Today is Crystal Gayle’s 66th Birthday—Let’s Celebrate!
IF YOU’RE AS OLD AS I AM, or even a little younger, you probably loved hearing Crystal Gayle’s magnificent voice belting out her country music songs. My favorite was “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue,” the song that rocketed her to the top of the charts in 1977.
She was born Brenda Gayle Webb, little sister to Loretta Lynn Webb, in Paintsville, Kentucky. (You probably recognize her sister as the legendary Loretta Lynn.) Since there was a singer named Brenda Lee already successful in the music industry, Loretta Lynn suggested the name “Crystal” to her little sister when she began recording.
In the late 70s, Crystal had her own prime time specials on CBS television, to the delight of her fans. Even her critics couldn’t complain. In the following years, she hosted a concert special on HBO, a variety special in Finland, and a Christmas special in Sweden. Her signature long hair was only part of what made her so popular.
She was still in school when she signed her first recording contract for her debut single, “I’ve Cried the Blue Right Out of My Eyes.” The song, written by big sister Loretta, reached the Top 25 on the country music charts. Three more singles were released in the next three years, all favorites among her listeners. Then came her first album project, “Wrong Road Again,” which included her first #1 single, “I’ll Get Over You.” Her fourth album, “We Must Believe in Magic,” saw her becoming the first female artist in country music history to achieve platinum album sales. That was the album containing her enduring signature song, “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue.”
CMA’s “Female Vocalist of the Year” for two years running, she became a Grammy Award Winner for “Best Female Vocal Performance” for her beloved “Brown Eyes” song, one she admits even today she never gets tired of singing—and audiences never tire of hearing. Crystal swept the Academy of Country Music Awards, capturing three of their “Top Female Vocalist” awards. She received three “American Music Awards” and was voted by the nation as America’s “Favorite Female Artist.” But the shining accolade came when she was awarded a star on the fabled Hollywood Walk of Fame in October 2009.
Now a mother and grandmother, Crystal still tours, singing for appreciative audiences everywhere. Her heartbeat, according to Crystal herself, is her family—children Catherine and Christos, her toddler grandson, Elijah, and her husband, Bill Gatzimos. She resides in Nashville, Tennessee.