Every #1 Country Single of the Eighties: Crystal Gayle, “Baby, What About You”

“Baby, What About You”

Crystal Gayle

Written by Josh Leo and Wendy Waldman

Radio & Records

#1 (1 week)

September 16, 1983


#1 (1 week)

September 24, 1983

Because some things are getting repetitive at this point of the series, let’s get the basics out of the way.

This is a record produced by Jimmy Bowen with Crystal Gayle as the lead singer, and both of them are at the top of their game here.  Gayle’s vocal floats beautifully over a clean and crisp pop country arrangement. She never sounded better than she did working with Bowen, and “Baby, What About You” is a perfect example of how simpatico they were.

What I really want to focus on here is this record’s fresh and distinctive point of view.  It’s such an interesting construct! A woman is being berated for falling in love with a guy who the chattering class thinks is just going to break her heart.  She quotes them liberally: “The girl’s headed for a heartbreak. She’s going down.” 

So she goes straight to the source, sharing their thoughts with the man she’s infatuated with, and simply asks, “Baby, what about you?”  

There’s an effective callback to the opening line (“Everybody thinks I’m crazy, it’s going around”) where she simply dismisses their condescension and goes for broke:

I don’t really think I’m crazy for taking my timeI’m just looking for the answers I’ve gotta findThey say it’s gonna be a long hard rideBaby, what about you? 

My takeaway is that the naysayers are wrong, even if this guy isn’t interested in her, because they’ve gotten her wrong.  She’s not crazy or self-destructive.  She just doesn’t want to spend her life wondering what might have been, if only she’d had the courage to follow her convictions.

I’ll share my own conviction here: Crystal Gayle’s work during this time period is up there with the best of the women of the nineties. 

“Baby, What About You” gets an A. 

Every No. 1 Single of the Eighties

Previous: Charley Pride, “Night Games” |

Next: Ronnie Milsap, “Don’t You Know How Much I Love You”

Open in Spotify


  1. Jimmy Bowen was not only a great producer for Crystal, he found great songs for her to record as well, including this one.

    This was the first time Crystal had achieved three number one country hits from the same album. She was hotter than a firecracker at this time.

    She also seemed to be having fun. Bowen definitely was the producer she needed at this time and the two were having major success.

    A definite A for me as well.

  2. …the voice, the songs – and not least the looks. it would have taken another big meteorite impact to stop her from becoming a big star.

    rural america seemed to kinda have been in the mood for dancing that summer of 83. charley pride’s “night games” was a rather neat disco number. john conlee’s “i’m only in it for the love” had a good dance rhythm too – not to mention johnny lee’s or the oak ridge boy’s latest chart toppers. even strait’s early beauty “a fire i can’t put out” might have done the trick on those dance floors at high school reunions in smaller towns that year. it ain’t always the lyrics…

    by the way, interesting and spot on oberservation regarding the hag link in your comment to george strait’s wonderfully classic hit, kevin. never heard it under that premise before, but you’ve got a point there.

  3. Gayle continues to be consistently excellent and confident.

    This is one of my favourites of hers. The slight instrumental delay or hesitation at the beginning of each verse is brilliant. It perfectly captures somebody working up the courage to speak their truth.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.