Crystal-Gayle

Legend of the Week: Crystal Gayle

Crystal Gayle (born Brenda Gail Webb on January 9, 1951) is an award-winning American country music singer. Best known for her 1977 country-pop crossover hit song, “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue“, she accumulated 20 number one country hits during the 1970s and 1980s (18 on Billboard and 2 on Cashbox) with six albums certified Gold by the RIAA. Crystal Gayle became the first female artist in country music history to reach Platinum sales with her 1977 album, We Must Believe in Magic. Also famous for her nearly floor-length hair, she was voted one of the 50 most beautiful people in the world by People Magazine in 1983. She is the younger sister (by 19 years) of singer Loretta Lynn, and a distant cousin of singer Patty Loveless. Gayle has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame near Loretta Lynn’s star. Gayle too is also known along with her sisters Peggy Sue and Loretta Lynn as the Coal Miner’s Daughter.

Life and career

Brenda Gail Webb was born in Paintsville, Kentucky, to Theodore Melvin “Ted” Webb (October 24, 1906 – February 23, 1959) and Clara Marie “Clary” Ramey (May 5, 1912 – November 24, 1981). The youngest of eight children of a poor family, she was the only child born in a hospital. Her family moved north to Wabash, Indiana, when she was four. She would sing along with country and pop songs on the radio; and, though a shy child, she was encouraged by her mother to sing for visitors to their house. Inspired by her sister Loretta Lynn‘s success, she learned to play the guitar and sing backup in her brothers’ folk band. While still in high school, she began to tour with her sister for a few weeks each summer.

After graduating from Wabash High School in 1970, Brenda Webb signed with Decca Records, her sister’s label. However, since there was already a singer named “Brenda Lee” with Decca Records, she was asked to change her first name. Loretta Lynn suggested the name “Crystal” after seeing a sign for the Krystal hamburger restaurant chain. Brenda Gail Webb thus became “Crystal Gayle”. She has been married since 1971 to Bill Gatzimos and they have two children.

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