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Crystal Gayle Biography

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Crystal Gayle (born January 9, 1951) is a country music and pop music singer. She is famous for her nearly floor length long hair and was voted one of the 50 most beautiful people in the world in 1983. She is also the sister of singer Loretta Lynn and cousin of singer Patty Loveless.

Born Brenda Gail Webb in Paintsville, Kentucky, Gayle began performing and recording during the early 1970s.

Crystal Gayle might be the younger sister of Loretta Lynn but Gayle is far different from the ranks of her big sister. Loretta's twangy, earthy and edgy voice gave a good beat to her best known songs like "Rated X", "Don't Come Home a-Drinkin' (With Lovin' On Your Mind)" and "The Pill". Crystal, meanwhile is best known for her Country/Pop crossover ballads she introduced to the world in the late 70s and 80s. The two sisters have never sounded so different. Ther two sisters are also products of their time. In the 1960s, a deep- rooted twang still was important to Country music. Crystal on the other hand came into Country Music when it was going towards a more Pop-oriented sound, showing off such glam-oriented stars as Lynn Anderson and Barbara Mandrell. There was no doubt then, that Crystal would end becoming the complete opposite of what her sister was like in the 60s.

Crystal Gayle had a very different upbringing than did her sister. She was born in Paintsville, Kentucky but grew up in Wabash, Indiana, which is two hours southeast of Chicago. Here, Gayle was raised in a suburban environment, completley the opposite of Lynn's upbringing in the rural Butcher Holler, Kentucky. In Indiana, she Gayle was also exposed to various genres of music, which help explains Gayle's unique vocal sound. In the mid-60s, Gayle went on tour with Lynn, which helped her land her first recording contract with Decca Records in 1970. That same year, she released her first single, entitled "I've Cried the Blue Right Out of My Eyes", which was also composed by her big sister. However, the single didn't gain initial success. This was probably due to the fact, Gayle didn't really have her own sound, in fact in her earlier recordings she sounded more like that of Emmylou Harris than she sounded Lynn Anderson. With the help of producer and songwriter Allen Reynolds, Gayle was able to find her real voice. He also wrote her early singles, which included her first #1 in 1976 called "I'll Get Over You", which brought her initial stardom in Country music. She also had a couple Top Tens around this time like "Somebody Loves You" and "Wrong Road Again".

Her fourth album, We Must Believe in Magic (released in 1977) brought her to a wide audience. Fuelled by the worldwide hit single "Don't It Make My Brown Eyes Blue" (written by Richard Leigh), which reached number one on the U.S. country music charts, but also was a number two pop single, the album became a best seller, the first by a female Country Artist to reach platinum status. She won a Grammy Award for Best Female Country Vocal Performance for the single. Richard Leigh also received a Grammy award for the song. The song made Crystal Gayle a household name. In 1977 and 1978 she was chosen the Country Music Association's "Female Vocalist of the Year." She also toured with Kenny Rogers in Britain. Gayle has also been selling out the crowds world-wide on her own as well, in addition to a trip to China with Bob Hope where she became the first person to tape a performance on the Great Wall of China. She has appeared in her own specials on CBS, to critical acclaim and very high ratings, which led to her "Christmas in Sweden" special, as well.

However, Crystal Gayle's career was far from over. After the success of "Don't It Make My Brown Eyes Blue", Gayle and her producer never looked back. For the next decade or so, Gayle went more and more towards Pop, eventually gaining the success her other glam-oriented counterpart singers had also received. She continued to hit the Country and Pop charts again and again throughout the late 70s and well into the 80s. In 1978, Gayle got her second #1 hit with "Ready For the Times to Get Better". She had a couple of other crossover hits that became big Top Ten and Top Twenty Pop hits, first starting with "Talking In Your Sleep" in 1978. Other crossover hits include "Half the Way" and "You and I", which was a duet hit with Eddie Rabbitt in 1982. In 1979, she switched to Columbia Records and released the album Miss the Mississippie that same year from Columbia. This album included the big hits "Cold Shoulder" and "It's Like We Never Said Goodbye".

In 1982, Crystal worked with Tom Waits on the soundtrack for Francis Ford Coppola the movie One From the Heart. Crystal Gayle remained very successful, well until 1988, when her string of #1s and Top Tens finally dried out. In her whole career, Crystal Gayle scored an miraculous 18 #1 hits. Her success is probably compared to none other than her sister, who also scored many #1s as well as Crystal did. Her last major hit on the Country charts was "Only Love Can Save Me Now" in 1988.

Gayle continues to record and perform, packing halls from Louisville to Leningrad. In 1987, she guest-starred on the soap opera Another World; she played herself (a friend of the character Felicia Gallant) and was menaced by a serial killer known as the "Sin Stalker". She sang a duet with Gary Morris both on the show and at the 1987 Daytime Emmy Awards. From October 1987 until March 1996, her duet was the theme song for the serial. She also guest-starred on Second City TV in 1983 and acted in a comic sendup of A Star is Born.

One of Gayle's most cherished awards came in October 2000, when the Cherokee Nation bestowed upon her their highest award, the Cherokee Medal of Honor. On June 9, 2005, she took the stage at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee for a live reprise of her cross-over smash hit, "You and I," a duet she had recorded with Eddie Rabbitt. That song had been named the number 7 all-time best/favorite Country Music Duet during a countdown and concert that listed the "Top 100 Greatest Country Duets" of all time.

Gayle's admitted her "heartbeat" is her family. She married her high school sweetheart, Bill Gatzimos, shortly after graduating high school. The couple has two children, Catherine and Cris, and one grandson, Elijah. Gayle's family resides in Nashville, where she also has her own specialty store, "Crystal's for Fine Gifts and Jewelry."

A new Crystal Gayle in Concert DVD was taped in Nashville on June 9, 2005 released later that year.

In 2006, she appeared on an episode of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition when she stopped by to help with the making of a new house near Nashville.

Gayle remains extremely popular and maintains a very hectic and full concert tour schedule, with dates already booked well into 2007.

See a video of Crystal Gayle performing her 1977 hit song "When I Dream". Click Here.
Artist information courtesy of their Wikipedia entry, which is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
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