Don't It Make My Brown Eyes Blue

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"Don't It Make My Brown Eyes Blue"
Single by Crystal Gayle
from the album We Must Believe in Magic
B-side All I Wanna Do in Life
Released 1977
Format 7"
Genre Country pop, Adult contemporary
Length 2:40
Label United Artists
Writer(s) Richard Leigh
Producer(s) Allen Reynolds
Certification Gold (RIAA)
Crystal Gayle singles chronology
"I'll Do It All Over Again"
(1977)
"Don't It Make My Brown Eyes Blue"
(1977)
"I've Cried (The Blue Right Out of My Eyes)"
(1977)

"Don't It Make My Brown Eyes Blue" is a song written by Richard Leigh, and recorded by American country music artist Crystal Gayle. It was released in 1977 as the first single from Gayle's album We Must Believe in Magic. Notable is that Gayle herself has blue eyes.

Background[edit]

"Don't It Make My Brown Eyes Blue" composer Richard Leigh had been responsible for all three of Crystal Gayle's previous Top Ten C&W hits, the third of which "I'll Get Over You" had reached number 1. According to Gayle's regular producer Allen Reynolds, he was advised by Leigh's landlady, songwriter Sandy Mason Theoret, that Leigh was "a little down in the dumps lately because nothing much [was] happening" after the success of "I'll Get Over You". At Theoret's suggestion, Reynolds visited Leigh to cheer him up. Reynolds explained, "we were sittin' on the floor...singing songs to one another. [Leigh] mentioned a song that his publisher was gonna get to Shirley Bassey...[and] sang it for me: 'Don't It Make My Brown Eyes Blue'. I said, 'Shirley Bassey my ass, I want that song!'" Reynolds recalls that when he played "Don't It Make My Brown Eyes Blue" for Gayle "she was just as excited [by the song] as I was."[1]

The track was recorded at Jack's Tracks in Nashville on October 27, 1976. As Reynolds' regular session keyboardist Charles Cochran had suffered a stroke with some resultant numbness in his hands, Reynolds hired Hargus "Pig" Robbins to play keyboards, and Robbins instantly devised the song's signature acoustic piano riff; Cochran was also featured on the session playing the horn parts on a Wurlitzer. Reynolds noted "it was just one of those charmed sessions...[After] we presented the song to the musicians...it was about the third time running [through] that song that we ran tape...[Gayle] sang [the song] wonderfully. It came so fast that she wasn't sure that she had done her best job. I had to let her try to sing it again on two or three different occasions until she was comfortable with the original [vocal take], and that's what we went with. Everything on that recording was the original take as it went down, except the string section I added later." [1]

In a 2004 Country Music Television interview, Gayle stated that Leigh wrote the song because his dog had one brown eye and one blue eye.

Reception[edit]

The song became a worldwide hit single. In the United States, it topped the Billboard country music chart and became Gayle's first, (and biggest), crossover pop hit, reaching number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 3 weeks, behind Debby Boone's smash hit, "You Light Up My Life". The album received Platinum status, the first by a female country singer. The song became Gayle's signature piece throughout her career. In 1978, the song won Gayle a Grammy Award for Best Female Country Vocal Performance. In 1999, the song was recognized by ASCAP as one of the ten most-performed songs of the 20th century. The song has a jazzy feel to it when compared to many other country songs of that era. Gayle had many more hit singles for the next ten years, such as "Talking in Your Sleep", "Half the Way" "You and I" (a duet with Eddie Rabbitt) and "I'll Get Over You", but none have achieved the same level of success as "Don't It Make My Brown Eyes Blue".

Cover versions[edit]

The song has been covered by Lorrae Desmond, Laura Fygi, Anita Meyer, the Nolans, Tessanne Chin, Alison Statton (aka Devine & Statton), Wendy Van Wanten, Georgia White and Dana Winner. Mireille Mathieu has recorded the song first in French as "Un peu de bleu" in 1977 then in German as "Tränen Würden Mir Nicht Stehn" in 1980, another French rendering "Mes yeux blues sont gris" was recorded by Michèle Torr, Matell, and a Cantonese version titled "你說是甜我說苦 (Your Words Are Sweet, Mine Are Bitter)" was recorded by Prudence Liew for her Jokingly Saying album.

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1977) Peak
position
U.S. Billboard Hot Country Songs 1
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 2
U.S. Billboard Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks 4
Canadian RPM Country Tracks 1
Canadian RPM Top Singles 1
Canadian RPM Adult Contemporary Tracks 1
Irish Singles Chart 4
UK Singles Chart 5
New Zealand Singles Chart 9
Dutch Top 40 10

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Kosser, Michael (2006). How Nashville Became Music City USA: 50 years of Music Row (1st ed.). Milwaukee WI: Hal Leonard Corporation. p. 272. ISBN 0-634-09806-3. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
"Way Down"
by Elvis Presley
Billboard Hot Country Singles
number-one single

August 27 – September 17, 1977
Succeeded by
"I've Already Loved You in My Mind"
by Conway Twitty
RPM Country Tracks
number-one single

September 24 – October 1, 1977
Succeeded by
"Christopher Mary"
by Burton & Honeyman
Preceded by
"Elite Hotel" (Emmylou Harris, 1977)
Best Female Country Vocal Performance
1978
Succeeded by
"Here You Come Again" (Dolly Parton, 1979)