On This Day: Patsy Cline Records ‘Faded Love’ in Nashville in 1963

by Matthew Wilson

Patsy Cline recorded one of her final songs on this day in 1963. The country artist lent her powerful voice to a rendition of “Faded Love.”

Cline was a powerhouse for her era, producing hits that could make a grown man cry. She had a sorrowful, mournful element to her voice and a dynamic range. But one of her most haunting tunes was “Faded Love,” which she recorded in Nashville on Feb. 4, 1963.

Behind the Patsy Cline Song

“Faded Love” was based on a piece of music songwriter Bob Wills heard his father play as a child. Bob’s father would stay up late into the evening practicing the fiddle. Willis would drift to sleep listening to his father’s haunting notes. And the song stuck in his head for years to come as he took up music himself.

Decades later, Willis played the tune with the Texas Playboys, a group that he formed. But the song was still without lyrics for decades. By 1948, Willis and his group were on his way out. The musician faced a changing landscape of upcoming, younger artists. Audiences didn’t really listen to swing music as much, flocking to new artists like Hank Williams or Eddy Arnold.

But Willis and his brother decided to lyrics to their father’s tune. They brought the song to MGM Studios with hopes of scoring a hit. Unfortunately, the song struggled on the charts and reached only No. 8 on the charts. Willis’ star power was diminished, and he wouldn’t grace the charts again for a decade.

The Artist Records the Tune

But “Faded Love” soon took on a life of its on. It became a favorite cover among country artists, and that’s where Cline comes into the picture. In 1963, Cline was coming off a successful year when she heard a cover of “Faded Love” by Jackie DeShannon on the radio. Realizing she could make the song a hit, she approached the studio about recording the tune.

Cline gave life to the track in a way that only she could, bringing the emotion. It was one of the final songs of her life. A month later, Cline died in a plane crash. In the aftermath, her husband reportedly listened to the track to console his grief. Released six months after her death, the song became a fitting tribute to the singer and her career. It remains among her greatest work.