Crystal Gayle first started drawing attention in the 1960s as a backup singer for her big sister, Loretta Lynn. In 1970, she landed her own record deal, and over the next few years, began gradually forging her own identity away from Lynn. In 1975, she hit paydirt with her first top ten hit, Wrong Road Again, swiftly followed by the smash worldwide hit, Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue. Although her chart success dropped off in the ’90s, her legacy as one of the most successful crossover artists of the ’70s and ’80s is impossible to overestimate. Here’s our pick of the 10 best Crystal Gayle songs of all time.
10. Makin’ Up for Lost Time (The Dallas Lovers’ Song)
In 1985, Gayle kickstarted a two-year collaboration with singer Gary Morris with the duets album, What If We Fall in Love. The album, which rose to number 25 on the Top Country Albums chart, spawned a slew of hits, including Another World, which was subsequently used as the theme song for the soap opera of the same name, All of This and More, and Makin’ Up for Lost Time (The Dallas Lovers’ Song), a number one hit and the duo’s most successful release together.
9. If You Ever Change Your Mind
Transitioning from United Artists Records to Columbia in 1979 did nothing to loosen Gayle’s hold over the charts. The following August, she won her eighth number one on the country charts with the charming If You Ever Change Your Mind, a highlight of her top ten hit album, These Days. In addition to hanging around the country charts for ten weeks, the song also made it over to the Adult Contemporary chart, peaking at number 18.
8. You and I
In the early 1980s, country stars didn’t get much bigger than Eddie Rabbitt, an artist regularly compared to a “young Elvis Presley” who helped shape the sound of contemporary country with crossover hits like Suspicions and I Love a Rainy Day. In 1982, he and Crystal Gayle joined forces for the duet You and I. Considering both artists’ popularity at the time, it was almost bound to be a huge success. Released in October 1982 as the lead single from Rabbitt’s eighth studio album, Radio Romance, it became a massive country-pop crossover hit, taking the pair to number 1 on the Hot Country Songs chart, number 2 on the Adult Contemporary chart, and number 7 on the Billboard Hot 100.
7. Half the Way
After signing with Colombia in 1979, Gale continued her assault on the charts with Half the Way. Released as her first single with the label, the song’s up-tempo beat and gently rocking melody went down a storm with country fans, soft rock fans, and pop fans alike, resulting in a number 2 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, a number 9 on the Adult Contemporary chart, and a number 15 on the Billboard Hot 100. It also became a huge hit in Canada, taking Gayle to number 1 and number 2 on the country and adult contemporary charts respectively.
6. Ready for the Times to Get Better
The Allen Reynold penned song Ready for the Times to Get Better was first recorded by Marshall Chapman in 1977. A year later, Gayle took it for a spin on her top ten album, Crystal. Released as the album’s fourth single, it became one of her biggest crossover hits, reaching number 3 on the US Adult Contemporary Chart, number 1 on the Billboard Hot Country Single Chart, and number 52 on the Billboard Hot 100. It’s since been covered by various artists including Joe Sun. who reached number 43 on the Hot Country Singles chart with his version in 1980.
5. Wrong Road Again
After signing with Decca Records in 1970, Gayle began forging her own identity away from her sister, gradually moving further away from pure country towards a poppier style that would eventually turn her into one of the decade’s biggest crossover successes. In 1975, she earned her breakthrough with Wrong Road Again, her first top ten hit and the song that proved once and for all that there was far, far more to Crystal Gayle than a famous sister and floor-length hair.
4. This One’s From The Heart
Named as one of the best Crystal Gaye songs of all time by countryfancast.com, This One’s From The Heart was recorded alongside Tom Waits for the soundtrack to Francis Ford Coppola’s 1981 classic, “One From the Heart.” Described by All Music as one of the most beautifully wrought soundtrack collaborations in history, it’s exquisite, with Gayle’s clear, ringing vocals proving the perfect foil to Wait’s smoky baritone.
3. Why Have You Left The One You Left Me For
Written by Mark True and recorded for her fifth studio album, When I Dream, Why Have You Left The One You Left Me For added another chart-topper to Gayle’s collection. Released in October 1978 as the second single from the album, it flew to number one on the country chart and stayed there for the next two weeks. It also snagged the top spot on the Canadian country chart, and a top 40 hit on the US Billboard Easy Listening chart.
2. Talking In Your Sleep
As udiscovermusic.com notes, Crystal Gayle was in the form of her life when she dropped her fifth studio album When I Dream in June 1978. The album became her second consecutive number 2 on the US Billboard country charts, as well as her second to reach the UK charts, where it peaked at number 25. One of its chief highlights (and biggest hits), is Talking in Your Sleep. A pop-infused country number with a heart-stoppingly pretty vocal from Gayle, it reached number one on the US Country chart, number eighteen on the Hot 100 and number three on the Adult Contemporary chart.
1. Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue
Even if you’re not familiar with the rest of Gayle’s work, there’s a very good chance you’ve hummed along to Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue at least a few times in your life. Her signature song and most endearingly popular hit, it represents the pinnacle of her crossover success. Released in June 1977, it spent four weeks at the top of the country charts, two weeks at number one on the Cashbox Top 100, and two weeks at number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100. It’s since been covered by a slew of other artists, including Dolly Parton, Lorrae Desmond, and Laura Fygi.