55 Years Ago: Patsy Cline Performs Her Final Show
Fifty-five years ago today, on March 3, 1963, Patsy Cline performed her final show. The singer was killed two days later (March 5, 1963) in a plane crash.
On the evening of March 3, Cline performed three benefit shows at the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall in Kansas City, Kan., to raise money for the family of DJ Jack "Cactus" Hall, who had been killed in an automobile accident that January. Hawkshaw Hawkins, Cowboy Copas, Dottie West, Billy Walker, George Jones and Wilma Lee and Stoney Cooper also appeared at the benefit shows, which were intended to help Hall's widow.
Cline, who was sick with the flu, wore a light blue dress for the 2PM show, a red dress for the 5PM show and a white chiffon dress for the last show at 8PM.
“I walked out and watched the shows, and I will never forget that gorgeous white chiffon dress she wore,” West later recalled for the video biography The Real Patsy Cline. “I thought, ‘My God! She sings like an angel, and she looks like one.’ She was just beautiful.
"It seemed she sang so effortlessly. She just did it so easily," West added. "I remember that night that they just screamed and yelled when she did "Bill Bailey." She sang the fire out of it — like it had never been sung. She was really happy that day.”
Cline's final song was a brand-new tune, "I'll Sail My Ship Alone," which she had recorded in February. Following a standing ovation, Cline slept at the Town House Motor Hotel, where she stayed until March 5, after weather prohibited her from flying out any sooner.
On March 5, Cline, along with Copas and Hawkins, perished in a plane crash near Camden, Tenn., on their way back to Nashville.
This story was originally written by Gayle Thompson, and revised by Annie Zaleski.
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