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Love Always, Patsy Cline

By Art van Bodegraven | 06/03/2014 | 7:54 AM

The trailblazing country legend never failed to close her letters to a few real friends with this sign-off.  If you have an opportunity to see the charming and invigorating play, Always, Patsy Cline, take it.  The show, especially when Katie Deal stars, is worth a drive and an evening to remember who Patsy was and what she was about.

A phenomenon since her teen years, she revolutionized the role of women in the country genre.  Patsy's meterioric career got off to a slow start when she had the courage to face down the all-powerful star-maker, Arthur Godfrey.  Her string of hits was amazing, and her prolific flow of records was apparently unstoppable.

Prior to her force-of-nature arrival on the scene, "girl" singers were  marginalized by introductions as "Miss" whomever was somewhere low on the playbill that night.  Patsy was not a "miss"; she was "the great", the one and only, or simply "Patsy Cline".  Thanks to her, women were able for the first time to get top billing over men on country programs, and - perhaps more important - command equal or higher earnings.

After putting a serious dent in that glass ceiling, Patsy went on to cross-over success, and traded in her fringed cowgirl outfits for sophisticated gowns, even appearing in Carnegie Hall, and gaining fans all the while.  She packed a lifetime of accomplishment into a mere thirty years, perishing tragically in a plane crash on the way to yet another event, which she was to headline and get paid top dollar for.

The important message that Patsy leaves to us in the supply chain community is not so much to reach undreampt of heights before burning out, or to get as much done as possible because tomorrow is not a guarantee.

Her legacy to  us, beyond songs that cannot be forgotten, is the reality that she sang only songs written by others.  She could not read, let alone write, music, and had no idea what key she sang in.  Happily, a list of those who wrote the songs she left us reads like a country music Hall of Fame.

But, she took each song, tweaked and transformed it, and made it uniquely her own.  As was the practice, she covered many of others' hits - and made them sound as if they'd ben written for her.  Others covered her hits, and well, but none took the definitive version away from Patsy Cline.

So, our challenge is to take what others have done, what concepts have been developed, what traditional practices can still make sense, what is being heralded as cutting-edge, and tweak and transform them, to make them uniquely our own, and to make them most useful to our situation and our employers' needs and objectives.

If we can do that well, perhaps we, too, can leave lasting legacies.  How great was Patsy's?  She had three Top 10 country hits after her death.  She was the first female inductee into the Country Music Hall of Fame.  Her boxed set, issued in 1992,  remained among the top ten collections  of all time as late as 2010.  In 1997, her Crazy was voted the top  jukebox hit of all time, with another of her classics coming in at #17.  A 40th anniversary reissue of Patsy Cline's Greatest Hits was a 2007 success.

We can only hope for a fraction of her impact in our profession, but the effort will be good for all, and life-altering for the practitioner who makes the attempt.

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About Art van Bodegraven

Art van Bodegraven

Art van Bodegraven (1939 - 2017) was Managing Principal of the van Bodegraven Associates consultancy and Founding Principal of Discovery Executive Services, which develops and delivers supply chain educational programs. He was formerly Chair of the Supply Chain Group AG, Partner at The Progress Group LLC, Development Executive at CSCMP, Practice Leader with S4 Consulting, and a Managing Director in Coopers & Lybrand's consulting practice. Concentrating in supply chain management and logistics for over 20 years in his 50+ year business career, he has led ground-breaking strategic, operational, and educational projects for leading US and global clients. Art was principal co-author of DC Velocity's Basic Training monthly column for a decade, and was the principal co-author, with Ken Ackerman, of Fundamentals of Supply Chain Management, the definitive primer in the field. His popular blog, The Art of Art, has been a staple of DC Velocity's web site since its inception.


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