If the name Hank Cochran doesn’t ring a bell, it should.
He is a legendary songwriter who has penned songs for the likes of Ray Price, Eddy Arnold, and Patsy Cline.
When he first moved to Nashville, he and Harlan Howard became writing partners. While working one night, Howard came up with the title “I Fall To Pieces”. The next day, they wrote music and lyrics.
They knew they had a hit on their hands, all they needed was someone to sing it. They began pounding the pavement with Decca producer Owen Bradley trying to offer it to the biggest names at the time.
Brenda Lee turned it down because she thought it was “too country”. It was then rejected by country star Roy Drusky because he didn’t think it was a man’s song.
Cline actually overheard Drusky amd Bradley’s argument and asked if she could record it, since it was a song for a woman.
Once Cline was ready to record it, she began having second thoughts. She didn’t like the idea of a group of background singers as her supporting vocalists. She thought they would drown out her sound.
Cline also didn’t agree with the way Bradley wanted it recorded, which was a pop-style ballad. Bradley wanted to appeal to both country and pop markets, which Cline wanted nothing to do with.
As we all know, “I Fall To Pieces” became Cline’s first No. 1 hit and one of her most recognizable hits. It also began a solid partnership between Cline and Cochran, who wrote a string of songs for her throughout her career.
In 2004, Rolling Stone ranked the song No. 238 on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time and No. 7 on CMT’s TV special of the 100 Greatest Songs in Country Music.
It’s wild to think that this song almost went unrecorded. It opened the doors for Cline, Cochran, and Howard.
Watch Cochran perform the song below sitting near fellow Cline songwriter, Willie Nelson.
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