THE QUINTESSENTIAL TORCH SINGER
ACTIVE FROM 1948 - 1963
Considered one of the most influential vocalists of the 20th century , Cline was one of the first country music artists to successfully cross over into pop music. Her first professional performances began at the local WINC radio station when she was fifteen. In the early 1950s, Cline began appearing in a local band led by performer Bill Peer. Various local appearances led to featured performances on Connie B. Gay's Town and Country television broadcasts. After marrying in 1957 and giving birth in 1958, she moved to Nashville, Tennessee to further her career. Working with new manager Randy Hughes, Cline would become a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Under the direction of producer Owen Bradley, her musical sound shifted and she achieved consistent success. The 1961 single "I Fall to Pieces" would become her first to top the Billboard country chart. As the song became a hit, Cline was severely injured in an automobile accident, which caused her to spend a month in the hospital. After recovering, her next single release "Crazy" would also become a major hit. In March 1963, Cline appeared at a benefit show in Kansas City, Missouri. To return home, she boarded a plane along with country performers Cowboy Copas, Hawkshaw Hawkins and manager Randy Hughes. Upon hitting rough weather, the plane crashed outside of Camden, Tennessee, killing all those on board.