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I’ve Never Been to Me – Charlene

A common theme with one-hit wonders is that a song becomes a hit years after it was released. It happened with “More Than Just the Two of Us” by Sneaker. And it also happened with “I’ve Never Been to Me” by Charlene. People call these types of songs “sleeper hits” because their popularity comes as a complete surprise.

Don’t remember this song? If you grew up in the early 1980s, I’m pretty sure you do. Refresh your memory by listening to the song below.

“I’ve Never Been to Me” was initially released in 1976 and reached number 97 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. At that point, you figure a song’s chance for fame is finished. But not if legendary DJ Scott Shannon has anything to say about it. In 1982, Shannon started playing the song on his Tampa, Florida station and the song became a hit. A huge hit, actually, reaching #3 on the Billboard Hot 100. It also hit #1 in Australia in 1983 for six weeks.

If you’re a loyal Top One-Hit Wonders reader, you’ll realize Scott Shannon has struck twice reviving songs that were given up for dead. He also turned “Into the Night” by Benny Mardones into a two-time one-hit wonder. Impressive work, Scott.

Listen to “I’ve Never Been to Me” by Charlene

I've Never Been to Me

“I’ve Never Been to Me” is an ultra-sensitive ballad about one woman’s cosmopolitan lifestyle. She has lived and seen it all:

Oh, I’ve been to Nice and the isle of Greece
when I sipped champagne on a yacht
I moved like Harlow in Monte Carlo
and showed them what I’ve got
I’ve been undressed by kings
and I’ve seen some things that a woman ain’t s’pose to see
I’ve been to paradise but I’ve never been to me…

Charlene explains the meaning of life

Sadly, she doesn’t know herself. How do we know that for sure? The spoken section of the song tells it all. Yes, the spoken section. This song is so sincere it includes a spoken section about the meaning of life.

Hey, you know what paradise is?
It’s a lie
a fantasy we created about people and places
as we like them to be
but you know what truth is?
it’s that little baby you’re holding
and it’s that man you fought with this morning
the same one you are gonna make love to tonight
that’s truth that’s love

Sometimes I miss the I’m-in-touch-with-my-inner-child sensitivity of the 1970s.


Click to read the “I’ve Never Been to Me” lyrics

Written by

I'm an obsessive music collector, cataloger, commenter and trivia nut. Sometimes I'm even a listener. One-hit wonders have always been a guilty pleasure.

Filed under: 1980s, Pop · Tags: , , , , ,

2 Responses to "I’ve Never Been to Me – Charlene"

  1. tim says:

    Was going thru old vinyl the other night and found a decent version of this on In my eyes by Mary Macgregor around 1982. Sorry — but preferred her version even thought it was not a hit for her. She does not seem to be mentioned anywhere as doing the doing a cover of this. Guess it was not even a one hit wonder for her after Torn….

  2. Edmund says:

    And one other interesting fact about this single. On its second go-round, it was released on the Motown label.

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