In 1982, Crystal Gayle recorded “Til I Gain Control Again” for her self-titled album.
The song quickly soared to the top spot of Billboard Hot Country Songs, where it stayed for one week and spent a total of twelve weeks. Her recording is also accompanied by a music video where Gayle can be seen stunningly singing the sad song with her gorgeous ankle-length hair that has become synonymous with her name.
Several Notable Artists Covered This Song
Written by Rodney Crowell, “Til I Gain Control Again” tells the tale of a woman who realizes that it’s already too late to plead for reconciliation but finds herself unable to let go. So, she no longer asks for promises or a future, but only for her lover to hold her now until she gains control once more– though she knows that despair will happen again.
“Like a lighthouse, you must stand alone. Landmark a sailor’s journey’s end. No matter what seas I’ve been sailing on. I’ll always roll your way again out on the road that lies before me now. There are some turns where I will spin. I only hope that you can hold me now til I can gain control again,” the song goes.
Looking back, Crowell expressed his regret at rhyming “been” with “can” in the second verse that goes: “What you’ve seen is what I’ve been. There is nothing I could hide from you. You see me better than I can.”
Crowell said that had he written “Til I Gain Control Again” later in his career, he would have spent more time finding a hard rhyme. Still, the songwriter marvels every time people tell him that it’s their favorite song of his.
He wrote this beautiful song about love and heartbreak while working for a publishing company owned by country singer Jerry Reed. During that time, Crowell was hanging out with notable songwriters Steve Runkle, Guy Clark, and Townes Van Zandt, which inspired him to build up his own songwriting skill.
Crowell recorded “Til I Gain Control Again” in 1981 on his self-titled album, but it was actually Emmylou Harris who recorded it first for her 1975 studio album Elite Hotel. Since then, several notable artists released their own version, such as Waylon Jennings, for his 1977 album, Ol’ Waylon.
Willie Nelson released his version too on his 1978 live album Willie and Family Live. In 2016, Alison Krauss recorded the song to be included on the tribute album to Harris called The Life & Songs of Emmylou Harris.
Indeed, there’s no sadder song about a love’s end. You can listen to “Til I Gain Control Again” in the video below.