Grammy-winning songstress Crystal Gayle was surprised during her Grand Ole Opry performance this evening by Opry member Carrie Underwood with an invitation to become an official Opry member. Gayle will be formally inducted into the Opry on Jan. 21, 2017 by her sister, Opry legend Loretta Lynn. Gayle made her Opry debut nearly 50 years ago on the Ryman Auditorium stage, singing the country classic “Ribbon of Darkness” at age 16.

Underwood surprised the sold-out Opry at the Ryman crowd by joining Gayle on the smash hit “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue.” Seconds after finishing the duet, Underwood turned to Gayle and said, “You are an inspiration to so many of us. You are important to country music, and you are important to the Opry, which is why I was asked tonight to ask you if you would like to join our Opry family officially.”

Accepting her friend’s invitation with a hug, Gayle said, “I have always felt like I was a member of the family and this is just so special.”

“For more than half of the Opry’s 91 years, Crystal Gayle has been lending her signature vocals to Opry shows and connecting with Opry audiences as well as with everyone backstage,” said Opry Vice President and General Manager Pete Fisher. “She is family, and we are very excited that she’ll become an official Opry member early next year.”

Tickets for Gayle’s Opry induction night and all upcoming Opry performances are available at opry.com.

About Crystal Gayle:
Crystal Gayle made her Opry debut when she performed in place of her Opry member sister Loretta Lynn who had been too ill make her scheduled appearance. To escape musical comparison to her hit-making sister, Gayle developed her own vocal and musical style. She had 20 No. 1 country singles, beginning with “I’ll Get Over You” and including her signature song, “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue.” That song earned her a Grammy for Best Female Country Vocal Performance and also made her album We Must Believe In Magic the first by a female country artist to go Platinum. She was awarded CMA Female Vocalist of the Year in 1977 and 1978, and the Academy of Country Music honored her with the same award in 1976, 1977 and 1979. Her chart successes include “Cry,” “Talking In Your Sleep,” “Why Have Left The One You Left Me For,” “Half The Way,” her duet with Eddie Rabbitt, “You And I,” and many more. In 2008, Gayle was inducted into the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame, and in 2009 she received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.