One of the most influential and acclaimed female vocalists of the twentieth century, Patsy Cline (1932-63) was best known for her rich tone and emotionally expressive voice. Born Virginia Patterson Hensley, she launched her musical career during the early 1950s as a young woman in Winchester, Virginia, and her heartfelt songs reflect her life and times in this community. A country music singer who enjoyed pop music crossover success, Cline embodied the power and appeal of women in country music, helping open the lucrative industry to future female solo artists. Bringing together noted authorities on Patsy Cline and country music, Sweet Dreams: The World of Patsy Cline examines the regional and national history that shaped Cline's career and the popular culture that she so profoundly influenced with her music. In detailed, deeply researched essays, contributors provide an account of Cline's early performance days in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley, analyze the politics of the split between pop and country music, and discuss her strategies for negotiating gender in relation to her public and private persona.
Interpreting rich visual images, fan correspondence, publicity tactics, and community mores, this volume explores the rich and complex history of a woman whose music and image changed the shape of country music and American popular culture. Contributors are Beth Bailey, Mike Foreman, Douglas Gomery, George Hamilton IV, Warren R. Hofstra, Joli Jensen, Bill C. Malone, Kristine M. McCusker, and Jocelyn R. Neal.