Patsy Cline’s importance as a country performer is disproportionate to the success she achieved during her lifetime. Before her untimely death in a 1963 plane crash, she charted only nine singles; just two of them topped the country charts, while two more climbed to No. 2 -- and all but one of those major hits charted in an 11-month period in 1961-62.
Nonetheless, the Virginia-born singer is considered one of the groundbreaking talents of her genre. As Bill C. Malone put it simply in his definitive history Country Music, U.S.A., “With the emergence of Patsy Cline, the modern era of women country singers really began.” Until she arrived, country singing was still largely considered men’s work.