Every #1 Country Single of the Eighties: Janie Fricke, “Don’t Worry ’bout Me Baby”

“Don’t Worry ’bout Me Baby”

Janie Fricke

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+.

Every No. 1 Single of the Eighties

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  1. …if you had to give american mainstream (in general) a female face at the time – kate jackson (charlie’s angels) and janie fricke would have fit the bill perfectly. always loved – and probably always will – the vocals of janie fricke. she was less glamourous than barbara mandrell, less antiseptic than anne murray and more metropolitan than young reba back then. countrypolitan in flesh and blood and perfection, i’d say. like emmylou harris, she was always lucky with her hairdressers.

  2. I only marginally knew Janie from recurrent plays from my childhood, mostly just the songs ” She’s Single Again” and “He’s A Heartache” . I discovered more hits in my early 20s from our country classics station. Before you knew it I was down the Janie rabbit hole and by 2010 owned all her albums on vinyl. I just love her voice and how she started as a background singer who made it to the big time when not many do! Out of her numbers ones this is probably my least favorite but that’s not saying much, because Id still big it a solid B!

    • Her material ramps up quickly! Fricke had great taste in songs. She culled from many strong songwriters, many of them female writers who would become successful as recording artists in their own right.

  3. I’m unable to be fully objective about Janie because she is simply my all time favourite purely country singer, even above Trisha Yearwood (equal to Trisha most days, but if I had to pick one it’d still be Janie) and only just below Olivia Newton-John who is my all time favourite in all genres. That said, I love this song and what it says. I’d agree on the grade you gave it. I also love her duets with Johnny Duncan.

  4. Janie Fricke really is “the” female voice of eighties singers to my ears. Her tone and twang, partnered so warmly with the countrypolitan production that has already been highlighted.

    Sounds silly, but I fell in love with her harmony singing on Merle Haggard’s hit “Natural High.”

    A classic and classy singer shines on this wonderfully languid performance.

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