Billboard #1s for the Week Ending March 6, 1982

This week’s Time Capsule!

Chart

Song

Act

Weeks

Hot 100 Centerfold J. Geils Band

5

R & B That Girl Stevie Wonder

3

Country You’re the Best Break This Old Heart Ever Had Ed Bruce

1

dult Contemporary Through the Years Kenny Rogers

1

Rock I Love Rock ‘N Roll Joan Jett and the Blackhearts

5

Album Beauty and the Beat The Go-Go’s

1

This week sees an omnipresent 80s hit debut on the Hot 100 for the second (and more successful) time. Charlene was signed to Motown in 1973 where she release a debut album as Charlene Duncan. Her second album credited her both with and without her surname; neither album was particularly successful. She spent a total of ten weeks on the Hot 100 with three songs that peaked at #97, #96, and #97. That third song, however, was destined for more. I’ve Never Been To Me was released in 1977 in a shortened single version (peaking at #97). Frustrated with her lack of success, Charlene moved to the UK. While she was working in an English sweet shop, a Tampa DJ began playing the album version of the song (which includes the spoken bridge missing from the original single). This time it caught on. It entered the Hot 100 for a second run this week, starting at #84. Twelve weeks later it landed at #3, where it sat for three weeks, earning the #38 ranking for the year. Despite its pop success the song is roundly criticized on many fronts. A number of lines are outmoded and anti-woman (“I’ve seen some things a woman ain’t supposed to see”). The music and delivery are shockingly treacly, landing the song on many lists of “worst hits ever.” Charlene only had one more hit, the #46 Used to Be with Stevie Wonder; its horrific “the world is bad” nostalgia also landed it on some worst lists. (In fact, Jimmy Guterman’s 1991 book, The Worst Rock’n’Roll Records of All Time, has them at #3 and #4.) Despite its mixed reception, the song’s recognizable nature has landed it in many movies (including a great opening scene in The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert) and resulted in over a dozen covers in multiple languages.

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About Robert Hulshof-Schmidt
Freelance writer, researcher, online comic vendor, and project manager. Fan of a wide range of music -- especially folk and 80s pop -- vintage comics, British TV, and LGBT fiction.

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