“‘Til I Gain Control Again”
Written by Rodney Crowell
Radio & Records
#1 (1 week)
February 4, 1983
#1 (1 week)
February 12, 1983
Jimmy Bowen’s magic touch surfaces again as he collaborates with Crystal Gayle for the first time.
Let’s take a step back for a moment and acknowledge what a ballsy move it was to put this out as a single at all, let alone as the first single from a superstar artist on her new label.
“‘Til I Gain Control Again” is a brilliant composition from Rodney Crowell that had already been recorded beautifully by Emmylou Harris and by Crowell himself. Gayle’s commercial success and crossover hits were largely driven by her exceptional taste in material and her distinctive way of interpreting songs.
Her work here is among her finest moments on record, and the tasteful production smartly stays out of her way. This is such a deeply personal song and her performance captures the lyric’s intimacy and conflicting emotions. Her confidence in herself may be shaky, but her faith in her partner is steadfast, and that makes all of the difference.
What a beautiful start to her tenure on Elektra Records, which will produce the best music of her distinguished career.
“‘Til I Gain Control Again” gets an A.
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She didn’t want to record this at first but Bowen persuaded her to do it.
I didn’t know what to think of it at first. It sounded so different from anything she had recorded before. The line “like sunlight dancing on your skin” was a little stronger than Crystal’s usual lyrics. But the song is so beautifully written and she goes all in with that amazing voice.
Allen Reynolds help make her a star but Jimmy Bowen knew what to do with her in the 80s. Definitely some of her best material in her career came during this time.
And she never looked more beautiful than she did in this video.
Beautiful song. Just amazing. Possibly my favourite of Crystal’s.
Also, what makes this song work so well, in addition to Crystal’s amazing vocal, is that Bowen got Crowell to sing harmony on this cut. Crystal usually only had female singers backing her up but she and Rodney sound incredible together IMO.
Gayle is worthy of every superlative imaginable with this performance. She exists in some rarified artistic air of pure elegance and complete class.
It has been fun to see throughout this feature how Rodney Crowell has slowly been building a groundswell of mainstream awareness which would break with his “Diamonds & Dirt” album in 1988.
As a 14 year old, I always had the sense that Crowell exploded on the scene out of nowhere, almost like a five-hit wonder.
What do kids know?