Janie Fricke was one of the most popular female country singers of the '80s, 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. Sherrill signed Fricke as a solo act, and produced her 1977 debut single, "What're You Doing Tonight," which just missed the Top 20. Collaborations with Charlie Rich (the number one hit "On My Knees") and Duncan again (the Top Five "Come a Little Bit Closer") kept Fricke going strong through 1978, but her solo singles over the next couple of years had a hard time taking off. Sherrill advised her to establish an identity by focusing on one style, and Fricke began to record a generous selection of ballads.