1982 Chalene – I’ve Never Been To Me
Charlene Marilynn Oliver was born in Hollywood. When she turned 23, Motown Records signed her to a recording contract. She recorded two singles in 1973 that failed to chart. A few years later she finished her first album, and they released the song It Ain’t Easy Comin’ Down as a single. The record spent three weeks on the charts, but only climbed up to #96. Another song on the album, I’ve Never Been To Me, was not turned into a single; that version of the song included a spoken word bridge in the middle of the record.
They released a second version of her album a year later with one song replacing another and a strange change: they removed the spoken word bridge in the middle of I’ve Never Been To Me, resulting in a version of the song that was about 15 seconds shorter. The new edit of the song became a single, but it fared slightly worse than the first try; the single only made it to #97 on the Hot 100 and #23 on the Adult Contemporary chart.
Disc Jockey Scott Shannon was busy creating the morning zoo radio format at WRBQ-FM in 1982, a format that was copied many, many times at a multitude of radio stations across the country. His girlfriend encouraged Scott to play I’ve Never Been To Me on his show, apparently playing it from the first album. Listener response sufficed to get the record put into rotation. Motown Records eventually re-released the record as well, this time using the original, uncut version of the song. This time the record reached #3 in the Hot 100 and #7 on the AC chart. It also hit #1 in several countries.
Motown subsequently tried re-releasing It Ain’t Easy Comin’ Down, but this time the record failed to even dent the charts. Charlene recorded four more albums and released the single Used To Be, a duet with Stevie Wonder, but the record only made it up to #46 on the Hot 100, and she never charted again.
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