Hugh Nelson wrote this song in 1961 for a country singer named Billy Walker. Two good things then happened. Hugh decided he’d prefer to be known as “Willie,” and Billy Walker turned down this song. He faded into obscurity, and up-and-comer Patsy Cline (Great American Things, November 26, 2009) released it as her single to follow “I Go to Pieces.” It became a top 10 hit on both the country and pop charts.
The story is that Nelson did a demo of the song with a faster tempo, and some of the lyrics spoken. Patsy Cline hated it. Fortunately for music posterity, her producer did a new arrangement of the song as a ballad. Cline: Good. America: Awesome.
Cline had a serious car wreck just before she sang “Crazy,” and she used to introduce it to audiences this way: “I had a 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 it’s called ‘Crazy.'”
“Crazy” was chosen the number 85 song in Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
- Patsy Cline: A Country Career Cut Short (npr.org)