October 23

Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue’s Secret

Crystal Gayle, the country-pop crossover hitmaker of “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue”, does not have brown eyes. However, it surely turned green as her hit was the only million-selling single she had. The country-pop track stayed at the top of Billboard’s Country chart for a whole month. Also, it reached #2 on Billboard’s Hot 100 Pop chart. In the 20th century, it is considered as one of the most-performed songs.

The Beautiful Gayle Live

Composer Richard Leigh wrote the lyrics of “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue”. His other pieces were also Crystal Gayle’s previous Top Ten Hot Country Songs. The third song, “I’ll Get Over You” was one that made it to the top. Leigh had high hopes of making his next songs a success but his expectations fell short. Because of this, he fell into depression. Sandy Mason Theoret, a friend and Leigh’s landlady, called Crystal Gayle’s producer Allen Reynolds. Mason asked him to visit Leigh for support and inspiration. Reynolds agreed, and he went there with Crystal Gayle. In the end, the three had a jamming session. Reynolds shared what transpired.

     “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 brought to mind 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”.

Reynolds finally arranged the musical with powerhouse musicians, Hargus Robbins and Cocharan. To their recollection, the session was just magical because the recording was easy and it flowed smoothly.

Leigh got something good from a bad situation. The inspiration was from his dog, which had one brown eye and one blue eye because of its cataract.


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