Patsy Cline (1932-1963) was born in Virginia, and when her father walked out of the house when she was 15, she dropped out of high school to work as a waitress and bring in some income. She began singing at a local radio station, and for several years became increasingly popular in the tri-state area where she lived. In 1955 she signed her first record contract. She made a lot of records in the late 1950s, and had one major hit, “Walkin’ After Midnight,” which reached #2 on the Country chart in 1957.
However, it wasn’t until she got free of her initial record contract, which had some very restrictive provisions, that Cline began to enjoy consistent success. She had her first #1 hit, “I Fall To Pieces,” in 1961; it also did well as a crossover hit. Although she had a temporary setback due to a late 1961 auto accident, she rebounded with several additional hit singles in the next year and a half. She also began to act as a mentor and support figure for other women trying to make it as solo country acts, like Loretta Lynn and a very young Barbara Mandrell.