blatantly bad 70s songs: i’ve never been to me (charlene)

cheaterpants, cheaterpants, i know! originally released in 1977, it didn’t become a monster hit until 1982. and still, it’s here, nestled among the 70s freaks, as i feel it’s the ultimate 1970s trainwreck of a song, and, by gum, it’s the ultimate assault on the ears.

let’s break down this lovely song, shall we?

Hey lady, you lady, cursing at your life
You’re a discontented mother and a regimented wife
I’ve no doubt you dream about the things you’ll never do
But, I wish someone had talked to me
Like I wanna talk to you…..

yeah, cos i’m about to rub in all the insane things i’ve had the chance to do while you spent your 20s or 30s barefoot and pregnant with that boring guy with the 9-to-5 down at the hardware store. hang on to your milk of magnesia, sister, cos your life really blows in comparison.

Oh, I’ve been to Georgia and California and anywhere I could run
I took the hand of a preacher man and we made love in the sun
But I ran out of places and friendly faces because I had to be free
I’ve been to paradise but I’ve never been to me

remember that miniseries, thornbirds? yeah, that was me, and sheee-yit, i was hot. only the guy wanted to get married. what a bourgeois bore. i made like a priest and got the hell out of there. pity. those religious sorts are the freakiest, i tell ya.

Please lady, please lady, don’t just walk away
‘Cause I have this need to tell you why I’m all alone today
I can see so much of me still living in your eyes
Won’t you share a part of a weary heart that has lived million lies….

wait. i’m not done belittling you yet.

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

have you been to europe? oh, it’s lovely. the mediterranean is just delightful during the warmer seasons. and i’ve gotten men to buy me all sorts of things. designer clothes. fine wines. amazing times. oh, sure, i had to compromise a little and go out with some of the old, rich farts, but still. they are so grateful, you know?

Hey, you know what paradise is?
It’s a lie, a fantasy we create about people and places as we’d like them to be
But you know what truth is?
It’s that little baby you’re holding, it’s that man you fought with this morning
The same one you’re going to make love with tonight
That’s truth, that’s love……

oh, i’m sorry. did i upset you while regaling you with my glamorous life? really, your life is good, too. i hear your husband is up for promotion as assistant clerk at the hardware store. that’s really great. uh, really great.

oh. you’ve got baby spit on your shoulder.

Sometimes I’ve been to crying for unborn children that might have made me complete
But I took the sweet life, I never knew I’d be bitter from the sweet
I’ve spent my life exploring the subtle whoring that costs too much to be free
Hey lady……
I’ve been to paradise, (I’ve been to paradise)
But I’ve never been to me

yeah, i could have chosen your path, but i’m just not cut out for that daily grind of normalcy. oh sure, i am sorry i don’t have kids, i’m sorry i don’t have a steady paycheck mealticket, er, husband. Dog forbid i go out and support myself. why do that when there’s an army of men out there who can do it for me. of course, i’m not getting any younger…

(I’ve been to Georgia and California, and anywhere I could run)
I’ve been to paradise, never been to me
(I’ve been to Nice and the isle of Greece while I’ve sipped champagne on a yacht)
I’ve been to paradise, never been to me
(I’ve been to cryin’ for unborn children that might have made me complete)
I’ve been to paradise, never been to me
(I’ve been to Georgia and California, and anywhere I could run)
I’ve been to paradise, never been to me

damn. i think it’s time i looked into plastic surgery.


15 Responses to “blatantly bad 70s songs: i’ve never been to me (charlene)”

  1. THANK YOU! I feel so much better now that you’ve recognized THE worst song of the ’70s.
    I actually heard this song done in Karaoke. You have not seen the depths of human pitifulness until you’ve heard a gal sing “…made love in the sun.” Ewwww

  2. I see many romance novels and cats. Lots and lots of cats in her future.

  3. Oh, come on! How can you not love Hugo Weaving singing this in drag? Are you made of stone? Paul Anka singing “You’re Having My Baby” is WAY worse than Charlene.

    Just yesterday, Dash asked me, “Can I watch that movie about those boys on the bus who dress like ladies?”

  4. oh, ye of little faith. it is coming. (you’re) having my baby is probably tied with this one.

  5. Hmm, maybe all songs that reference having babies are the worst song ever. Just a thought.

  6. Dang, I was just typing a version of what Monkeyrotica wrote, then noticed he already wrote it.

    I will add that Monkey does a fabulous version of this song (fabulous, meaning hilariously, breathtakingly awful and wonderful). You just have to get him drunk. Can we arrange to videotape him singing, “I’ve Never Been to Me,” “Hotel California,” and “Jet Song” from West Side Story? Please? OMG, that would be awesome.

  7. I like to think this was written from the POV of a delusional, toothless bag lady. makes it more bearable.

  8. Oh my word!! Agreed. Worst Song Ever. Sung by the worst singer ever – trying to hit those high notes? Ouch!! She breathed the song more than she really sang it. AAACK! My ears…you are, I think, even more evil for bringing this back to my memory!! OTOH, your commentary in between is classic and spot on.

    And Paul Anka is just a skosh better than this.

  9. I agree with Suz – this song is even worse when heard Karaoke. Sad. So sad. The seventies really were a bipolar decade.

  10. You, wreke, are a musical succubus. You are planting lethal earworms of the worst songs ever. I can’t stop myself from listening. Maybe you’re not really demonic … maybe you’re more like a bowl of pistachios: salty and irresistible.

  11. lets agree on one thing,surviving the 70s was bad enough.i bet no dog would lay her now.if you doubt it,buy a mirror,thats why u should have had a baby,just to obscure the sexual scara at least!

  12. anti-wreke Says:

    I Love this song! Why do some people think every song have to be a masterpiece to enjoy it. This song has a great hook and even if the lines are ridiculous, I don’t take them seriously. The people who do are a bunch of tight asses who can’t think for themselves. Many of the same people who criticize the song probably chow down at McDonalds. So stop with the hate.
    Enjoy the music and the silliness of the lyrics for what they are. Good times!

    • toni toni toni Says:

      I think it is only a woman could understand this song so if you are not a woman i doubt you will get it ! The men who laugh at this are probably the ones who get left in the middle of the night by their wife wake up !

  13. I fine its a beautiful sentimental song. Although its well before my time, I love this kind of melody and she sang very well. I have seen lot of girl who loved to live in a wild lifestyle and end up getting old and lonely. But some got married too early and feel like they miss their glory time…. SO… MEANINGS… Go out travel, paint the town red, (if u been stripped by the King so what.. its your luck anyway),meet soulmate, settle down, make family… life complete… retire…. die happily… Thats the cycle of life…. P.S. SMILE..

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