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‘I’ve Never Been to Me’ by Charlene – Classic Hit or Miss

Charlene had recorded “I’ve Never Been to Me” in 1976 for her 1977 self-titled album release. Upon its September 1977 single release, “I’ve Never Been to Me” became Charlene’s third consecutive single to stall in the lowest part of the Hot 100 in Billboard following “It Ain’t Easy Coming Down” – also from the Charlene album – and Freddie whose respective Hot 100 peaks had been #97 and #96: the Hot 100 peak of “I’ve Never Been to Me” in its original release was #97

In 1982 Scott Shannon, a disc jockey at Tampa radio station WRBQ, began playing the “I’ve Never Been to Me” track off the Charlene album, and response from local listeners was such as to motivate Shannon, a former Motown employee, to alert Motown president Jay Lasker to the track’s hit potential. Lasker located Charlene who, discouraged by the poor performance of her 1977 Motown releases and by the label’s decision not to release a second album she had recorded, had left the music industry and met and married an Englishman, subsequently accompanying him to his native land and taking a job at a candy store in Ilford. Lasker located Charlene and personally telephoned her with the invitation to re-sign with Motown Records to facilitate the re-release of her “I’ve Never Been To Me” single, which was done – with the addition of a newly-recorded spoken word bridge – in the spring of 1982.

The Billboard Hot 100 dated March 6, 1982 showed “I’ve Never Been to Me” by Charlene debuting at #84 – thirteen notches higher than the peak of its 1977 original release – to ascend to the Top 40 in four weeks and subsequently rise as high as #3 on the Hot 100 dated May 22 1982. The track had even more chart impact internationally attaining #1 status in Australia and many others.

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