Every #1 Country Single of the Eighties: Crystal Gayle, “Turning Away”

“Turning Away”

Crystal Gayle

Written by Tim Krekel

Radio & Records

#1 (1 week)

August 24, 1984


#1 (1 week)

September 29, 1984

“Turning Away” is a cool little rockabilly number that is accentuated by sprightly brass instrumentation.

It’s not surprising to me that it became a sizable pop hit in England after Gayle had a hit with it, thanks to throwback pop star Shakin’ Stevens.  Gayle’s vocal brings some twang to the party, which she isn’t usually known for.  Maybe she felt the need to give it some Nashville warmth.

It’s a catchy and fun listen, though it sounds like a frothy confection compared to the string of substantive and thoughtful hits that preceded it.  Consider it a light dessert that follows the hearty meals she’s been delivering up until this point.

We’ll see Gayle again with a Gary Morris collaboration, as well as with her final solo No. 1 hit shortly afterward.

“Turning Away” gets a B.  

Every No. 1 Single of the Eighties

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  1. Crystal Gayle has been one of the revelations of this series for me. Previously I really only knew a couple of her songs and really underestimated how strong her catalogue is.

  2. I knew the first time I listened to Cage The Songbird that Turning Away would be a single. It stood out on an album that was full of stand out songs. Not saying it was the best song, but it had a sound that was unlike any song Gayle had recorded before.

    It’s almost impossible not to tap your toes when you hear it. It was a big radio hit for Crystal. I still wish her previous hit, I Don’t Wanna Lose Your Love, had topped the chart – it peaked at #2 – because it was one of her best ballads of the 80s.

    Bowen would co-produce one more album for Gayle but unfortunately she did not release any of his songs. She would have 3 more number one hits before radio dropped her for new country. But what an amazing ride she had with incredible songs.

  3. Like Andrew, this feature has led me to re-discover Crystal Gayle’s catalog of hits from the 1980s, as well as the 70s. And I agree, it is mostly exquisite stuff. But I must admit, I don’t remember this song AT ALL, and I was an avid listener of country radio during this time. IMHO, your “B” grade may be a slight bit generous here, particularly in light of the “B” you just assigned to George Strait’s instantly-recognized classic, “Let’s Fall to Pieces Together.” Still, I do appreciate all of the work and interesting commentary you are putting into this series, whether I concur with your grades or not. Thank you! (And mad respects to the under-lauded little sister of Loretta Lynn, Crystal Gayle!!)

  4. I am firmly in line with those who have thrilled at rediscovering how talented and special Crystal Gayle is as an artist, so hugely influential.

    This song is wonderfully free and loose with those horns and ringing guitars.

    This is Gayle’s 14th number one hit.

    This one is just fun.

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