The Heart of a Legend
First Appeared at The Music Box, February 2004, Volume 11, #2
Written by John Metzger
How many artists in the music business has the world lost due to fatal encounters with air travel? Of course the most famous plane crash was the one that took the lives of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and the Big Bopper, but Bill Graham, John Denver, Aaliyah, as well as Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Ronnie Van Zant and Steve Gaines were all plucked prematurely from the world. Perhaps the most frequently forgotten departure, however, was the tragedy that killed Cowboy Copas, Hawkshaw Hawkins, and Patsy Cline.
At the time of her death in March 1963 at the age of 30, Cline’s career barely had begun to blossom. In the mid-to-late ’50s, she had struggled to find her voice, trying her hand at rockabilly, spirituals, and honky tonk before settling upon the slow ballads that became her forté. Despite her popularity, it’s only in retrospect that she truly has been appreciated. In the intervening years, her legend has grown considerably, and her mainstream appeal has, for better or for worse, been helped along by the usage of her songs in advertising.
Not surprisingly, many compilations of Cline’s music have been issued as record labels continuously package and repackage her material. While the recently released The Heart of a Legend offers little in the way of new insight, it is as good an overview as any of them. Culling 22 songs from her career — including her most famous recordings Walkin’ after Midnight, Crazy, I Fall to Pieces, and Faded Love — this collection offers proof to those who still need it that Patsy Cline was rivaled only by Billie Holiday as the greatest torch singer of all time.
The Heart of a Legend is available
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2004 The Music Box