Loretta Lynn with Crystal Gayle, the newest member of the Grand Ole Opry. Photo by Chris Hollo.
Grammy-winning songstress Crystal Gayle was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry Saturday evening at the Ryman Auditorium by her sister and Opry legend, Loretta Lynn. Gayle made her Opry debut 50 years ago on the Ryman stage, singing the country classic Ribbon of Darkness at age 16. She had been publicly invited to join the Opry by fellow member Carrie Underwood in November.
“We’ve been together a long time, honey. And we’ve never had a fight,” Loretta Lynn said. “It was the greatest moment of my life when they made me a member of the Grand Ole Opry in 1962. I know she is just as happy as I was then.” “Being a member of the Opry is just incredible,” Crystal Gayle beamed. “It’s really hard to comprehend. I have felt like a part of the Opry for all these years. Now, I’m official.”
Loretta Lynn inducting her sister, Crystal Gayle, into the Grand Ole Opry on January 21, 2017. Photo by Chris Hollo.
Crystal Gayle is an award-winning country music icon whose reign in the music business includes 20 No. 1 country hits, six albums certified Gold by the RIAA and the first female artist in country music history to reach platinum sales with her 1977 album, We Must Believe in Magic. Her her 1977 country-pop crossover hit song, Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue, became an iconic staple and solidified her as one of the top female vocalists during the 1970s and 1980s. Her 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 today admits she has never grown tired of singing. Crystal swept the Academy of Country Music Awards for three of their “Top Female Vocalist” statuettes.
Crystal is the recipient of three “American Music Awards,” voted by the nation as America’s “Favorite Female Artist.” Perhaps nothing sums up Crystal’s career achievements as well as being awarded with a star on the fabled Hollywood Walk of Fame in October 2009. 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 also has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame near Lynn’s star. In 2008, Crystal Gayle was inducted into the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame.
In August 2016, the Academy of Country Music honored Crystal with the Cliffie Stone Pioneer Award during the 10th Annual ACM Honors.
Jessica Blankenship is the owner and founder of Kentucky Country Music website. The Berea College graduate has been a music journalist and historian for over 20 years. She enjoys providing concert photography, reviews, historical articles, red carpet event coverage, and exclusive interviews of your favorite musicians. Jessica is proud to be a Kentucky Colonel and alumni of the FFA and 4-H Clubs. In 2018, she was named one of Laurel County’s Ten Under 40 Award Recipients. In 2019, she was a member of the Inaugural class of BRIGHT Kentucky as part of Leadership Kentucky. She has been featured on the Kentucky Music Preview podcast, Hollercast podcast, Overtones radio show, WFKY Nashville News Roundup, KET, and more. Beyond music, she enjoys traveling, helping her community, collecting gnomes, and Volkswagens.