Song of the Day Jan 23
January 23, 2024
This month I’m focusing on some great hits from the 60s.
Today our song is: Crazy
Wikipedia tells us this about the song:
In his book Willie: An Autobiography, Nelson recalled that it was hard to find artists interested in recording "Crazy" due to its use of several chords, instead of the standard three used for country music compositions at the time. Walker intended to record the song, and made a demo at Starday Records. Ultimately, the label decided to reject Walker's proposition since they felt that "Crazy" would not have commercial success.
Nelson's fellow Pamper Music song plugger and writer Hank Cochran played "Crazy" for Patsy Cline's producer Owen Bradley, who felt that the composition would be good for Cline. Cochran then told Walker about Bradley's interest in the song for Cline and asked him not to record it. In exchange, Cochran gave Walker "Charlie's Shoes".
Cline's husband Charlie Dick had previously taken her a demo of Nelson's "Night Life". Cline disliked the song, and she asked her husband not bring her any more of Nelson's songs, saying that she did not want to record compositions that embraced vulnerability or loss of love. The persistent Cochran drove Nelson to Cline's house with the demo of "Crazy". While Nelson waited in the car, Cochran played the song for Cline. Cline told Cochran to bring Nelson into the house, where he taught her to sing the song. Cline had difficulty following Nelson's phrasing because he sang behind the beat. An alternative account published by Nelson in his 2015 book It's A Long Story: My Life revealed that, while drinking with Dick at Tootsie's Orchid Lounge, Nelson played his demo of "Crazy" on the bar's jukebox. Dick thought the song was good, that his wife should record it, and offered to take Nelson to his home to play the demo for Cline. Because it was after midnight, Nelson decided to wait in the car as Dick played the song for Cline, and she later invited him in.
Bradley planned to record "Crazy" with the minor and major sevenths jazz chords favored by Nelson. For most of the song, the composition uses a B-flat key but ends in B major. Bradley decided to add the Jordanaires on background vocals, pianist Floyd Cramer, and bass guitarist Bob Moore. Cramer opened with a four-bar introduction, followed by brushing from drummer Buddy Harman. Moore was complemented by Harold Bradley's electric guitar, creating a tic-tac effect. The first four-hour recording session took place on August 21, 1961, at Quonset Hut Studio. Cline had recently been in a car accident that bruised her ribs and Owen Bradley had to end her participation because, in her pain, she could not reach the notes needed to match Nelson's phrasing. Bradley worked the arrangements with the musicians and recorded the music track for the song.
Bradley asked Cline to use her own rather than Nelson's singing style. After her ribs recovered three weeks later, Cline returned to record her vocal track; she accomplished it on the first take. During the session on September 15, 1961, Cline's vocal featured ascending and descending intervals and the use of broken chords. Cline learned to sing in the style needed for "Crazy" early in her life; she listened to and imitated big band and jazz performers that she heard on the radio. Following Nelson, Cline sang slightly behind the beat, but modified to fit her own unique style.