Back in the early 80s, I used to hear this ballad by singer Charlene on the radio titled "I've Never Been To Me" all the time. I couldn't figure out what that non-sequitur title was all about but would later realize that the song had the theme of "the grass being greener on the other side of the fence" as a worldly and world-weary woman advised a discouraged ordinary wife and mother about the jet-set life not being all that it is cracked up to be. For the longest time, I had assumed that "I've Never Been To Me" was the theme song for a 1982 movie starring Phoebe Cates called "Paradise"...most likely because the word "paradise" was in the Ron Miller and Kenneth Hirsch lyrics. But apparently such was not the case.
What surprised me even more was that "I've Never Been To Me" wasn't an 80s song. Actually it had been released in 1977. It didn't make any sort of a dent on the charts and basically disappeared. But somehow, it was re-released in 1982 and became a huge hit for Charlene, albeit a one-hit wonder sort of hit. It even topped the charts here in Canada which would explain the heavy rotation on the radio. I guess timing is everything.
Cue ahead a few years. I bought a compilation album on audiotape of Japanese music at Wah Yueh and dutifully put it into the tape recorder. The second track sounded awfully familiar despite the title being "Love Is All: Ai wo Kikasete" (Let Me Hear Your Love). As it turned out, it was a cover version of "I've Never Been To Me" by singer Megumi Shiina（椎名恵）that came out in November 1986. I thought at the time that the arrangement and Shiina's vocals were so similar to the original song and Charlene that it sounded like the latter artist learned Japanese and headed to a Tokyo recording studio.
In fact, it was Shiina's 4th single which became the theme song for a Japanese historical drama on TBS. The lyrics by Keiko Aso（麻生圭子）were completely different in meaning from the original version; the Japanese words were just about love instead of leading that exciting but ultimately empty life. Unfortunately, I couldn't find out how it did on Oricon. Basically speaking, this is the only song by Shiina that I know, so it was a revelation when I read Marcos V's article on one of her more uptempo tunes.
|Love of yakiniku is all!|