Charlene (born Charlene Marilynn D’Angelo on June 1, 1950 in Hollywood, California) is a female pop singer who started her music career in the 70’s, but it wasn’t until the 80’s that she became known as a “one-hit wonder.”
When Charlene was 18 years old, she was a contestant in the Chuck Berry-produced tv show “Miss Dream Girl.” In 1973 at the age of 23, Charlene signed to Motown Records under the name “Charlene Duncan.”
She released her first single “All That Love Went to Waste” in 1974 which failed to make any impact on the charts, but the song was featured in the movie “A Touch of Class” and she performed on the Golden Globes special with Dionne Warwick.
Three years later in 1977, Charlene released her first album and the single, “It Ain’t Easy Coming Down” on Motown’s Prodigal Records label.
The release was credited to Charlene, but an album issued the same month had “Charlene Duncan” printed on the spine (but confusingly, it was titled “Charlene”). “It Ain’t Easy Coming Down” managed to peak at #97 on the Billboard Hot 100.
During that same year, Charlene released her second album, “Songs of Love” which was a repackaging of Charlene’s song, “I’ve Never Been to Me.” The song peaked at #97 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Another single, “Freddie” peaked at #96 on the Billboard Hot 100. Charlene released one more single in 1980 before being dropped from Motown.
In 1982, Tampa, Florida DJ Scott Shannon (who worked at WRBQ [Q105]) started playing “I’ve Never Been to Me.” By that time, Charlene had moved to England and was working in a candy shop in Illford, East London and started a family with her husband\producer, Larry Duncan.
The song’s re-release received positive feedback from audiences. “I’ve Never Been to Me” peaked at #3 on the Billboard Hot 100, #7 on Billboard’s Adult Contemporary chart, and #60 on Billboard’s Country Singles chart.
The song topped the charts in Canada, Australia, Germany, Holland, Italy, Denmark, and Japan.
In the song’s music video, Charlene wore the wedding dress that she was married in. Due to the success of “I’ve Never Been to Me,” Motown Records signed Charlene to a new record contract and she started work on her new album.
Two years later in 1984, Charlene released her last album on Motown “Hit & Run Lover.”
At the time, Motown tried to revamp Charlene’s image in order to appeal new fans and she was featured in the 1985 film, “The Last Dragon” along with labelmates Vanity and DeBarge. Charlene’s song, “Fire” was featured on the movie’s soundtrack.
Even though the movie was able to improve some of the other musicians’ notoriety, it didn’t work out too well for Charlene. The following year, Charlene was dropped from Motown, but Charlene performed “I’ve Never Been to Me” at the “Motown 25” concert. After that, Charlene focused on her family and church.
In 1994, “I’ve Never Been to Me” was featured in the movie “The Adventures of Priscilla: Queen of the Desert” which not only gave the song some newfound fame, it also gave Charlene icon status in the gay community.
In 2001, Charlene became a member of the National Academy of Arts & Science for her songwriting with the NBC soap opera, “Passions.” A song Charlene co-wrote, “I See Myself In You” was in consideration for the Olympic Games.
In 2003, Charlene completed work on a new album, “Time Stands Still” which features her classic and new songs. “I’ve Never Been to Me” was featured on the Vh1 special, “100 Greatest One-Hit Wonders” where it peaked at #75 on the countdown. The song has also been
In the fall of 2004, Charlene completed a UK tour with Kiki Dee. Today, Charlene has been working on new music and writing books.
To see Charlene’s official website, go to:
To see the music video for “I’ve Never Been to Me,” go to:
To see a fan-made video for “It Ain’t Easy Comin’ Down,” go to:
To see a fan-made video for “Used to Be,” go to:
To see the music video for “Fire,” go to: