The Ultimate 50
25. Crystal Gayle
The most recent "honor" for Crystal came from the Academy of Country Music in September. It celebrated a long and successful music career. And of course, her hair was still extra-long - although it was still pinned down, which seems to have become her everyday custom.
The Gayle website now includes a few videos of her songs. We were drawn to a 1995 tune called Someday where her unpinned hair is outside in a breeze. For most of the song, she leans and tilts masterfully to keep her locks in line, as you'd expect a Super-Hair veteran to do....
But near the end of the song, the drama is in more than the music! The wind brings a strip of hair up toward Crystal's right eye - even though she's leaning to her right, trying to prevent that!
The hair is still there, as Crystal comes up - yet the strip somehow goes around her eye! Super-Hair is escaping again - but for how long?
In the final seconds of the video, a larger section of long hair pushes toward Crystal's face! She turns to the left for protection - and the video's director wisely (for her) makes a very quick dissolve to the next shot.
Yet after the final note of the song, if you tune out or click away, you'll miss this shocking picture. Crystal lets a few strands blow into her right eye, officially bringing her tremendous hair to defeat.
Gayle has such a lengthy collection of songs that we admittedly never noticed this 1995 moment until our 2016 update. But one weak moment in a five-decade public career is still an incredible track record - and we still salute Gayle as the standard for all women to match and study, when it comes to going extra-long with their hair.
Times may change, but Crystal's classic long locks do not. This picture from her official Facebook page shows her backstage at the Grand Ole Opry. The hair is loose, but in no danger. But sadly, this is practically the only unpinned picture we've seen of Gayle in the last couple of years. She's playing it safe, even if Hair Fans wish she wouldn't.
The third time brought success for Crystal, when she was added to our Hair Fans' Hall of Fame in 2013. We can't prove it, but we think a fan club pushed her over the top. If you're a fan, your best sources for current pictures probably are Facebook (where we found this provocative cover photo) or the celebrity photo site Wireimage.
"It's just long," one skeptic wrote when Crystal became a two-time finalist for the Hair Fans' Hall of Fame in 2012. Those who have admired her extra-long locks for decades disagreed, saying she's "known for her hair first and her music second." Actually, these may be extreme views on both sides. Even above age 60, Crystal keeps her hair well-maintained - as in this picture from Nashville's Grand Ole Opry House in June, with straight hair kept in line apparently by a headband.
Crystal now has an official Facebook page, with current photos plus some previously-unseen historical shots. This one is dramatic because a wind is shoving her Super-Hair around. As with a few other pictures from years gone by, hair is at the brink of her eyes -- but still not in her eyes. To remain officially (as in publicly) undefeated after close to four decades with hair as long as hers is a true accomplishment.
Crystal received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in October 2009. She took no chances and pinned back her hair -- which seems to be her custom more and more, although one concert review in August 2010 noted her hair still stretches to her ankles.
A Hair Boutique article with more pictures from the ceremony dared to ask the question: is it time Crystal trimmed her extra-long locks? Some people apparently think so, because she fell short of induction to the Hair Fan's Hall of Fame in 2009.
A treasury of classic Gayle performances is now available on YouTube -- showing her hair in its prime, and sometimes at the brink of dropping in its eyes. She deceives you into thinking the style is in trouble, during this TV performance of Don't It Make My Brown Eyes Blue -- but a tilt back of her head is all it takes to create room around those eyes. If you find a clip with a slip, please let us know!
Here's the cover of a recent Gayle album -- and it still says almost all which needs to be said about her hair. It's still as endlessly long as ever. But it's also the only new unpinned picture we could find online, as she keeps things very secure in concerts nowadays.
We're pleased to report Wireimage now has a Gayle collection posted. And we were surprised to find some of the pictures go back more than three decades. This shot from 1975 is the closest we've found to her hair going out of line and collapsing in her eyes. But note how the ends still are behind Gayle's shoulders; it wouldn't take much more than a head and shoulder shake to restore the proper position. The legend of this extra-long look continues....
She still is on the concert circuit. Her hair is still legendarily long. But while new albums come out from time to time, Gayle doesn't seem to get out as much as she once did.
New pictures of Gayle's style were scarce for this update. And imagine our shock when we found Wireimage doesn't even list her -- in a collection of thousands of celebrities! Please, someone: find a TV comedy role for this woman -- it worked for Reba McEntire.
If you're looking for changes in Crystal's style, look high instead of low. This picture shows how she's occasionally toyed recently with moving her center-part, to a teased-over sidepart. This style seems even riskier -- but as long as it's securely behind the shoulders, the Gayle style remains remarkably undefeated.
We found this picture and others on a tribute site called Bellenet. We honestly believe the fan sites display Gayle's ultra-long locks better than her own site does.
Crystal says her fans expect long hair from her, so she continues to oblige. She doesn't seem to pin it back as much as she once did -- but the amazing control continues. If her locks have fallen, we have yet to see it.
A good history of "Gayle force" through the years can be found at a web site of one of her fans. We're most impressed by how well her hair stays put through windy situations.
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