Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Written and first recorded (as a demo) by Willie Nelson (1961).
Hit version by Patsy Cline (US #9/C&W #2/UK #14 1961).

From the wiki: “Willie Nelson wrote ‘Crazy’ in early 1961. At the time he was a journeyman singer-songwriter working at the time under the name of Hugh Nelson. Nelson originally wrote the song for country singer Billy Walker who turned it down for the same reason Roy Drusky turned down ‘I Fall to Pieces’ the previous year – that it was ‘a girl’s song’. The song’s eventual success helped launch Nelson’s career as a performer as well as a songwriter. (On an episode of VH1’s Storytellers, Nelson revealed that ‘Crazy’ was originally titled ‘Stupid’.)

“According to the Ellis Nassour biography Patsy Cline, Nelson was a regular at Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge on Nashville’s Music Row, which he frequented with friends Kris Kristofferson and Roger Miller, both unknown songwriters, too, at that time. Nelson met Cline’s husband, Charlie Dick, at the bar one evening and pitched ‘Crazy’ to him. Dick took the demo track home and played it for Cline, who absolutely hated it at first because Nelson’s demo ‘spoke’ the lyrics ahead of and behind the beat, about which an annoyed Cline remarked that she ‘couldn’t sing like that.’.

“However, Cline’s producer, Owen Bradley, loved the song and arranged it as a ballad. Bradley recalled that because Patsy was still recovering from a recent automobile accident that nearly took her life, she’d had difficulty reaching the high notes of the song on the original production night due to her broken ribs. So after about four hours of trying, in those days of four-songs-in-three-hours, they called it a night. A week later, and more healed, Cline returned to the studio and recorded the lead vocal (the one used for the final release) in just one take.”

Patsy Cline, “Crazy” (1961):

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