“Cold-hearted orb that rules the night, Removes the colors from our sight. Red is grey and yellow white, but we decide which is right. And which is an illusion”- The Moody Blues.
On a crazy Monday afternoon in North America, a cold-hearted moon will remove the colors from the sky through a total eclipse of the golden sun in the sky. The last time the mother of all eclipses was seen in the US was 38 years ago; The eclipse is expected to last for approximately 2:41 and some scientists speculate the event may produce power outages and crazy behavior in pets and farm animals.
Strangely, on Monday, August 21st, 1961, precisely fifty-six years ago, a woman with a warm and heavenly voice named Patsy Cline crossed paths with a mooning young writer named Hugh Nelson, better known these days as Willie Nelson. This magical connection created the golden musical eclipse called, “Crazy.”
Nelson, an ex DJ, and bar musician also worked as a staff writer making about 50 dollars a week, at Pamper Music. Nelson, was then a young and nervous songwriter, who had written many songs for the country circuit and had that twinkle, or ‘something’ about him that caught the eye and ear of Grand Ole Opry star, Billy Walker.
Strange thing is, the song about heartache almost never happened. At that time, Patsy Cline’s husband had to convince the icon to record the hit song, “Crazy,” The story goes that Cline’s husband heard Nelson’s songs on the local jukebox and begged his wife to record one of his songs.
Cline, however, was less impressed and thought Nelson’s off-timed vocals didn’t match up with the music, and it bothered her. Legendary country producer, Owen Bradley however, knew better. Bradley could see the magic in the sky the song “Crazy” would create. Nelson, however, was so nervous and in awe of Cline, that he waited out in the car while Charlie Dick, Cline’s husband pitched his idea of the pairing. It was Bradley who iced the deal with Cline guiding her and providing the arrangement and structure of the song.
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“Crazy,” the musical eclipse that lasts about a second or two less than this Monday’s total eclipse at 2:40 seconds, and took only one session to record. Cline, who was coming off of her hit “I Fall To Pieces,” was also recovering from a horrific automobile accident where she broke her ribs two months earlier. Unable to reach the right notes the singer gave up only to return and nail the performance in one four hour session.
The set up of the song differs from countrymusic recorded at the time as it used church vocals in the background, used session musicians, coordinated pop, and oriented jazz tinged productions with smooth textured backup vocals. Cline and Nelson went on to get credit for starting a new kind of countrymusic called; “Countrypolitan.”
1990 saw Patsy Cline’s song “Crazy” get another chance to shine when it was rereleased in the UK in 1990 where it rose to number 14 on the charts. Cline who once told countrysingerDottie West that she felt she would die young, died tragically in a plane crash at the age of 31.
Nelson has said Patsy Cline’s version of his song was the best song he had ever heard and written. Here are some other crazy events that also happened in 1961. The birth of Barack Obama, the WWF (World Wildlife Foundation) opened their organization in the UK, John F. Kennedy was elected US president, Harold MacMillan was the UK Prime Minister, and the US and the USSR were engaged in mental warfare.
Take in the eclipse on the web this Monday if the path doesn’t flow across your nation and download or listen to Patsy Cline’s “Crazy,” at the same time, and be prepared to be mesmerized once again. It’s crazy how some things never change, and history has a way of repeating itself.
“Crazy” recorded on August 21, 1961, released October 16, 1961, via Decca
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