It pays to know the artist first
Janie Fricke was one of the most popular female country singers of the ’80s. She went racking up an enviable string of hits and proving herself a versatile vocalist with a particular flair for ballads. Fricke was born in South Whitney, IN, in 1952 and learned piano and guitar as a child. Her first vocal influences were folkies like Joan Baez and Judy Collins, but she fell in love with country music as well.
During college, she sang commercial jingles for a Memphis radio station and moved to Nashville in 1975, where she quickly became an in-demand session vocalist. She got her first major exposure in 1976 when producer Billy Sherrill teamed her with Johnny Duncan for a set of duets that included “Joe and the Cowboy,” “Stranger,” and “Thinkin’ of a Rendezvous,” the latter of which went to number one on the country charts.
Let’s start talking about it
“Let’s Stop Talkin’ About It” was one of two songs written in the course of a week by Rory Bourke, Rafe VanHoy, and Deborah Allen, in their first trial as a songwriting trio.
Had Bourke done things his way, “Let’s Stop Talkin’ About It” might never have been written in the first place. The idea initially came from him, but it became apparent immediately that the song didn’t fit the traditional country mold. But it was the early 1980s after all, so this really didn’t matter.
“Progressive” country was big at that time which was just before the dawn of the “Neo-traditionalist” movement took hold in ’86 with the surge of Randy Travis’ career. In their long-time writing partnership, VanHoy and Allen generally leaned more toward “progressive” with their material anyway.
Three tunesmiths’ collaboration
As the three tunesmiths were working on “Let’s Stop Talkin’ About It,” Bourke became uncomfortable with the project. He thought that if the song turned out too pop-sounding, they might have a difficult time getting it placed. Deborah believed the title was a bona fide winner and wanted to keep at it, but Rory thought they were wasting their time.
Deborah recorded both “Let’s Stop Talkin’ About It” and “Baby I Lied” under a contract with Capitol Records. The label released neither and dropped her from their roster.
How the song went to Janie Frickie
Producer Bob Montgomery was impressed with “Baby I Lied” and tried to obtain the rights to record it. However, Allen had a deal cooking with RCA and was holding on to the song (RCA eventually purchased Capitol’s master and released it).
Montgomery did manage to wrangle “Let’s Stop Talkin’ About It” away from Deborah. He lined it up for Janie Fricke and her version reached the top of Billboard’s country singles chart. On March 31, 1984, it marked Janie’s fifth of her seven solo number ones. She also had four more chart-topping singles as duets. One with Merle Haggard, one with Charlie Rich and two with Johnny Duncan.
So that was the journey of this another favorite country song. In the end, we can say that things will find their way if they are meant to be yours. So fellas, got some songs (traditional country music, please!) that you want to be featured? Connect with us on our Facebook page, Instagram, or Twitter Account.
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