Jennifer saw last weeks article and asked if I could feature Crystal Gayle (Brenda Gail Webb) this week. Of course! She recorded for many years had a truly great career. I wish history was kinder to talented people of this era.
She, as you may know is Loretta Lynn's sister, and did follow her sisters footsteps to a degree, as yes, she was a country singer. But Gayle's style, arrangements and about everything else was very different. Her voice was different, her fashion, and her floor length hair which became her pop culture trademark was certainly different. Her success was different too. Without question, she had a great career, but one thing she did have in common professionally with Loretta was each had a ton of hits, wrapped around a gigantic signature song. Loretta's Coal Miners Daughter, and Gayle's, Don't It Make My Brown Eyes Blue.
Songs Get No Bigger Than This
She was a backup singer in Loretta's band, but soon landed her own recording contract in the mid 1970's and began her run. Her style was a more pop-country, and at first there was limited success. But in 1977 when she recorded Don't It Make My Brown Eyes Blue, things changed forever. It was an international #1 hit song that not only changed her career, but helped country become noticed by a whole new audience that never sampled us before. The song was originally written for a British singer to record, but never made it across the pond until Gayle recorded it. Can you imagine anyone else singing that song? Me either.
This Was A Big Song As Well - Same Era
The success that followed was big, and there were plenty of country hits and many crossover hits too. Gayle was one of the most successful crossover artists we have ever had. That was the trend at the time, and she was the right person in the right place at the right time. She not only had her own songs, she recorded a gigantic duet with Eddie Rabbitt, You And I, which became a big wedding song nationally for a few years. Her run from the late 1970's till the late 1980's was very successful. She was a star.
This Duet Was The Equivalent Of "Amazed " Many Years Later
The thing I really loved about her was, she was a great singer with an angelic voice. Her voice was not stereotypical country, it was mass appeal. She was one of those great singers from that era that could just flat out sing. Ala - Barbara Mandrell, Janie Fricke, and others. And the type of songs she could sing were endless. She had great success on the country and pop charts, but like many when country shifted more traditional, hers and many others chart run were casualties. But I can listen to her sing Don't It Make My Browns Eyes Blue another thousand times.
This Was A Real Big Song - Late Night AM Radio Song
She and her sister each recorded one of the most important songs in our history. Coal Miners Daughter was from a different time and era of course and was highly influential, but no less important. And Gayle's DIMMBEB, is one of the most important songs ever in country in terms of a more modern era, by attracting new fans on the eve of Urban Cowboy. Her version of it is country music sacred ground. Not many families can say that.
One Of My Favorite Gayle Songs - Big Hit Country And Pop
Crystal Gayle had a great career, and was a big star. She won awards, A Grammy, and sold millions of albums. She also was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry in 2016 (what took so long?). And in a recording session in 1977 with a song that is 2:32 - helped propel country to a new level, one we are still enjoying today. And she still has floor length hair.