I’ve Been To Paradise (But I’ve Never Been To Me)


I’m carbon dating myself when I tell you that I clearly remember Charlene’s 1982 hit I’ve Been To Paradise (but I’ve Never Been to Me). Over thirty years have passed since the stirring ballad raced up the Bill board charts but time has not diminished its impact or ability to irritate.  It remains a karaoke classic. Young whipper snappers may recognise it from elevators or the supermarket. (Another valid argument for online grocery shopping).

Charlene - the woman responsible for that bloody song.

Charlene – the woman responsible for that bloody song.

The song is a cautionary tale about a woman who misspends her youth tarting around the world having a bloody great time before Sex and The City made it cool. Sadly however she was too preoccupied with partying and forgot to have a baby. Barren in middle age our singer repents the error of her ways to an exhausted young Mum who probably just wants someone to watch the kids for five minutes so that she can visit the loo.

If it were me she were addressing , I’d imagine the song-versation going something like this;

Charlene: Hey lady, you, lady, cursin’ at your life
You’re a discontented mother and a regimented wife

Mumabs: Not so much with the regimented

Charlene: I’ve no doubt you dream about the things you never do

Mumabs: Sorry.. What were you saying? I was just thinking about an oversized hot tub full of bubbles and a bag of Violet Crumble.

Charlene: But I wish someone had a talk to me like I wanna talk to you

Mumabs: I cant do this without a coffee. Make mine a large skinny cap

Charlene: Ooh I’ve been to Georgia and California, and, anywhere I could run
Took the hand of a preacherman and we made love in the sun

Mumabs: I hope you used block out on your tender bits.

Charlene: 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

Mumabs: We’ll probably go to Surfers Paradise next year. Take the kids to the theme parks. Can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to it. I really cant.

Charlene: Please lady, please, lady, don’t just walk away
‘Cause I have this need to tell you why I’m all alone today

Mumabs: You know you really should try internet dating. So many nice divorcees out there.

Charlene: 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 a million lies
Oh I’ve been to Nice and the isle of Greece
Where I sipped champagne on a yacht

Champagne on a yacht - Moet no less.

Champagne on a yacht – Moet no less.

Mumabs: I’ve been to the Isle of Hamilton

Where I sipped Yellowglen on my brother-in-law’s yacht. Surely that rates?

Charlene: I moved like Harlow in Monte Carlo and showed ’em what I’ve got.

She moved like Harlow

She moved like Harlow

in Monte Carlo

in Monte Carlo

Mumabs: After two kids no one needs to see what I’ve got.

Charlene: I’ve been undressed by kings and I’ve seen some things

That a woman ain’t s’posed to see

Mumabs: Like King Wally Lewis? Or Kings of Leon? Hope it was Leon! Let it be Leon!

Kings of Leon beat King Wally Lewis

Kings of Leon beat

King Wallyb Lewis

King Wally Lewis

Charlene: I’ve been to paradise, but I’ve never been to me

Hey, you know what paradise is? It’s a lie

Mumabs: No Surfers is all too real.

We're going to Paradise.

We’re going to Paradise.

Charlene: 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, and 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

Mumabs: Unlikely I’ll see any action tonight. It’s Monday. Good Game is on TV.

Aint no business time when Good Game's on

Aint no business time when Good Game’s on

Charlene: Sometimes I’ve been to cryin’ for unborn children
That might have made me complete.

Mumabs: My two kids completed me and now I’m finished.

Charlene: But I, I took the sweet life and never knew I’d be bitter from the sweet
I spent my life exploring the subtle whoring that cost too much to be free

Mumabs: You could try unsubtle whoring. That’s my kind of whoring.

Unsubtle whoring

Unsubtle whoring

Charlene: Hey lady, I’ve been to paradise, but I’ve never been to me

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
(I’ve been to Nice and the isle of Greece
While I sipped champagne on a yacht)
I’ve been to paradise – never been to me
(I’ve been to cryin’ for unborn children )

Mumabs: (Singing) I’ve been to Hamilton Island and I’m going to Surfers Paradise next year.

What songs irritate the be-jeepers out of you?



PS: I hope this earworm gets stuck in your brain for the rest of the day

because I am evil.

because I am evil.

42 thoughts on “I’ve Been To Paradise (But I’ve Never Been To Me)

  1. BAHAHAHAHA this is brilliant and hilarious! Love it. The other song 80’s song that annoys the bejesus out of me is Total Eclipse Of The Heart. There is a really funny book of essays I have about the 52 Most Depressing Songs Of All Time and that one is in there. Surprised Charlene didn’t make the cut.

  2. Ha! Yep, I frackin loathe that song too. Pile of shite from start to finish. And oh that bit when she talks. Shudder. Much prefer your version 🙂

    My most hated song is probably “It’s a small world”. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=APmHR2bmQgw – Our ride got stuck at Disneyland with that frackin song on repeat, and all those little dancing dolls. Terrifying. I was getting ready to make a break for it, strap my elderly, invalid mother to my back and wade through the dodgy looking water when our boat finally moved. I still have dreams…

  3. TOO FUNNY Mumabs! Also, definitely agree with Ness on Total Eclipse of the Heart. I just wanted to shoot Bonnie Tyler and put her out of her misery. Further, I really hate when I have the misfortune to hear Goodbye Yellow Brick Road in a crappy shop or elevator and it gets stuck in my head all day or that Daniel song of Elton’s. I also have to say that I HATED Whitney Houston’s Greatest Love Of All the first time I ever heard it and loathed the filmclip where she sings to herself in the mirror. Unfortunately, I had a sister who was really into the song and it just caused so many probs at home. Oh and one more ballad that I abhored with a passion was Phil Collins’ Against the Odds.

    • Dear Lord. I am cringing at all of your suggestions. There’s something vomit inducing about an 80s power ballad. I actually dumped a boyfriend because he was into Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey. (That wasn’t the whole reason but it symbolized the underlying incompatibility).

      • You dumped him because he was gay, right?

      • Forgive the gross stereotypes but gays generally have better taste – Barbara Streisand, Bette Midler. I can dig that sort of thing. Meanwhile the next cab off the rank was into Peter Gabriel and Tears for Fears – it was an improvement. Dadabs is into Coldplay but I loves him anyway. No one is perfect.

  4. Not only are you evil, you are hilarious! And you are also catching up with me when you come to Paradise next year – FOR SURE. Nothing like a pity party for one huh Charlene 😉 x

  5. Oh wow, that song is hilarious! I just remember her wistful white dress (irony?) from the video. I’m not sure ANYONE has ever put this much thought into the lyrics. Here’s to unsubtle whoring!

  6. I have always been intrigued what the things are that a woman ain’t s’posed to see??? I have been so intrigued that I have never noticed that the song is actually a paean for having a child. Thank you for the education.

    Have also just noticed the startling resemblance between the Mumabulous logo, Jean Harlow and Hex from Good Game. Are you all related?

    • Yeh – I’m also intrigued by that line. If its good enough for a bloke to see why can’t a sheila cop an eyeful of it. Sadly while my logo might exude old Hollywood glamour the IRL is quite a different story.

  7. Hilarious Mumabs. Don’t you listen to that simpering , whingeing subtle whore (how do you subtly whoremonger anyways?!) and go run to paradise. I should probably be thankful I have no idea how bad this Charlene song actually is… I’m gonna sing your version to the tune of the choirboys’ version of Paradise instead.

  8. I hated that song as a kid – And you know what, I never even understood what it was about until NOW!!??!! And now cos of the comment above mine, I have Run to Paradise in my head….The brain is a mysterious thing!

  9. love this song… and now loving your little take on it! Brilliant ! x

  10. Ok. Now that right there is proof you need to enter the music industry (if you’re not in it already) jingle writers, score compilers look out. Ha ha ha – I love that your kids completed you and that you believe in sun block – you can tell from your lack of wrinkles. You are very clever ladeee.

  11. Tee Hee, I can actually handle this earworm, I have had worse. Much worse!
    I am so with you lady….try unsubtle whoring, that’s my kind of whoring.
    I think I got the best of both worlds (no I didn’t whore around the place nor been undressed by a King) but hell I’ve been all around the world and sometimes it was utter debauchery and now have a son. I’ve missed nothing. Too bad for her – was she barren or just left it too late?

  12. Oh boy, you are one funny laydee, you’ve just unleashed so many bad memories. I’m showing my age here but does anyone remember Toyah Wilcox? My first ever boyfriend had ‘i want to be free’ on repeat on a cassette. We were very young okay!

  13. Oh Brilliant! Laughing tears here. This is post of the year for me!

  14. Thankyou Mumabs, I had that song in my head ALL DAY yesterday, even the talking bit.

  15. This is fabulous, Mumabulous. Thanks for the earworm – NOT!. Right back at you with the awful ‘All I want to do is make love to you’ – with the nauseating ‘I am the flower, you are the seed, we walked in the garden, we planted a tree’. Don’t try to find me, please don’t you dare (because I know you are annoyed at me right now).

    • Oh Gawd. I’d forgotten that one by Heart. A woman picks up a hitch hiker and tricks him into knocking her up in a cheap hotel room. Oh Gawd it’s one of the worst ever. Aaargh

  16. So glad I have no idea what the beat of this song is so no ear worm for me!
    I can’t pin down one song that annoys the hell out of me at the moment, there are just so many!

  17. I never knew what that song was about. But seeing as it is of the same vintage of me, it was always going to be one of those songs that I would sing along to in the car and never quite understand. Like My Sharona. My was that an eye-opener once I understood what he was singing about! Tune in to Smooth FM and you’ll hear most of the songs that bug the bejeesus out of me! There are just too many to name but I’ll also add any song by Kesha to the list. Don’t get me started on that trash bag ho’!

  18. I love the song and I love this blog. Hilarious.
    I now have a nasty ear worm though. Am off to pour olive oil down ear to see if that can remove it.

  19. Haha yep, that one is definitely going to be in my ear all day. So far reading flog yo blog, I’ve had a peppa pig song in my head and now this. What’s next? Great post. Very funny.

  20. Very funny, and I guess, gives me a reason to thank my parents for not listening to commercial radio or watching anything but ABC. I don’t actually know this song… when we asked for records, they said ‘what do you need records for? We have the all time favourite pub hits!’ Clearly Charlene didn’t make it on that record!

    Dare I try and find it?!

  21. Hilarious! Thank goodness I don’t know the song well enough for it to get stuck in my head!!

  22. I have never heard that song but I might have to hunt it down on the internet now.
    Such profound lyrics 😉

  23. hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha. No seriously. ROFL! Too funny ….
    And yes, I know that song very well. Does that also make me carbon dated?
    Leanne @ Deep Fried Fruit

  24. Ha ha ha, love it – so funny! Just discovered you through FYBF and very happy I did (it was worth the appalling earworm). I don’t know if it makes me a prude, but Turning Japanese makes me cringe every time I hear it. And Counting the Beat but that’s just because it’s been flogged by KMart for too long. And I always feel a bit sorry for Eileen (as in Come On) too.

  25. Oh this is so good, like soooo good!

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