Every No. 1 Country Single of the Eighties: Crystal Gayle, “Too Many Lovers”

“Too Many Lovers”

Crystal Gayle

Written by Sam Hogin, Ted Lindsay, and Mark True


#1 (1 week)

August 8, 1981

After grazing the top twenty with “Take it Easy,” the second single from These Days, Crystal Gayle released “Too Many Lovers,” which gave the album its title.

At the time, Gayle wanted to change the song’s title straight out, feeling it misrepresented the song’s content.  I’m not sure I agree with that, but it made no difference in the end, as it became her final No. 1 hit from her brief stint on Columbia Records.

“Too Many Lovers” is clever and sophisticated, doling out an indictment on the impermanence of love affairs in then-modern times:

Games and lies, lies and games
Made up faces with counterfeit names
Too many lovers
Not enough love these days

Each night, all night
At night it’s a brand new dance
That love, your love, true love is bound to change  

The arrangement borrows elements from both rock and soul, which coaxes a fiery performance from Gayle.  She’s an artist who isn’t given much credit for how much she pushed the sound of country music forward, and this is one of the better examples of that.

Her third and final album for Columbia was released next.  Hollywood, Tennessee produced the top five hits “The Woman in Me” and “You Never Gave Up On Me,” as well as the top ten hit “Livin’ in These Troubled Times.”

We’ll see Gayle again with her stunning debut single for Elektra, which pairs her with songwriter Rodney Crowell and producer Jimmy Bowen.

“Too Many Lovers” gets a B+.

Every No. 1 Single of the Eighties

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  1. I regret not having anything beyond the one “Greatest Hits” eight track cassette of her music as a kid.

    This feature has certainly heightened my appreciation for what Gayle did for country music in the ’80s. It’s great to hear songs like this again with new ears given she doesn’t receive a ton of play on satellite radio beyond her biggest hits.

    I hear her influence is so many female ’90’s singers, yet I don’t recall her name being mentioned often as inspiring them. This could well be a failing of my memory.

  2. I purchased These Days back when it came out. Too Many Lovers was definitely the stand-out track on the album.

    Producer Allen Reynolds did an amazing job with the arrangement and the band was excellent. Crystal sang her heart out on this one. One of her greatest uptempo songs.

    Co-writer Mark True also wrote Gayle’s hit Why Have You Left The One You Left Me For. He’s quite a great lyricist.

  3. I remember falling in love with this song the first time I heard it back in 2004. I had really only heard the UA and WB singles to that point. The instrumental on this track got in my head and I’ve loved it since! An A for me for sure.

  4. Another song of Crystal’s that has echoes of the first time I heard it on a compilation album. Very memorable and some hooks that really stuck with me. Good song, one of her better if not the best of hers.

  5. My silly self hears this song structure and pictures Taylor Swift singing it. Maybe I’m just losing my mind, but it just clicks to me. Not that that’s a bad thing. This song is such an earworm.

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