her marriage with Gerald Cline on March 7. On that same day of 1953, she became officially known as Patsy Cline.
Beginning in 1955, Cline did some recordings in Nashville under Owen Bradley’s supervision. The following years went favorably for her especially when she finally was given liberty to choose her songs. Cline’s songs were chart-toppers including “I Fall To Pieces (1961),” “Crazy (1961),” and “She’s Got You (1962).”
On March 3, 1963, Cline participated in a benefit concert in Kansas City with co-stars Cowboy Copas and Hawkshaw Hawkins. Sadly, we lost them that day when their plane crashed caused by the turbulent weather. Posthumously, Cline still scored some hits including “Sweet Dreams (of You)” and “Faded Love.”
Throughout the course of her career, Patsy Cline recorded songs for 4-Star, Coral, Decca, and MCA Records. Three times in a row (1961-1963), she was named Favorite Female Vocalist by Leading Industry Publications. She was also the first female soloist to be inducted in the Country Music Hall of Fame.
Despite her short-lived career, Patsy Cline gained a large following of admirers. Consequently, the term “Patsified” was coined and added to Webster’s which pertains to one’s dedication to Patsy Cline and her songs.