Every No. 1 Country Single of the Eighties: Crystal Gayle, “It’s Like We Never Said Goodbye”

“It’s Like We Never Said Goodbye”

Crystal Gayle

Written by Roger Greenaway and Geoff Stephens

Radio & Records

#1 (2 weeks)

April 4 – April 11, 1980


#1 (1 week)

April 19, 1980

Crystal Gayle had found major success on the country and pop charts throughout the seventies while recording for United Artists.  In 1979, she moved to Columbia Records.  The lead single from her first album for the label, Miss the Mississippi, was “Half the Way.” It went to No. 2 on the country charts and became her last big solo crossover single, going top ten AC and top fifteen on the Hot 100.

She entered the eighties with the second single from Miss the Mississippi, and it returned her to the top of the country charts.

“It’s Like We Never Said Goodbye” has production quite similar to “Half the Way,” with Gayle singing over a dramatic string section that heightens the impact of her typically understated vocal. Because Gayle was never a power singer, she could temper all of that drama going on behind her and keep her records grounded.

The song itself is well written, and Gayle effectively communicates a sense of wonder that her former lover is back and things feel like they did back then.  Her reserved delivery adds additional emotional shading to the lyric, conveying hints of disbelief and uncertainty through her performance, adding a complexity that wasn’t there on paper.

Gayle released one more single from Miss the Mississippi.  “The Blue Side” went top ten.  She’ll return later in 1980 with the lead single from her next album, These Days.

“It’s Like We Never Said Goodbye” gets a B+.

Every No. 1 Single of the Eighties

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  1. While Half The Way was the bigger hit and the only Crystal Gayle song my local classic country radio stations plays I’ve always found this song to be the best song released from this album. I love the emotion Crystal gives to the song and I’m a sucker for good strings and this song has them! Crystal deserves to be in the CMHOF and sooner rather than later. It’s a testament to her interpretive skills that she actually had more billboard number one hits than her sister.

  2. Being a die-hard Crystal Gayle fan, I will say that her Columbia years were my least favorite of her career. Even though Allen Reynolds remained her producer, her sound changed too much for these albums (Miss The Mississippi, These Days, and Hollywood Tennessee).

    However, I really loved It’s Like We Never Said Goodbye. It was a unique song that Crystal sang beautifully. She’s known for her ballads, which her voice is perfect for, but people tend to forget that she sang some really great uptempos as well (I’ll Do It All Over Again, Why Have You Left The One You Left Me For, Half The Way, Too Many Lovers, Our Love Is On The Faultline, Baby What About You, Turning Away, The Sound of Goodbye).

    She had an amazing career and I agree that she should be in the CMHOF. If you want to hear an incredible gem from this period of time, look up her rendition of Tanya Tucker’s Dancing The Night Away.

  3. I agree that Crystal Gayle belongs in the CMHOF but frankly her Columbia output mostly leaves me cold. I would give this a B or a B+ but other than “Half The Way” I regard her Columbia output as disposable pop.

  4. I absolutely adore this song! Crystal Gayle is one of my most favorite artists from the 70’s and 80’s. There’s just a certain elegance about her that I always found to be very charming, in her vocals, how she delivers her songs, and the material she mainly recorded (not to mention, in her appearance, as well). And while I really enjoy her 70’s music (especially, “Wrong Road Again,” “Ready For The Times To Get Better,” “I’ll Get Over You,” “Somebody Loves You,” and “I’ll Do It All Over Again”), I also love a lot her more contemporary 80’s material, and I’m truly looking forward to seeing many more of her songs in this feature!

    “It’s Just Like We Never Said Goodbye” is a perfect example of that elegance I mentioned above. I love the dramatic strings, the beautiful melody, and Crystal’s extremely charming and understated performance. It’s such a lovely song, overall, and it absolutely fits her like a glove. I consider it to be one of my top favorites of hers, personally.

    While this one came out well before my time, it always takes me back to the Fall of 1991 when it was actually still being played as a recurrent on our stations. I was lucky to get it on one of the tapes I recorded around that time, back when we were still living in our old house, and I was only six. It’s on a Sony UX 90 minute tape in which we also recorded my mom’s LP of the American Graffiti Soundtrack, and Crystal’s song wound up on the A-side of the tape. The country radio portion of that A-side includes: “Keep It Between The Lines” by Ricky Van Shelton, “Where Did I Go Wrong” by Steve Wariner, “It’s Like We Never Said Goodbye” by Crystal Gayle, “Still Burnin’ For You” by Rob Crosby, “That’s What Your Love Does To Me” by Holly Dunn, “Chill Of An Early Fall” by George Strait, “Woke Up In Love” by Exile, and just a teeny bit of Tanya Tucker’s “What Do I Do With Me.”

    That was one of my favorite tapes I made during that time, and I always loved playing it on the stereo downstairs. Whenever I hear this song, especially in the Fall, it just gives me a warm, comforting feeling, and it’s almost like I’m back in 1991 as a carefree six year old all over again, if only for a little bit. For some reason, my favorite lyric from it back then was always “A different bed, a different ceiling, but still that same old feeling.” Btw, that’s still one of my favorite tapes I love listening to today, as well! :)

    Anyway, I’m truly excited for this feature for the rest of the 80’s. I know I’m a bit late in commenting on some these songs, but I’m really loving it so far!

  5. Gayle sounded elegantly unique to my ears as a kid. I couldn’t then, and I still struggle to now, put a finger on what exactly sonically sets her apart. Even as a star, she seemed to exist on the margins of mainstream Nashville which doesn’t make much sense given her 18 #1 hits and multiple ACM and CMA female vocalist of the Year awards. There was dignity, a royalty about her. In the liner notes to a 2002 Rhino compilation of her best hits, Holly Gleason wrote, [Gayle is] a songstress who follows her musical heart…”

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