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Who is Crystal Gayle?

By Sheri Cyprus
Updated May 23, 2024
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Crystal Gayle is an American country pop singer. She achieved 18 number one hit songs, broke new ground in country music and won many awards. Crystal Gayle's most well known song is Don't it Make My Brown Eyes Blue. Her famous sister, country music superstar Loretta Lynn, inspired Gayle's own remarkable career in country and pop music.

Brenda Gail Webb is Crystal Gayle's birth name and she was born 9 January, 1951 in Paintsville, Kentucky. Melvin Webb, who was known as Ted, and Clara Marie Webb, nee Ramey, had eight children. Loretta was the second oldest and Brenda was the youngest. Clara, who was Irish and Cherokee, and Ted, who worked in road construction and as a coal miner, moved to Wabash, Indiana when Brenda was four years old.

Brenda played guitar and sang folk songs in high school and also sang back-up in her brother's band. She would tour with her famous big sister for a few weeks every summer. After finishing high school, Brenda signed on with Decca, her sister's record label. But since singer Brenda Lee was also under the Decca label, the company preferred that Brenda Gail change her name. She changed the spelling of her middle name as well as that of Krystal in the Krystal hamburger chain to become Crystal Gayle.

Crystal Gayle's first single with Decca was 1970's "I've Cried the Blues Right Out of My Eyes," which reached number 23 on the Billboard Country Singles chart. Loretta Lynn wrote the song and Decca wanted Crystal to have a similar style to Loretta's. But after not reaching the Top 40 charts again until 1974, Crystal Gayle left Decca for United Artists that same year to pursue her own music style. Also in 1974, Gayle released her first album and one of the songs, Wrong Road Again, hit the number six spot on the country charts.

Eighteen number one hit songs soon followed for Crystal Gayle as well as some number two and lower hits. "Don't it Make My Brown Eyes Blue" was the biggest hit of her career and its album, We Must Believe in Magic, was the first album by a country female artist to go platinum. Crystal Gayle has also won five times for Female Country Artist of the Year.

Her hits lasted through the 1970s and 1980s and when the trends became stronger for pure country rather than the crossover type of country Gayle sang, she did some children's albums and gospel music. In the mid-1980s Crystal Gayle appeared as herself in the soap opera, Another World, and the song she sang by the same name became the show's new theme song and also reached number four on the country charts. Gayle is honored in the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame and in 2008 a star with her name was added to the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Crystal Gayle is known to wear her hair so long that it often appears to almost touch the ground. She married her high school sweetheart, Bill Gatzimos, and they have two children and one grandchild. Gayle owns a Nashville gift shop called Crystal's.

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Discussion Comments
By Lostnfound — On Jan 31, 2014

I saw Crystal Gayle on a late 60s installment of the Wilburn Brothers TV show, where her sister Loretta was a regular. She couldn't have been more than 17 or so. She still looked like a round-faced teenager and sounded a lot more like Loretta then.

Her voice really matured and became richer and she went from a pretty teenager to a strikingly beautiful woman. She is one of my favorite female singers. She has such great tone and expression in her voice. Her purity of tone is not often found in any voice, let alone a woman who focused on country-pop. Just a great talent.

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