Crystal Gayle (born Brenda Gail Webb; January 9, 1951) is an American country music singer best known for her 1977 hit “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue”. Initially, Gayle’s management and record label were the same as that of her oldest sister, Loretta Lynn. Not finding success with the arrangement after several years, and with Lynn’s encouragement, Gayle decided to try a different approach. She signed a new record contract and began recording with Nashville producer Allen Reynolds. Gayle’s new sound was sometimes referred to as middle-of-the-road (MOR) or country pop, and was part of a bigger musical trend by many country artists of the 1970s to appeal to a wider audience. Subsequently, Gayle became one of the most successful crossover artists of the 1970s and 80s. Her floor-length hair has become synonymous with her name.
Gayle is said to have begun her career in the 1960s performing as a background singer in Lynn’s band (although Gayle says this technically never happened). Lynn helped her sign a recording contract with Decca Records in 1970. Having minor success, she was encouraged to develop her own musical identity. Under the direction of producer Reynolds at United Artists Records, Gayle shifted towards a country pop style that was more successful. In 1975, “Wrong Road Again” became Gayle’s first major hit. However, it was in 1977 when Gayle achieved her biggest success with “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue.” The single topped the Billboard country chart, crossed over to the top five of the Billboard Hot 100 and became a major international hit.
Gayle continued having success from the late 1970s and through late 1980s. Her biggest hits included “Ready for the Times to Get Better” (1977), “Talking in Your Sleep” (1978), “Half the Way” (1979) and “You and I” (1982). In the 1990s, Gayle shifted artistic directions by recording various genres of music. This included an album of inspirational music titled Someday (1995) and an album of standards called Crystal Gayle Sings the Heart and Soul of Hoagy Carmichael (1999). During the decade she also owned and operated a fine arts shop called “Crystal’s Fine Gifts and Jewelry”. Her most recent studio release was in 2019 and Gayle has since continued to tour throughout the world.
Gayle has won one Grammy Award and has been nominated for several others since the 1970s. She has also won five Academy of Country Music awards; those awards include receiving the Cliffie Stone Pioneer Award in 2016. In addition, she has won two Country Music Association awards and three American Music Awards. Rolling Stone ranked her among the 100 greatest country artists of all time and CMT ranked her within their list of the 40 greatest women of country music. Gayle has her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and was inducted as a member of the Grand Ole Opry in 2017. (more)