Crystal Gayle

Crystal-Gayle-exhibit-imageJohnson County’s Crystal Gayle crys043Crystal Gayle has a smooth, classy sound that easily crossed from country to pop music. She has collected 20 Number Ones, with the top performer “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue”.  She is a Grammy Award winner, CMA Female Vocalist Of The Year in 1977 and 1978, and  Academy of Country Music (ACM) Female Vocalist Of The Year in 1976, 1977, and 1979.  She also was inducted in the Kentucky Music Hall Of Fame in 2008, and on ’09 she was given a star in the Hollywood Walk Of Fame. The latest honor was becoming a member of the Grand Ole Opry in late January, 2017.  The honor was presented by her famous sister Loretta Lynn, who had been honored in  1962 with a Grand Ole Opry membership. She was invited to be a Grand Ole Opry member live onstage by Carrie Underwood after the award winning singer finished a duet with Crystal on “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue”. Crystal encapsulates everything the dazzling qualities of that name. “Crystal” came at the suggestion of Brenda Gayle Webb’s older sister, Loretta Lynn. She commented that  since there was already a “Brenda Lee” in the music industry, stongly suggested she should now be “Crystal”. Lynn said while presenting Crystal with the Grand Ole Opry membership, she looked up at the crystal chandelier in her house, and came up with the suggestion for Brenda Webb’s new stage name. Since, her musical boundaries have since been far reaching. Crystal Gayle first performed at the Grand Ole Opry as a fill-in for her famous sister, who was ill. In accepting her induction, she said she has “long felt like a member of the (Grand Ole Opry) family.” A notable project “All My Tomorrows” contains a collection of American standards. Songs such as “Cry Me A River,” “Sentimental Journey,” “It Had To Be You,” and “Smile” somehow reach the heights their songwriter’s must have dreamed of when piped through her beautiful vocal chords. “These are songs any artist loves to sing,” said Crystal in a recent interview. “They’ve evolved into time-tested classics.” Crystal’s unique sound was an effort not to be a sound-alike to Loretta, and was well received. She accomplished the seamless crossover to mainstream, blazing a trail that artists to follow, such as Shania Twain and Faith Hill. In the mid “70′s, Crystal was the focal point of her own one hour prime time special on CBS television a special that earned the glowing praise of viewers and critics alike. Chic, hip, and cool with a romantic mane of hair that swept around her ankles. In one evening of television Crystal Gayle elevated country music to the highest platform it had yet reached. The blue eyed beauty from the eastern Kentucky coal mining town of Van Lear, on the outskirts ofPaintsville, Kentucky would never again linger in the shadow of being Loretta’s baby sister. Drop dead beautiful and dressed in designer stage outfits, she took country music to new and wider mainstream audiences, beginning in the 70′s. But in the beginning Country, folk, pop, rock “n roll, Broadway show tunes, gospel all found equal place in her heart, growing up as the youngest of eight children. Like big sister Loretta, Crystal was a “coal miners daughter” before she was a platinum selling singer and a world class entertainer. While still in school, she signed her first recording contact. Her debut single, “I’ve Cried The Blue Right Out Of My Eyes,” was written by Loretta and reached the Top 20 on the national country music charts. Three more singles were released over the next three years all making an impact with radio and listeners.

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