“Don’t Worry ’bout Me Baby”
Written by Deborah Allen, Bruce Channel, and Kieran Kane
#1 (1 week)
July 10, 1982
Janie Fricke first topped the charts in 1978 as a duet partner for Charlie Rich. In 1982, she earned her first of many solo No. 1 hits.
Fricke had first made her mark as a background vocalist, as part of the Lea Jane Singers. It’s estimated she sang on as many as 5,000 records in the seventies, including hits by Elvis Presley and Johnny Duncan. Her work on Duncan’s records caught the attention of Columbia Records, who courted her for a solo deal. Fricke was hesitant to become a lead singer, but she eventually signed with the label.
Transitioning from background to lead vocalist is tricky, and it took some time for Fricke to fully find her own voice. Her solo career took off slowly with a series of top forty singles in the late seventies and early eighties. She finally earned her first solo top five hits with “Down to My Last Broken Heart,” “I’ll Need Someone to Hold Me (When I Cry),” and “Do Me With Love.”
That last hit was the lead single from her 1982 album Sleeping With Your Memory, and the album’s second release became her first solo No. 1 single.
“Don’t Worry ’bout Me Baby” is a perfect example of the style that made Fricke a leading female vocalist of the decade, melding the confidence of a more worldly eighties lady with the countrypolitan production that so many male acts had found success with at the time.
There’s something sweet and fragile about Fricke’s vocals here, which suggests that she’s overstating the likelihood that she’ll be fine if this second attempt with her lover ends as poorly as their first go around did.
It was enough to earn her the first of two CMA Female Vocalist of the Year awards only a few weeks after this song topped the chart.
“Don’t Worry ’bout Me Baby” gets a B+.
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