“Piece of My Heart”
Written by Bert Berns and Jerry Ragovoy
#1 (1 week)
April 30, 1994
Radio & Records
#1 (1 week)
April 22, 1994
Faith Hill takes a rock and R&B classic to the top of the country chart.
The Road to No. 1
After topping the Billboard singles chart with her debut hit, “Wild One,” Faith Hill went one better and topped both singles charts with her cover of a sixties classic.
The No. 1
“Piece of My Heart” was a hit twice over in the sixties, first as an R&B hit for Erma Franklin, and then immortalized as a rock classic by Big Brother and the Holding Company, featuring Janis Joplin on lead vocals.
Co-writer Bert Berns had been pitching it as a country song in the early nineties, and that’s the version that Faith Hill heard and recorded. Much hullaballoo was made at the time that she’d never heard the Joplin version, but it’s worth noting that her sunny country cover of the hit isn’t too far off from the original Franklin arrangement.
I have no problem going to bat for this record. She sings it with gusto, and leans into the heartache of the lyric rather than leaning into its defiance. It works as a country hit, and pairs nicely with the youthful innocence that dominates Hill’s consistently good debut album.
I don’t think it’s quite as good as the other No. 1 hits from her first two albums, but I still enjoy it.
The Road From No. 1
After two No. 1 hits, Hill faltered at radio with the touching ballad, “But I Will,” which may have been a bit too slow-paced for country radio in 1994. After it missed the top thirty, Hill rebounded with a final No. 1 hit from Take Me As I Am, which we’ll cover soon.
“Piece of My Heart” gets a B.
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