March 5th 1963 was, you could say, a second day the Music died. The first, February 3th 1959, the lives were taken due to a plane crash of Ritchie Valens, J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson and Buddy Holly. This day also due to a plane crash 3 country heroes died. Hawkshaw Hawkins, Cowboy Copas and probably the most famous of the three: Patsy Cline. All three were part of the Grand Ole Opry, where Elvis couldn’t get past the first performance on October 2nd 1954, he was told he’d better keep his job as a truck driver.
He would return to the Grand Ole Opry, but only as a visitor. Mostly Backstage.
One of those visits was December 21st 1957. The Christmas Show was given. This day he would met one of the three mentioned artist who would die in the plane crash. Hawkshaw Hawkins. He got on pictures together with him accompanied with Faron Young and Ferlin Husky. Ferlin Husky would stay a long-time friend to Elvis. Small nice fact Ferlin was recovering in a Hospital the day that Elvis died. Also present that day was a young star. A small girl who made fame by many, many songs. Her name: Brenda Lee. Also was SUN recording artist and friend Johnny Cash. Also Hank Snow, the Wilburn Brothers, Ray Price and many more. To my knowledge Elvis never met Cowboy Copas. There is a link though. Cowboy Copas recorded the song “Tennessee Waltz” in 1947. This was the first release of the song written in 1946 by Redd Stewart and Pee Wee King. This song was also recorded around the same time by Pee Wee King himself together with his Golden West Cowboys. It was covered by Erskine Hawkins Orchestra who made it a more R&B version. Patty Page covered this version. Elvis recorded this song in 1966 which was first released on Platinum – A Life in Music 4cd box. It also can be found on Elvis: The Home Recordings.
Who did met Elvis was Patsy Cline. The first time was not actually a meeting. She was present when Elvis had his only appearance at the Grand Ole Opry. She (and was probably one of the few present) who admired his music style. She actually met Elvis in 1962 at a fundraiser for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Which opened that year by the late entertainer Danny Thomas. Mission was and is to find cures for children with cancer and other catastrophic diseases through research and treatment. On this evening they exchanged phone numbers. Patsy started to call Elvis ‘The Big Hoss’ (Patsy used this endearment to friends. Male or female). Patsy had many hits like: Walkin’ After Midnight, I fall to Pieces and Crazy. Patsy was using the Jordanaires (the back-up vocals of Elvis) many times during her own recording sessions in the studio. Patsy came to a brutal end of her career 52 years ago today by the plane crash in Nashville. The instructor of Hughes (the pilot that day) also trained Jim Reeves. Another country legend who made the cross over to country pop. He also died in a plane crash one year later.
Elvis met Jim Reeves on September 1st 1955 at the Pontchartrain Beach second annual Red Smith WBOK Day. So not only Rock and Roll lost a lot of singers by airplanes. Also country music had their losses.