Crazy (Willie Nelson song)

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"Crazy"
Single by Patsy Cline
from the album Showcase With the Jordanaires
A-side"Crazy"
B-side"Who Can I Count On?"
ReleasedOctober 16, 1961
Format45 rpm
RecordedAugust 21, 1961[1]
GenreCountry, traditional pop
Length02:41
LabelDecca
Writer(s)Willie Nelson
ProducerOwen Bradley
Patsy Cline singles chronology
"I Fall to Pieces""Crazy""She's Got You"
 
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"Crazy"
Single by Patsy Cline
from the album Showcase With the Jordanaires
A-side"Crazy"
B-side"Who Can I Count On?"
ReleasedOctober 16, 1961
Format45 rpm
RecordedAugust 21, 1961[1]
GenreCountry, traditional pop
Length02:41
LabelDecca
Writer(s)Willie Nelson
ProducerOwen Bradley
Patsy Cline singles chronology
"I Fall to Pieces""Crazy""She's Got You"

"Crazy" is a ballad composed by Willie Nelson. It has been recorded by several artists, most notably by Patsy Cline, whose version was a #2 country hit in 1962.[2]

Partly due to the genre-blending nature of the song, it has been covered by dozens of artists in several genres over the years; Nevertheless, the song remains inextricably linked with Cline.

Origin[edit]

With some help from a friend named Oliver English, Nelson wrote the song in early 1961 ; at the time he was a journeyman singer-songwriter who had written several hits for other artists but had not yet had a significant recording of his own. 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 as a performer as well as a songwriter.

Musically the song is a jazz-pop ballad with country overtones and a complex melody. The lyrics describe the singer's state of bemusement at the singer's own helpless love for the object of his affection.

Patsy Cline version[edit]

Patsy Cline, who was already a country music superstar and working to extend a string of hits, picked it as a follow up to her previous big hit I Fall to Pieces. "Crazy", its complex melody suiting Cline's vocal talent perfectly, was released in late 1961 and immediately became another huge hit for Cline and widened the crossover audience she had established with her prior hits. It spent 21 weeks on the chart and eventually became one of her signature tunes. Cline's version is #85 on Rolling Stone's list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.[3]

According to the Ellis Nassour biography Patsy Cline, Nelson, who at that time was known as a struggling songwriter by the name of Hugh Nelson, was a regular at Tootsie's Orchid Lounge on Nashville's Music Row, where he frequented with friends Kris Kristofferson and Roger Miller, both unknown songwriters at that time. Nelson met Cline's husband, Charlie Dick, at the bar one evening and pitched the song to him. Dick took the 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 in the ballad form in which it was later recorded. On Loretta Lynn's album I Remember Patsy Bradley reported that as 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 the days of four songs being recorded in three hours - they called it a night. A week later she came back and recorded the lead vocal we all know in one take.

On the same interview, Loretta remembers the first time Cline performed it at the Grand Ole Opry on crutches, and received three standing ovations. Barbara Mandrell remembers Cline introducing the song to her audiences live in concert saying

All my recent hits have come true in my life. I had a hit out called Tra-La-La Triangle and people thought about me and Gerald and Charlie. I had another hit out called 'I Fall to Pieces' and I was in a car wreck. Now I'm really worried because I have a new hit single out and its called 'Crazy'.

Willie Nelson stated on the 1993 documentary Remembering Patsy that Cline's version of "Crazy" was his favorite song of his that anybody had ever recorded because it "was a lot of magic."

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1961)Peak
position
U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles2
U.S. Billboard Easy Listening2
U.S. Billboard Hot 1009
U.K. Singles Chart (1990 reissue)14
Irish Singles Chart (1990 reissue)14
Australian Kent Music Report56

LeAnn Rimes version[edit]

"Crazy"
Single by LeAnn Rimes
from the album LeAnn Rimes
ReleasedDecember 28, 1999
FormatCD single, digital download
Recorded1998
GenreCountry
LabelCurb
Writer(s)Willie Nelson
ProducerWilbur C. Rimes
LeAnn Rimes singles chronology
"Big Deal"
(1999)
"Crazy"
(1999)
"I Need You"
2000

Country singer LeAnn Rimes recorded "Crazy" for her self-titled cover album, released in 1999. It was released as the second and final single from the album. She also performed this song at the White House for President George W. Bush and particularly for Laura Bush, who said it was one of her favorite songs.

Track listing[edit]

Europe Single

  1. Crazy
  2. How Do I Live (Extended Mix)
  3. Blue

Chart[edit]

Chart (1999)Peak
position
UK Singles (The Official Chart Company)[4]36

Other versions[edit]

Notable versions include those recorded by The Kills, Linda Ronstadt (No. 6 US country), Julio Iglesias (hit in Netherlands, UK & New Zealand)), Kenny Rogers, Dottie West, Kidneythieves, LeAnn Rimes, Shirley Bassey, Chaka Khan, Don McLean and The Waifs. (Rogers also wrote and recorded another song with the title "Crazy", which topped the charts in 1984 and shouldn't be confused with this one). In 2007, the song was covered by English alternative band Apartment. Willie Nelson himself has also recorded several versions of the song over the years including a trio version with Elvis Costello and Diana Krall. Additionally, it was covered by the Kidneythieves, composd of Free Dominguez and Bruce M. Sommers on their LP Trickster via Push Records in 1998 and co-released on the "Bride of Chucky" soundtrack.

In 1980 "Crazy" was part of the soundtrack for the Loretta Lynn biography Coal Miner's Daughter and was sung by Beverly D'Angelo who was portraying Patsy Cline.

Canadian country music singer Colleen Peterson covered the song in 1993. Her version peaked at number 29 on the RPM Country Trakcs chart.[5]

In the media[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "A Tribute to Patsy Cline". Retrieved 2007-08-04. 
  2. ^ Collins, Ace (1996). The Stories Behind Country Music's All-time Greatest: 100 Songs. New York: The Berkeley Publishing Group. pp. 157–159. ISBN 1-57297-072-3. 
  3. ^ "The RS 500 Greatest Songs of All Time". RollingStone.com. Retrieved 2007-06-02. 
  4. ^ Leann Rimes - Crazy, Chart Archive
  5. ^ "RPM Country Tracks". RPM. October 2, 1993. Retrieved September 8, 2013. 
  6. ^ Ross Perot Biography (Business Personality/Political Figure) — Infoplease.com

External links[edit]