On Friday, October 2, at 11:30 a.m., Crystal Gayle’s star will be the 2,390th Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and is located near the Star of Her Sister Loretta Lynn. Tanya Tucker will be on hand as a guest speaker.
Crystal Gayle was born Brenda Gail Webb in Paintsville, Kentucky on January 9, 1951. When she was four years old her family moved to Wabash, Indiana. Inspired by sister Loretta Lynn’s career, she decided to learn to play the guitar and she sang in her brothers’ country bands. Crystal encapsulates everything the dazzling qualities of her name imply — although that name came to her in quite an unusual fashion. “Crystal” was suggested by Brenda Gail Webb’s older sister, Loretta Lynn. Knowing there was already a ‘Brenda Lee’ currently successful in the music industry, Loretta selected the name ‘Crystal’ for her younger sibling when she began recording.
Country, folk, pop, rock ‘n roll, Broadway show tunes, gospel… all found an equal place in her heart when growing up as the youngest of eight children. As her beloved sister Loretta so aptly put it, Crystal, too, was a “coal miner’s daughter” before she was a platinum- selling singer and a world-class entertainer.
While still in school, she signed her first recording contract. Her debut single, “I’ve Cried the Blue Right Out of My Eyes,” was written by Loretta and reached the Top 25 on the national country music charts. Three more singles were released over the next three years, all making an impact with radio and listeners.
Her first album project began a roll-out of smash singles to come. “Wrong Road Again,” (her first of many hit singles with producer Allen Reynolds) became her debut Top 10 record. “I’ll Get Over You” became her first #1 single. By her fourth album, “We Must Believe in Magic,” Crystal Gayle became the first female artist in country music history to achieve platinum album sales. Driving the engine of the album was the song that was to become her enduring career signature song: “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue.”
“Brown Eyes” opened the world’s eyes to Crystal Gayle. She became a familiar name in households, grand and small, from Louisville to Leningrad. The glamour and the mystique of the Crystal Gayle phenomena made her an instantly “in-demand” artist. From symphony halls to Carnegie Hall, from the best-kept stages in Las Vegas to the prestige of the London Palladium, one word — “Crystal” — crossed musical genres and oceans.
In the late ‘70s, Crystal was the star of her own one hour prime-time specials on CBS television — specials that earned the praise of audiences and critics alike. Crystal’s CBS specials were followed by an equally groundbreaking HBO concert special viewed by millions. The ensuing years saw Crystal host a Christmas special from Sweden, and a variety special taped in Finland. Chic, hip and cool, with a romantic mane of hair, Crystal’s television specials and myriad guest-appearances on specials and talk shows solidified her stardom. She appeared in Bob Hope’s historic NBC-TV Special “On the Road to China.” She was seen hosting the “American Music Awards” and the “Academy Of Country Music Awards.” She swept through tours — and repeat tours — of the U.S. Japan, England, Canada, Ireland, Germany, Spain, Sweden, Finland, Holland, Australia and the Far East.
Her hit list of platinum and gold was to be matched only by her awards and accolades. CMA’s “Female Vocalist of the Year,” for two consecutive years, she became a Grammy Award Winner for “Best Female Vocal Performance,” thanks to her beloved “Brown Eyes” – a song that she has never grown tired of singing. Crystal swept the Academy Of Country Music Awards for three of their “Top Female Vocalist” statuettes. As her music and her career path widened to mainstream audiences, so did her accolades. She is the recipient of three “American Music Awards,” voted by the nation as America’s “Favorite Female Artist.”
Crystal’s most recent projects, “Crystal Gayle Sings The Heart & Soul of Hoagy Carmichael” and “All My Tomorrows,” allow Crystal to explore collections of American standards. Songs such as “Stardust,” “Skylark,” “Cry Me a River,” “Sentimental Journey,” “It Had to Be You” and “Smile” reach the heights their songwriters’ must have dreamed of when piped through the beautiful chords of Crystal Gayle.
Generous with her time and talents, Crystal has become involved with many charities. She garnered the initial “Celebration of Light Award” in recognition of her humanitarian efforts. Crystal recorded the official theme song for the Make-A-Wish Foundation and served thrice as co-host for the Arthritis telethon. Fittingly, the “Celebration of Light Award” was Waterford Crystal.