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Janie Fricke Wiki/Bio
Janie Fricke, one of the most popular country singers from the 1980s, scored enviable hits and proved to be a versatile ballad-style vocalist. Fricke had a high, clear voice that showed surprising power and drama, and she was successful as a duet partner with Charlie Rich, Merle Haggard, and Johnny Duncan and her own singles. Although her most popular songs were rooted in country, her popular songs were also gifted and her personality could incorporate the contemporary adult sound into her recordings. Fricke’s final overview of his career is 2019’s It Ain’t Easy: The Complete Hits, I Need Someone to Hold Me In 1981 I cried was one of the strongest of her 80s albums and The Bluegrass sessions in 2004 was a lively acoustic session.
Janie Fricke was born on December 19, 1947 in South Whitney, Indiana, and grew up in a family of music lovers. She began singing in the church her family attended and first learned piano, then guitar, as a child. Her first vocal influences were folks such as Joan Baez and Judy Collins and thoughtful artists like Rita Coolidge and Dusty Springfield, who shared her repertoire at coffee-houses and at school events. Fricke went to Indiana University where she studied primary education and did not think that singing would be a viable career for her, even though she loved singing. However, when she joined the university chorals, the Singing Hoosiers, she saw a newsletter board announcement that she was looking for vocalists to record station breaks and commercial jingles for local radio stations.
Fricke found her suitable for her work and moved in time to record vocals for national ad campaigns, including a popular spot in the Red Lobster restaurant chain. After graduating from school in 1972, she moved to California but in 1975 moved to Nashville where she joined the Lea Jane Singers, which kept a busy schedule providing backup vocals. She also continued to do business and became one of Nashville’s most successful back-up vocalists, lending her voice to Elvis Presley, Conway Twitty, Tanya Tucker and Al Green studio sessions.
Fricke got her first major exposure in 1976, when producer Billy Sherrille teamed with her with Johnny Duncan. On his hit song ‘Stranger’ she had a memorables vocal cameo, and on his Top Five ‘Come a Little Bit Closer’ she moved to co-star the following year. Sherrill signed Columbia Records to Fricke as a solo act, and produced her first single in 1977, “What are You Doing Tonight,” that just missed the top 20. Fricke was strong through 1978 with Charlie Rich (the first hit, “On My Knees,” but she had trouble breaking into the Country Top Ten. Sherrill advised her to identify with one style and Fricke began recording a generous selection of ballads.
In 1980s her breakthrough was ‘Down to My Last Broken Heart,’ peaking at number two in Country charts, and between 1981 and 1986, she put 15 songs on Top Ten, seven of which went up to number one: ‘Don’t worry ‘Bout Me Baby,” ‘Ite Ain’t Easy Bein,’ ‘Tell Me a Lie,’ ‘He’s a Heartache,’ ‘Let’s Stop Talkin’ About It,’ ‘Your Heart’s not in Happen, In 1986 her most successful album Black and White, her first LP to reach the top of the country charts, was also released. But the second single on the album, “When a Woman Cries,” was at number 20 only, and was her last entry in the Country Top 40.
Following the release of her 1989 Labor of Love album, Fricke left Columbia Records and signed the Branson imprint of Intersound Records. Her first label release, Crossroads in 1992, was a collection of classic gospel tunes, and in the 1993s she found some of her older hits. Fricke launched her own JMF label, Bouncing Back in 2000, and released a live album, Live at Billy Bob’s Texas in 2002.
Fricke recorded an acoustic album, The Bluegrass Sessions 2004, which included both new recordings and interpretations of some of her hits. She revived her JMF imprint for the release of a 2008 Roses & Lace album of fresh material. Fricke concentrated on making her own fashion and home decoration brands in the 2010s, but returned with A Cowgirl Country Christmas, a self-released seasonal album, in 2020.
Janie Fricke Fan Mail address:
P.O. Box 798
Lancaster, TX 75146
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|House address (residence address)||South Whitley, Indiana, United States|
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