Crystal Gayle

  • Country singer born Brenda Gail Webb in 1951 from Paintsville Kentucky, and raised in Wabash Indiana. She is the younger sister to country music star Loretta Lynn (the “Coal Miner’s Daughter” is 19 years older than Brenda).
  • She was shy as a child, but her mother encouraged her to sing, and she was inspired by the success that her sister Loretta had in country music – Brenda was 11 when Loretta released her first album. While in high school, she sang with her sister at concerts during the summer. After graduating, she signed a record contract with Loretta’s label in 1970. The label already had artist Brenda Lee under contract, so they asked her to create a stage name. Loretta suggest Crystal, and thus she became Crystal Gayle.
  • Gayle released 5 singles between 1970 and 1974. They were written by Loretta Lynn, and Gayle’s performances were in a style similar to her sister’s. The debut single, I’ve Cried (The Blue Right Out Of My Eye) reached #23 on the Country charts, but the others were less successful, and Gayle was frustrated that she did not have the freedom she wanted. In 1974, she signed with another label that allowed her more creative freedom. Her music evolved from old time country music to a sound that retained her country roots, yet incorporated more of a crossover popular style.
  • Her debut album with the new label was released in 1974 – the self titled Crystal Gayle. The first single from the record, Wrong Road Again, peaked at #6 on the Country chart – her first of 32 top 10 singles on the chart.
  • Her next album, Somebody Loves You, scored her first #1 hit, I’ll Get Over You, in 1976. It was the first of 18 #1 songs for Gayle.
  • In 1977, she released her fourth album, We Must Believe In Magic. It became the first album ever by a female country music artist to be certified platinum. Its success was driven by her best selling single, the jazz-infused Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue. The song peaked at #1 on the Country chart, and at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, becoming her signature song. She won her only Grammy award for the song – for Best Female Country Vocal Performance.
  • Her 1978 album When I Dream also was certified platinum, reaching #2 on the Country Album charts. Singles that topped the Country songs chart were Talking In Your Sleep and Why Have You Left The One You Left Me For. 
  • In the 80s, Gayle released 8 albums, with 11 songs hitting #1, including 4 consecutive in 1982 and 1983 – ‘Til I Gain Control Again, Our Love Is On The Faultline, Baby What About You and The Sound Of Goodbye. In 1982, she sang with Tom Waits on the songs to the soundtrack for the film One From The Heart. Her final top 10 country hit was in 1987, when Another World, a duet with Gary Morris, peaked at #4.
  • By the 90s, country music was changing away from older artists, and Gayle’s music was no longer popular. She recorded 2 gospel albums, as well as a tribute album to the songs of Hoagy Carmichael, and a children’s album in 2000. In 2016, she was (finally) invited to be a member of the Grand Ole Opry, and she was officially inducted by her sister Loretta Lynn in January 2017. Gayle continues to perform 50 or so concerts a year today.
  • Crystal Gayle was one of country music’s biggest stars of the 70s and 80s. Watch her perform Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue. It’s a song that I sang along with my senior year of high school.

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