The spotlight will continue to shine on the legacy of Grammy-winning recording star Crystal Gayle at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. The iconic singer’s numerous honors and awards include 22 #1 hit singles and 34 Top 10 singles, becoming the first woman in country music to have a platinum record (1977’s We Must Believe in Magic).
Crystal Gayle has also released more than 30 albums and is notorious her trademark hair which could leave Rapunzel with an inferiority complex! She was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2009, and has performed more than 3,000 concerts for over ten million fans all over the world. So, it is with little surprise that the Country Music Hall of Fame’s exhibit on Gayle’s life and music, suitably titled Crystal Gayle: When I Dream, has been extended due to enormous popularity. The exhibit will now run through February 1st at the Nashville-based institution.
“I am honored and very excited that the Country Music Hall of Fame has extended my exhibit. So many fans have told me how much they have enjoyed my display at the Hall of Fame, and I have too,” says Crystal Gayle.
Gayle was born Brenda Gail Webb in 1951 and is the youngest sister of fellow country icon, Loretta Lynn. Nineteen years younger than her sister, Lynn still served as an important mentor throughout the beginning of Gayle’s career. In 1970 when singing with Decca, the label asked her to record under a different name in order to set her apart from fellow Decca artist, Brenda Lee. Lynn suggested “Crystal,” after noticing the name on a Krystal Hamburger sign. “Gail” was then changed to the more unique spelling “Gayle.” And that is how we came to receive Crystal Gayle. Her early style strongly mirrored that of her sister’s, which resulted in recordings that often found their way onto the Top 100, but never the Top 10.
Moving labels to United Artists in 1970 and developing a sound more her own, a smoother and more pop-oriented approach well suited to Nashville trends of the time, won Gayle her first Top 10 single, 1974’s “Wrong Road Again.” Thus spending the next few years perfecting her sound, in 1977 “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue” combined and appealing to both country and pop audiences alike with a little bit of smooth jazz flair, hitting #1 on country charts and #2 on Billboard’s Top 100. Gayle also earned a Grammy for Best Country Female Vocalist.
Watch Gayle perform her classic “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue” HERE.
Some featured artifacts among the Crystal Gayle: When I Dream exhibit:
- Hand-stitched valentine Crystal made in third grade for her mother, Clara
- Crystal Gayle’s custom white microphone, with her name engraved in gold
- Red parlor guitar, custom built by luthier Danny Ferrington in 1980
- Photos of teenaged Crystal Gayle and sisters Loretta Lynn and Peggy Sue that hung on their mother’s living room wall
- LP cover for the soundtrack album to the 1982 film, One from the Heart, directed by Francis Ford Coppola, featuring Gayle and Tom Waits. The album featured Gayle performing solo or as a duet partner with Waits, who wrote the songs.
- Flight suit and boots she wore on her F-16 flight in 1984
- 1977 Grammy for Best Female Country Performance, for “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue”
- 1976 ACM Female Vocalist of the Year trophy
- Marble and crystal Indiana Living Legend award, presented to Crystal in 2005
- Mattel’s Crystal “Eagle” Gayle Air Force Barbie doll, which commemorated both her 1984 flight aboard an F-16 fighter and the 50th anniversary of the U.S. Air Force