Every #1 Country Single of the Eighties: Janie Fricke, “Your Heart’s Not in it”

“Your Heart’s Not in it”

Janie Fricke

Written by Michael Garvin, Bucky Jones, and Tom Shapiro


#1 (1 week)

December 1, 1984

 Janie Fricke returns to familiar lyrical territory with “Your Heart’s Not in it.”

She’s lonely, and she has a man willing to keep her company for the night, but she knows he’s only after her body and not her heart.  Her voice aches and breaks on the verses, where she’s mostly accompanied by a piano. 

She gets a little overwhelmed by intrusive backing vocalists and unnecessary strings on the chorus.  It’s remarkable how much better she sounds on the chorus lines that let both of those elements go quiet and we can hear her more clearly.

Fricke’s at her best when she’s unadorned, so the production undermines her a bit here.  When it’s just her and the piano, she’s at her best here. 

We won’t see Fricke in 1985, when one of her most enduring hits – “She’s Single Again” – stalled out at No. 2.  

She’ll be back in 1986 with her final No. 1 hit to date. 

“Your Heart’s Not in it” gets a B

Every No. 1 Single of the Eighties

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  1. I think Janie if very underrated. She was great with the sad songs. Kind of a bridge between Tammy Wynette and then later Reba McEntire. It’s an opinion of course, but no one will be able to match the emotion in a song better than Tammy Wynette

    • I think that’s a good connection. I have a greater appreciation for her version of Pam’s “One of Those Things” after hearing her No. 1 hits and reading more about her for this feature.

      You put into words what I was hearing: that bridge between Wynette and the nineties ladies, which I think Reba gets the lion’s share of the credit for building. Fricke was more important than I realized.

  2. I dont undetstand why after 86 country radio stopped playing Janie completely other than ageism. Some of her finest songs and singles were on her final 3 album for Columbia. I know the new traditionalist movement was in full force but she had changed her sound and it fit in with what radio was offering. It’s a shame she didn’t have a few more good years before they decided to set her and most everyone from the late 70s and early 80s out to pasture.

  3. This hit has a wisdom and self-awareness to it that is special. I think Fricke sounds great throughout the entire song.

    This feature has highlighted how influential Fricke, Anne Murray, and Crystal Gayle were for the nineties ladies. The depth of their musical output gives the lie to another ’80s’ narrative that the decade’s female stars were not role models, or inspirations, for the female stars of the nineties.

    Increasingly, it looks as though the industry reset for ’90s country, born of the 1986 new traditionalist renaissance, was as rooted in simply wanting to market country music to a younger audience more than any surfeit of country music bona fides in the older stars of the ’80s.

    I am developing a finer appreciation for what a raw deal so many older and established stars got when they were pushed aside for the younger generation.

    At the time, the emergence of new artists felt exciting because I was also a younger listener just as Travis, Yoakam, and Earle hit the scene. With some hindsight and context, however, what happened to stars like Fricke and so many others just seems cruel, heartless, and unnecessary.

    Many ’80s stars could easily have found room at the growing country music table, and easily joined the “new” musical conversation, had there only been an invitation and enough chairs to keep them.

    I guess that’s what the “old farts” were all lamenting at the time.

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