Patsy Cline

I Fall to Pieces

Song Review by

"I Fall to Pieces" was one of Patsy Cline's biggest hits, ascending to #12 in 1961, and is probably her most famous song. For a country song, or a country-pop song as it might be more properly classified, "I Fall to Pieces" had an uncommonly lively and bouncy melody, particularly in the rippling descending notes and key changes of the guitar line following her declaration of the title phrase in the verse. That descension mirrored the sense of helplessness of falling in love described by the lyric, one which might play into stereotypes of femininity, but which is effective nonetheless. (And, incidentally, written by two men, Harlan Howard and Hank Cochran.) Another plus to the recording is its brisk walk-run tempo, where many country singers and arrangers would have opted for the more habitual sluggish ballads attached to lyrics such as these. "I Fall to Pieces"'s catchy and wistful melody, as well as its delicately echoed guitar lines that introduce and punctuate the tune, might have been its strongest musical attributes. But Cline also gifted it with a vocal delivery that refused to milk the sentiment and heartache of the words, maintaining dignity but at the same time making her hurt plain. Live Cline performances of the song from 1961 are also available on Live at the Cimarron Ballroom and Live at the Grand Ole Opry. Lynn Anderson, Wanda Jackson, Loretta Lynn, Willie Nelson, Michael Nesmith, Ray Price, Linda Ronstadt, Dottie West, and Faron Young are among the more renowned artists who have covered the song.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Billboard Top Country Hits: 1961 1961
Various Artists
Rhino 2:51
Patsy Cline Showcase 1961 MCA 2:47
The Patsy Cline Story 1963 MCA 2:48
Showcase 1967 Geffen 2:49
Greatest Hits: Jim Reeves & Patsy Cline 1967 RCA 2:47
Patsy Cline's Greatest Hits 1967 Apo / Universal 2:49
Heartaches [Universal] 1985 Universal Special Products 2:49
Sweet Dreams 1985 MCA 2:46
No Image 1985
Various Artists
HBO / Cannon
12 Greatest Hits 1988 MCA / Universal 2:50
Country U.S.A.: 1961 1988
Various Artists
Time / Life Music
MCA Records 30 Years of Hits (1958-1988) 1988
Various Artists
MCA 2:47
20 Golden Hits [Deluxe] 1989 Deluxe
No Image 1989
Various Artists
Universal Special Products
No Image 1990 MCA
Always 1991 MCA 0:00
Best of Patsy Cline [Curb] 1991 Curb 0:00
The Patsy Cline Collection [MCA] 1991 MCA 2:49
No Image 1992 MCA
Country Music Classics, Vol. 2 (1960-65) 1992
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 2:51
Great Ladies of Country 1992
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 2:47
Country's Greatest Hits of the 60's, Vol. 1 1994
Various Artists
Universal Special Products / MCA 2:48
Trucker's Jukebox, Vol. 3 [Universal] 1995
Various Artists
Universal Special Products 2:48
Unchained Melodies, Vol. 3 1995
Various Artists
2:51
Only Country 1960-1964 1995
Various Artists
JCI Associated Labels 2:48
...And the Answer Is: Great Country Answer Discs from '50s-'60s, Vol. 1 1995
Various Artists
2:50
Queens of Country [GNP Crescendo] 1995
Various Artists
GNP / Crescendo 2:46
Sings Songs of Love 1995 Universal Special Products 2:51
The First Ladies of Country [Ranwood] 1996
Various Artists
Ranwood Records 2:28
The Very Best of Patsy Cline 1996 MCA Nashville / Universal 2:49
Country Wildflowers 1996
Various Artists
Hip-O
Legendary Women of Country 1996
Various Artists
MCA 2:49
I Love Country: Hits of the '60s 1997
Various Artists
Priority Records 2:58
In the Country of Country, People And Places In American Music 1997
Various Artists
Compass / Compas Records 2:50
Back to Back [Universal] 1997 Universal Special Products 2:50
Country Heartaches 1997
Various Artists
Hip-O 2:50
Driver's Favorite Songs 1998
Various Artists
404 Music Group 2:47
Country Roads: 20 Driving Country Classics 1998
Various Artists
Crimson Productions 2:48
Classic Country: Country Roots 1998
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 2:51
Naked Nashville 1998
Various Artists
BMG
Double Barrel Country 1999 Madacy 2:51
Classic Country: 1950-1964 1999
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 2:49
Classic Country: Early '60s 1999
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 2:49
Classic Country: 1960-1964 1999
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 2:49
The Ultimate Collection [UTV] 2000 Hip-O / UTV 2:48
20 Golden Hits [TeeVee] 2001 Teevee Records 2:48
That's Country [Golden Stars] 2001
Various Artists
Golden Stars 1:58
No Image 2001
Various Artists
Universal Distribution 2:49
The Best of Patsy Cline [Delta 2001] 2001 Delta Distribution 2:51
#1 Country Legendary Hits, Vol. 2 2002
Various Artists
Razor & Tie 2:51
The Golden Age of American Rock 'N' Roll: Special Country Edition 2002
Various Artists
Ace 2:49
The Ultimate Classic Country Collection 2002
Various Artists
WEA International 2:50
Heart Full of Country 2003
Various Artists
Capitol / EMI Records 2:49
Pure Country Classics: The #1 Hits 2003
Various Artists
UTV 2:48
The Heart of a Legend 2003 Madacy Distribution / Madacy 2:51
Classic Country 2004 Madacy Distribution / Madacy 2:49
The Definitive Collection 2004 MCA Nashville 2:48
Lifetime Of Romance: Falling In Love 2004
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 2:50
Gold 2005 MCA Nashville 2:48
Classic Country Gold 2005
Various Artists
Hip-O 2:49
Sings Songs of Love/Anytime/Collector's Edition 2005 Madacy / Universal Special Products 2:51
Ultimate 16: Country Legends 2005
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Madacy 2:49
Country's Greatest Hits, Vol. 4 2005
Various Artists
Universal Special Products 0:00
#1 Country Hits of the 60s [Madacy] 2006
Various Artists
Madacy 2:48
The Best of Classic Country: '60s 2006
Various Artists
Time / Life Music / TLS 2:52
The Ultimate Collection [Madacy] 2006 Madacy 2:51
True Country 2006
Various Artists
Spectrum Music
Legends of Country: Classic Hits from the '50s, '60s & '70s 2006
Various Artists
Shout! Factory 2:50
#1 Country Hits [2006 Madacy] 2006
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Madacy 2:48
Lifetime of Country Romance: Gentle on My Mind 2006
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 2:50
The Greatest Country Hits of All Time 2006
Various Artists
Universal Special Products 2:49
Number 1's: Country 2007
Various Artists
Hip-O 2:49
Introducing the Dwights 2007
Original Soundtrack
Milan 2:49
20th Century Masters: All Time Favourites, Vol. 3 2007
Various Artists
UMVD 2:50
Lifetime of Country Romance Collection 2007
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 2:50
20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: The Best of Patsy Cline, Vol. 2 2007 UMVD 2:48
Lifetime of Romance [Time Life Box Set] 2007
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 2:50
Showcase/Sentimentally Yours 2008 Beat Goes On 2:51
Best of Patsy Cline: Green Series 2008 Universal Distribution 2:49
Icon 2010 MCA Nashville 2:47
Icon 2 2010 MCA Nashville 2:47
Sweet Dreams: Her Complete Decca Masters (1960-1963) 2010 Geffen / Hip-O Select / MCA Nashville 2:49
Across the Airwaves 2011 Chrome Dreams / United States of Distribution 2:44
Dim Lights, Thick Smoke and Hillbilly Music: 1961 2011
Various Artists
Bear Family Records 2:50
Simply Country [2012] 2012
Various Artists
Simply 2:52
Miles and Miles of Country 2012
Various Artists
Legacy / Play 24-7 2:50
On the Air: Her Greatest TV Performances 2012 Hip-O 2:46
Girls of the '60s: Dedicated to the One I Love 2013
Various Artists
Dynamic 2:48
20 #1's: Classic Country 2015
Various Artists
Umes / Universal 2:51
The Complete Releases 1955-1962 2017 Acrobat Music 2:49
Hits & Hymns 2019 Spring House 2:49
Crazy: The Collection Music Club Deluxe 2:50
Legendary Voices
Various Artists
StarVista / Time / Life Music 2:50
Time Life: '60s Country
Various Artists
Time Life 2:49