Every #1 Country Single of the Eighties: Janie Fricke, “Tell Me a Lie”

“Tell Me a Lie”

Janie Fricke

Written by Mickey Buckins and Barbara Wyrick

Radio & Records

#1 (1 week)

December 2, 1983


#1 (1 week)

December 10, 1983

It’s pretty rare for an artist to launch a new album with a track from their previous set, but Janie Fricke pulled it off.

Serving as the final single from It Ain’t Easy and the lead single from Love Lies, Fricke’s cover of Sami Jo’s top thirty pop hit “Tell Me a Lie” is a great example of how Fricke was a vital bridge between the country victim queens of the sixties and seventies and the more liberated and independent female artists of the eighties and beyond.

“Tell Me a Lie” is all about a woman who very much wants to be a one night stand, but societal norms still frowned upon saying that so boldly, despite such seminal records as “Help Me Make it Through the Night” and “It’s All Wrong But It’s All Right” starting to challenge that. 

What makes “Tell Me a Lie” so interesting is that there isn’t any moral handwringing on Fricke’s part.  She wants to hear these lies as an excuse to do something she already wants to do, and there’s no indication that she has any qualms about it.

But it sure would be easier for her if he made it look like she was taken advantage of, because after all, she can’t just come right out and say she wants a one night stand, too. Fricke’s vocal makes that explicitly clear.  She may shed a tear or two when he goes, but she retains all of her agency here.  She knew what she was getting herself into, and it was worth it. 

We’re still a few decades away from “One Night Standards.”  But we don’t get there without records like this one, which is Fricke’s most compelling chart topper yet.

“Tell Me a Lie” gets an A

Every No. 1 Single of the Eighties

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  1. Probably Janies best vocal as far as singles go other than Always Have Alwsys Will. Love the song and the live performances on YouTube are even better than the actual release.

  2. Although i enjoyed Frickie on the radio as a kid, never gave her music much thought once radio had moved on from her.

    This feature has highlighted what an important link she is between the past and future generations of female singers right up until today.

    I do love this performance and am grateful to have rediscovered such an amazing country vocalist.

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