The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum will reveal a spotlight exhibit honoring Crystal Gayle on May 2, 2014. Crystal Gayle: When I Dream will feature fashion, awards, letters, family photos and more from her groundbreaking career and run through November 3, 2014.
On May 3, Crystal will be on hand to participate in a special program, Concert and Conversation: Crystal Gayle. The presentation in the museum’s Ford Theater will be hosted by Curatorial Director Mick Buck, and include an interview with Crystal as well as a performance. The program will begin at 2:30 p.m. and is included as part of museum admission. It will also be streamed live on the museum’s website.
Crystal Gayle: When I Dream will chronicle Crystal’s rise to stardom. She began as a young dreamer but was nearly pigeonholed by the success of her older sister, Loretta Lynn. Determined to make her own mark, Crystal became a vocalist whose glamour and pop-infused hits became her signature style.
The youngest of eight children, Crystal was born Brenda Gail Webb on January 9, 1951, in Paintsville, Kentucky. As the coal mines closed, her family left the area to find work and moved to Wabash, Indiana. As a child, she watched Loretta’s success while dreaming of finding her own place in the musical world. While in high school, she performed regionally and got a taste of life on the road by touring with Loretta and joining her onstage. Before graduating, she signed her first contract with Decca Records and was asked to change her name because one of her musical heroes, Brenda Lee, was also on the label. Her adopted stage name, “Crystal,” was suggested by Loretta as the two drove by a Krystal’s restaurant.
In 1974, signed to United Artists Records, she began to work with producer Allen Reynolds. Later that year, she scored her first Top 10 hit with “Wrong Road Again.” Her first No. 1, “I’ll Get Over You,” followed two years later, along with “You Never Miss A Real Good Thing (Till He Says Goodbye).” In 1977, she became a household name when “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue” topped the country charts for four weeks and climbed the pop charts around the world.
Crystal scored 15 additional Billboard No. 1 hits between 1978 and 1987, including “Talking in Your Sleep” and “It’s Like We Never Said Goodbye.” In 1978, her album We Must Believe in Magic was certified platinum, making her country music’s first female artist to sell one million units. She also had success singing duets, including chart-topping hits with Eddie Rabbitt and Gary Morris. She won back-to-back female vocalist honors from the Academy of Country Music in 1976 and 1977 and from the Country Music Association in 1977 and 1978.
Among the artifacts on display in Crystal Gayle: When I Dream will be a hand-stitched valentine she made in the third grade for her mother, her custom white microphone, with her name engraved in gold, a red parlor guitar, custom built for Crystal, photos of teenaged Crystal and her sisters Loretta Lynn and Peggy Sue that hung on their mother’s living room wall and much more.
Spotlight exhibits supplement themes or aspects of the museum’s core exhibition, Sing Me Back Home: A Journey Through Country Music. These short-term, informal displays either provide a closer look at a particular person, group or aspect of country music, or spotlight recently donated items or special anniversaries. For more information on the museum, visit the official website of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.