Janie Fricke

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Janie Fricke
Janie Fricke.jpg
Background information
Birth nameJanie Marie Fricke
Born(1947-12-19) December 19, 1947 (age 66)
OriginSouth Whitley, Indiana, U.S.
GenresCountry pop
OccupationsSinger
InstrumentsVocals, guitar
Years active1977–present
LabelsColumbia Records
Branson Records
JMF Records
Smith Music Records
DM Records
Associated actsCharlie Rich, Johnny Duncan, Merle Haggard, Larry Gatlin, Louise Mandrell, Barbara Mandrell, Karen Taylor-Good
WebsiteOfficial Site
 
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Janie Fricke
Janie Fricke.jpg
Background information
Birth nameJanie Marie Fricke
Born(1947-12-19) December 19, 1947 (age 66)
OriginSouth Whitley, Indiana, U.S.
GenresCountry pop
OccupationsSinger
InstrumentsVocals, guitar
Years active1977–present
LabelsColumbia Records
Branson Records
JMF Records
Smith Music Records
DM Records
Associated actsCharlie Rich, Johnny Duncan, Merle Haggard, Larry Gatlin, Louise Mandrell, Barbara Mandrell, Karen Taylor-Good
WebsiteOfficial Site

Janie Marie Fricke (born December 19, 1947 in South Whitley, Indiana), also known as Janie Frickie,[1] is an American country music singer, best remembered for a series of country music hits in the early- to mid-1980s.

Fricke was one of the most popular female country singers of the 1980s, producing a string of hits and proving herself a versatile vocalist with a particular flair for ballads.[2] She won the Country Music Association's "Female Vocalist of the Year" awards in 1982 and 1983.

Early life[edit]

Childhood and teen years[edit]

Fricke was born in South Whitley, Indiana, in 1947 and learned piano and guitar as a child; her first vocal influences were folk artists like Joan Baez and Judy Collins.[3] Despite growing up in a musical family and spending much of her childhood singing at home, school, and church, her parents encouraged her to continue her formal education for a "respectable" career. While studying for her bachelor's degree in elementary education at Indiana University, she was a member of the Singing Hoosiers. Responding to an audition posted on the bulletin board at practice, she was thrilled to get a job singing commercial jingles and station breaks. Still, her parents insisted that she return to school to finish her degree, which she did and then headed to California to pursue a career. Returning to Nashville, she signed with the Lea Jane Singers and the rest is history.[4]

Career discovery[edit]

In 1975, Fricke moved to Nashville, Tennessee, where she became an in-demand background vocalist. Fricke sang background for other Country music singers at the time, including Crystal Gayle, Ronnie Milsap, Lynn Anderson, Tanya Tucker, Conway Twitty, and Eddie Rabbitt. However, it was her work as background vocalist on several recordings by Johnny Duncan that first brought Fricke to national attention. After supplying uncredited background vocals for such Duncan hits as "Jo and the Cowboy," "Thinkin' of a Rendezvous", "It Couldn't Have Been Any Better", and "Stranger," she was finally rewarded when she was given equal billing with Duncan on a single entitled "Come a Little Bit Closer." It was likely her contribution to Duncan's number one hit "Stranger" in 1977 that generated the most interest. In that song, Fricke sang the line, "Shut out the light and lead me....".[5] People soon began to speculate who was the mysterious singer singing those words in Duncan's song. Because of this, Fricke was able to gain a recording contract of her own from Columbia Records, where she remained for over ten years, starting in 1977.

Country music career[edit]

===1977 – 1980: Country beginnings=Janie teamed up with "Heart City Band" and her 1977 debut single, "What're You Doing Tonight," just missed the Top 20. Collaborations with Charlie Rich (the number one hit "On My Knees") and Duncan (the Top Five "Come a Little Bit Closer") kept Fricke going strong through 1978, but her solo singles over the next couple of years had a hard time taking off.[6] Fricke did have two Top 20 hits between 1978 and 1979, "Please Help Me I'm Falling (In Love With You)", which reached No. 12 and "I'll Love Away Your Troubles for Awhile", which peaked at No. 14. However, Country radio still failed to regularly play her material, and because of this most of her other singles did not chart very high between 1978 and 1981. She also was a part of the Louise Mandrell special "Diamonds, Gold and Platinum" 1983. Among other TV specials.

During this time, Fricke had already released three studio albums, starting in 1977 with her debut album, Singer of Songs. The album produced her first three singles, "What're You Doing Tonight?", "Please Help Me I'm Fallin' (In Love With You)", and "Baby's It's You". In 1979 Fricke released her second and third studio albums, Love Notes and From the Heart. Only Love Notes produced one Top 20 hit. None of Fricke's albums at this time had charted yet on Billboard's Top Country Albums chart.

1981–1989: Breakthrough success[edit]

In late 1980, Fricke's producer, Billy Sherrill noticed Fricke's limited success and realized the issue could be changed. Sherrill advised her to establish an identity by focusing on one style, and Fricke began to record ballads. As a result, Fricke had a breakout year in 1981, when she landed two Top Five hits with "Down to My Last Broken Heart" and "I'll Need Someone to Hold Me (When I Cry)." [7] Fricke had her breakthrough success over 1982–1984, when she scored six number-one hits — "Don't Worry 'Bout Me Baby", "It Ain't Easy Bein' Easy", "Tell Me a Lie", "He's a Heartache", Let's Stop Talkin' About It", and "Your Heart's Not In It." [7] Three of Fricke's No. 1s were spawned from her 1982 album, It Ain't Easy which became a successful-selling album. In 1983, Fricke toured with "Heart City Band" and Alabama.

By this time, she'd broadened her style to include more up-tempo tracks as well.[7] In 1982 and 1983, Fricke was awarded "Female Vocalist of the Year" from the Country Music Association. In 1983, Fricke also released her next studio album, Love Lies, which peaked at No. 10 on the Top Country Albums chart. The album spawned a No. 1 single, "Let's Stop Talkin' About It" and a Top 10, "If the Fall Don't Get You". In 1984, Fricke released her next album, First Word in Memory. The lead single, "Your Heart's Not In It" was a No. 1 hit in 1984, followed by the title track, which became a Top 10 hit the same year. In the 80s, Fricke also played one of the criminals, Ginny, who hid loot in the dash of a getaway car that was to become the "General Lee" in the Dukes of Hazzard episode "Happy Birthday, General Lee", Episode 131.

Her 1985 album, Somebody Else's Fire peaked at No. 21 on the Top Country Albums chart, and yielded three top ten hits. Fricke was featured on Merle Haggard's 1985 single, "A Place to Fall Apart" which became a No. 1 hit. In 1986, Fricke released her next album, Black & White. The album included her last No. 1 hit, "Always Have, Always Will", as well as her last Top 20 hit, "When a Woman Cries", which peaked at No. 20 in 1986.

Annoyed by mispronunciations of her name, she changed the spelling to "Frickie" in 1986, but a few years later, reverted to the original spelling.

As neo-traditional country music artists began to become popular in 1987, including Patty Loveless and Randy Travis, the country-pop–styled music Fricke had been recording since the early part of the decade was no longer in style on country radio. Fricke's success began to decline. She recorded a Top 25 hit with Larry Gatlin called "From Time to Time (It Sure Feels Like Love Again)", released on Gatlin's 1987 Partners album. Fricke's 1987 album, After Midnight released one Top 40 country hit, "Are You Satisfied", which peaked at No. 32. The other singles from the album did not peak within the Top 40. In 1988, Fricke's Saddle in the Wind album peaked at No. 64 on the Top Country Albums chart. After 1989's Labor of Love album, Fricke and Columbia records parted ways. Her last charted single was also released in 1989, "Give 'EM My Number", which peaked at No. 43 on the Billboard Country Chart.

1990 – present: Current music career[edit]

She recorded two albums for the small Branson label in 1992 and 1993, and issued the gospel record Hymns of Faith on Intersound in 1996.[8] Fricke's album Bouncin' Back was released in 2000 under her own label, JMF Records. She decided sell her album on the Internet exclusively. Fricke continues to tour extensively, but she sets aside time to spend with her family on her Texas ranch near Lancaster.[9] In 2004, Fricke released a bluegrass album under DM records, The Bluegrass Sessions. The tracks from the album were Fricke's previously recorded country hits recorded in bluegrass style for the album.

Fricke continues to be actively involved in the music industry today. In 2005, she attended the Country Music Association Awards. Fricke was the Firefighters' Marshal for Winchester, Virginia's "80th Annual Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival" in May, 2007.

Fricke performed for five hours at the Independence Day festival in Slidell, Louisiana, on July 4, 2013 to a crowd of over 8,000.

Philanthropic efforts[edit]

In 1985, Fricke established the "Janie Fricke Scholarship at Indiana University" to benefit gifted students in the School of Music. The scholarships are open to active members of the Singing Hoosiers vocal ensemble who demonstrate financial need.[10] Fricke has also participated in the "Country Music Hall of Fame Fundraising Campaign". Other artists who also support the project include, Big & Rich, Kenny Chesney, Kate Campbell, Amy Grant, James Otto, and Gretchen Wilson.

Awards[edit]

YearAward ProgramAward
1979Music City News CountryMost Promising Female Artist of the Year
1982Country Music Association AwardsFemale Vocalist of the Year
1983Female Vocalist of the Year
Academy of Country Music AwardsTop Female Vocalist
Music City News CountryFemale Artist of the Year
1984Female Artist of the Year

Grammy Nominations[edit]

YearAwardSongResult
1978Best Female Country Vocal PerformanceWhat're You Doin TonightNominated
1985Best Female Country Vocal PerformanceYour Heart's Not in ItNominated
1986Best Female Country Vocal PerformanceShe's Single AgainNominated

Discography[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Country Music Magazine Editors, The Comprehensive Country Music Encyclopedia (Times Books, 1994), p. 131: "later changed the spelling of her name to Frickie, since everyone mispronounced it anyway."
  2. ^ Janie Fricke at Allmusic
  3. ^ Janie Fricke biography at Allmusic; retrieved March 29, 2008
  4. ^ Janie Fricke biography at Musician Guide.com; also retrieved March 29, 2008
  5. ^ Janie Fricke biography at Musician Guide.com
  6. ^ Janie Fricke biography at Allmusic
  7. ^ a b c Janie Fricke biography at Allmusic.com
  8. ^ Janie Fricke biography at Allmusic; retrieved March 29, 2008.
  9. ^ Janie Fricke biography at Musician Guide.com
  10. ^ Janie Fricke biography at Musician Guide.com

External links[edit]