Song 243: Patsy Cline, “She’s Got You” (1962)

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You can keep your “Crazy,” your “I Fall To Pieces,” even your “Walkin’ After Midnight.” I’ll take “She’s Got You,” a song that, thanks to its simple melody and Patsy Cline’s heartbreaking performance, makes me, um, fall to pieces.

First of all, that piano introduction is beautiful. It reminds me of the beginning of “In a Sentimental Mood” by Duke Ellington and John Coltrane in the way that it’s simultaneously delicate but ominous. The piano phrase sets the scene for Cline sitting on the floor, looking through old photographs, records, and other artifacts of a relationship gone bad.

The song’s concept is clever but simple, and I like the fact that the point of the song isn’t, “I have all this stuff, but I don’t have you,” but “I have all this stuff, but she’s got you.” Instead of being all about the narrator, it’s about the other woman. It’s not a twist, exactly, but it’s a nice change of pace.

My favorite moment in the song is when Cline sings “I’ve got your memory, or [pause] has it got me?” That lyric is perfect, as is Cline’s timing in singing it. The line gives the song a little tension, which is immediately broken when Cline then belts out “I really don’t know, but I know, it won’t let me go.” Hank Cochran (also the co-writer of “I Fall to Pieces” and composer of many other country songs) wrote a hell of a song. It’s expertly paced and visually evocative, like a short story or a short film. And it gets me every time.

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