Charlene, Songs Of Love, Prodigal P6-10018S1, 1977
It’s every now and then that you find something in a record bin that probably doesn’t belong there. Most people know Charlene from the syrupy 1982 hit single I’ve Never Been To Me, most likely from the drag queen lip-synched film version from 1994’s The Adventures Of Priscilla Queen Of The Desert. What isn’t commonly known is that the song pre-dates all of that, having come out in this flop of an album in 1977.
Back then the song had a long, spoken intro that no drag queen could be inspired to do. It was just a run of the mill 70s girl song, a factory version of introspection. When it became a hit five years later, it was almost a parody of the genre, which the movie solidified. Charlene herself had been dropped from her contract and was working in a shop in London when she had a surprise hit.
The amazing bit is, this was a Motown (!) record! Prodigal was the last attempt by the independent label to break into the pop market. Like V.I.P., Weed, and Melody, the label never made any inroads. When the single hit, Motown re-released an album with different songs and cover on the Motown label that sold much better. So, I’m really happy that I found this original copy, with the intro to the hit that I’d never heard before. And I’m glad I didn’t have to go to Nice or The Isle Of Greece to find it.
Cost: $2, $851 Remaining