|Single by David Bowie|
|from the album Young Americans|
|Released||25 July 1975|
|Studio||Electric Lady, New York City|
|David Bowie singles chronology|
"Fame" is a song recorded by English singer-songwriter David Bowie. It was released on his 1975 album Young Americans and was later issued as the album's second single by RCA Records in July 1975. Written by Bowie, Carlos Alomar and John Lennon, it was recorded at Electric Lady Studios in New York City in January 1975. It is a funk rock song that represents Bowie's (and Lennon's) dissatisfaction with the troubles of fame and stardom.
The song was a major commercial success in North America, becoming Bowie's first number 1 single on both the US Billboard Hot 100 and the Canadian Singles Chart. The song was one of the more successful singles of the year, ranking at number 7 on the Billboard Year-End Hot 100. However, it was less successful in Europe, reaching number 17 in the UK Singles Chart.
In 1990, Bowie remixed the song under the title "Fame '90" to coincide with his Sound+Vision Tour. "Fame" has since appeared on many compilation albums, and was remastered in 2016 as part of the Who Can I Be Now? (1974–1976) box set.
The song is one of four of Bowie's songs to be included in The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll.
With the release of his 1972 album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars , Bowie achieved stardom.On that album, Bowie presented his aspirations to become famous in "Star", which also encapsulated the fantasies of "every adolescent dreamer miming into a hairbrush in a suburban bedroom", on top of Bowie's own frustration with not having fulfilled his potential. By the beginning of 1975, "fame" meant a couple of different things to Bowie. It meant not only his stardom, but also impending lawsuits that were the result of the ending of Bowie's relationship with his manager Tony Defries. It also meant an expensive musical theatre project concocted by Defries, titled Fame, that was financed through MainMan, a company that was built around Bowie's fame; the show was an examination of Marilyn Monroe that closed after one night on Broadway and after already flopping off-Broadway. The failure of Fame almost ruined MainMan and was traumatic on Bowie and Defries' relationship.
Bowie would later describe "Fame" as "nasty, angry", and fully admitted that it was written "with a degree of malice" aimed at the MainMan. This is supported by biographer Peter Doggett, who writes: "every time in "Fame" that Bowie snapped back with a cynical retort about its pitfalls, he had [Defries] and [Defries's] epic folly in mind," and noted the lyric "bully for you, chilly for me" as the striking example.In 1990, Bowie recalled the song as his "least favourite track on the album" and reflected: "I'd had very upsetting management problems and a lot of that was built into the song. I've left all that behind me, now... I think fame itself is not a rewarding thing. The most you can say is that it gets you a seat in restaurants."
With the Young Americans sessions mostly concluded by late 1974, the material was delayed while Bowie extricated himself from Defries. Sources differ on how "Fame" came to be in the studio, but both Doggett and Nicholas Pegg write that it was the product of "happy" accidents. [ sic ] and did it backwards, you know, and we made a record out of it!"By late 1974, Bowie was staying in New York City, where he met John Lennon, who was in his "lost weekend" period of estrangement from his wife Yoko Ono. The pair jammed together, leading to a one-day session at Electric Lady Studios in January 1975. There, Carlos Alomar had developed a guitar riff for Bowie's cover of "Footstompin'" by the Flairs, which Bowie thought was "a waste" to give to a cover. Lennon, who was in the studio with them, came up with the hook when he started to sing "aim" over the riff, which Bowie turned into "Fame" and thereafter, according to Marc Spitz, wrote the rest of the lyrics to the song with Lennon. However, according to Doggett, Lennon made the "briefest lyrical contributions" that was "enough" to give him co-writing credit. Bowie later said that Lennon was the "energy" and the "inspiration" for "Fame", and that's why he received a co-writing credit. Lennon stated in a 1980 interview: "We took some Stevie Wonder middle eight
After the group solidified the riff, they emerged with something that was in the hand of "black American music" at the start of 1975: a "cousin" of "Hollywood Swinging" by Kool & the Gang, "The Payback" by James Brown, and "Do It ('Til You're Satisfied)" by B. T. Express.(Later in 1975, Brown released the song "Hot (I Need to Be Loved, Loved, Loved)," whose main riff was borrowed directly from "Fame.") Doggett writes that other potential influences were the 1972 song "Jungle Walk" by the Rascals and the 1974 songs "Pick Up the Pieces" by the Average White Band and "Brighter Day" by Keith Christmas, a friend of Bowie's. Overall, Doggett believes "Fame" resembled "Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)" by Sly and the Family Stone which, like "Fame", is in the funk style with "viciously pointed" lyrics.
"Fame" is a funk rock songthat represents Bowie's (and Lennon's) dissatisfaction with the troubles of fame and stardom, including "money-grabbing managers, mindless adulation, unwanted entourages and the hollow vacuity of the limousine lifestyle". Lennon's voice is heard interjecting the falsetto "Fame" throughout the song. Doggett found it "striking" that the falsetto expanded three octaves, from "Yoko Ono soprano" to "Johnny Cash basso profundo". Along with "Fame", Bowie worked with Lennon again when he decided to record a cover of Lennon's Beatles song "Across the Universe"; Lennon played rhythm guitar on the cover. According to Spitz, "Fame" and "Across the Universe" were both last-minute additions to Young Americans. Although Young Americans was mostly co-produced by Tony Visconti, he was not present at the sessions for "Fame"; instead, both songs were co-produced by engineer Harry Maslin. In the song, Bowie sings "What you need, you have to borrow" with, according to Spitz, the same "venom" that Jimi Hendrix sang, "Businessmen they drink my wine," on his cover of Bob Dylan's "All Along the Watchtower".
"Fame" was released on 7 March 1975 as the final track on Bowie's ninth studio album Young Americans .It was subsequently released by RCA Records (as PB 10320) as the second single to the album on 25 July 1975 with fellow album track "Right" as the B-side.
"Fame" became Bowie's first song to top the Billboard Hot 100, displacing "Rhinestone Cowboy" by Glen Campbell during the week of 20 September 1975. For the week of 27 September 1975, "Fame" dropped to number two behind John Denver's "I'm Sorry" for a week, before returning to the top spot for one final week, ultimately being replaced at number one by Neil Sedaka's "Bad Blood". Bowie would later claim that he had "absolutely no idea" that the song would do so well as a single, saying "I wouldn't know how to pick a single if it hit me in the face."Despite "Fame" being Bowie's then biggest success on the American charts, the song only reached number 17 in the UK Singles Chart.
Cash Box said that "with a scintillating rhythm track and chicken-guitar courtesy of Mr. Lennon, David's versatile voice blends with John's to produce an ethereal dancer with some r&b psychedelia thrown in."Dave Thompson of AllMusic calls the track "a hard-funking dance storm whose lyrics -- a hostile riposte on the personal cost of success -- utterly belie the upbeat tempo and feel of the song." Following Bowie's death in 2016, Rolling Stone listed it as one of Bowie's 30 essential songs. In 2018, the writers of NME , in their list of Bowie's 41 greatest songs, ranked "Fame" at number 21. In 2016, Ultimate Classic Rock placed the single at number 25 in a list ranking every Bowie single from worst to best.
"Fame" was used as the soundtrack of an animated music video of the same title, directed by Richard Jefferies and Mark Kirkland while students at California Institute of the Arts. The film, released in 1975, went on to win the Student Academy Award for animation and aired on NBC's The Midnight Special .
The song is one of four of Bowie's songs to be included in The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll.
A 40th anniversary version of "Fame" was released in 2015 and peaked at #141 in France.
A live performance recorded on 23 March 1976 was included on Live Nassau Coliseum '76 ,which was released as part of the 2010 reissues of the Station to Station album, on the 2016 collection Who Can I Be Now? (1974–1976) , and as a stand-alone album in 2017. Performances from the 1978 Isolar II tour have been released on Stage (1978) and Welcome to the Blackout (2018). A live performance from the Serious Moonlight Tour, filmed on 12 September 1983, was included on the concert DVD Serious Moonlight (1984) and on the live album Serious Moonlight (Live '83), which was part of the 2018 box set Loving the Alien (1983–1988) and was released separately the following year. Live versions recorded during Bowie's 1987 Glass Spider Tour (in Sydney, Australia and Montreal, Canada) were released as part of the Glass Spider concert DVD/CD package. A July 1997 performance at the Phoenix Festival was released in 2021 on Look at the Moon! (Live Phoenix Festival 97) . Bowie's 25 June 2000 performance of the song at the Glastonbury Festival was released in 2018 on Glastonbury 2000 . An updated version recorded live by Bowie on 27 June 2000 was released on BBC Radio Theatre, London, 27 June 2000, a bonus disc accompanying the first release of Bowie at the Beeb in 2000. A November 2003 live performance from the A Reality Tour is featured on the A Reality Tour DVD, released in 2004, as well as the A Reality Tour album, released in 2010.
"Fame" was released as the B-side of the US release of "Beauty and the Beast" in January 1978. It appears on several compilations, including: Changesonebowie (1976);Bowie: The Singles 1969–1993 (1993); The Best of David Bowie 1974/1979 (1998); Best of Bowie (2002); The Platinum Collection (2006); Nothing Has Changed (2014); and Legacy (The Very Best of David Bowie) (2016). The 7" single version appeared on The Best of Bowie (1980) as well as on Have a Nice Decade: The 70s Pop Culture Box (1998). Re:Call 2, part of the Who Can I Be Now? (1974–1976) compilation released in 2016, included an attempted reconstruction of the single edit, which has been criticised as inaccurate.
According to biographer Chris O'Leary:
|Single by David Bowie|
|from the album Changesbowie|
|Released||26 March 1990|
|David Bowie singles chronology|
A remixed version of "Fame" was released by EMI in 1990 to coincide with the Sound+Vision Tour, the release of the Changesbowie compilation, and the Pretty Woman soundtrack. Bowie wanted to remix a successful American single for the tour and album release; of the two options ("Let's Dance" and "Fame"), "Let's Dance" was simply too recent. Bowie liked the choice: "It covers a lot of ground, Fame; it stands up really well in time. It still sounds potent. It's quite a nasty, angry little song. I quite like that."The "Gass Mix" was subsequently included on the Pretty Woman soundtrack.
Regarding the remix, Spitz states: "The best thing you can say about "Fame '90" is that it's much better than the Police's "Don't Stand So Close to Me '86" but far inferior to George Michael's "Freedom! '90".Ultimate Classic Rock called it a "now happily forgotten" remix and placed it at number 104 in a list ranking every Bowie single from worst to best.
Song written by David Bowie, Carlos Alomar, and John Lennon.
Film director Gus Van Sant directed the promotional video for this version, which featured clips from many of Bowie’s previous videos.In the music video, Bowie also performs a dance with Louise Lecavalier, one of the main dancers of the Québécois contemporary dance troupe La La La Human Steps (whom Bowie would collaborate with on the Sound + Vision tour). The US version of the video replaces some of Bowie's music videos for scenes from the movie Pretty Woman .
|Europe (Eurochart Hot 100)||69|
|Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)||17|
|Netherlands (Single Top 100)||16|
|New Zealand (RIANZ)||32|
|Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)||29|
|UK Singles (Official Charts Company)||28|
|West Germany (Official German Charts)||36|
Aladdin Sane is the sixth studio album by English musician David Bowie, released on 13 April 1973 by RCA Records. The follow-up to his breakthrough The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars (1972), it was the first album he wrote and released from a position of stardom. It was produced by Bowie and Ken Scott and features contributions from Bowie's backing band the Spiders from Mars — comprising Mick Ronson, Trevor Bolder and Mick Woodmansey — as well as pianist Mike Garson, two saxophonists and three backing vocalists. Recorded at Trident Studios in London and RCA Studios in New York City between legs of the Ziggy Stardust Tour, the record was Bowie's final album with the full Spiders lineup.
Hunky Dory is the fourth studio album by English musician David Bowie, released on 17 December 1971 by RCA Records. Following the release of his 1970 album, The Man Who Sold the World, Bowie took time off from recording and touring. He settled down to write new songs, composing on piano rather than guitar as on earlier tracks. Following a tour of the United States, Bowie assembled a new backing band consisting of guitarist Mick Ronson, bassist Trevor Bolder and drummer Mick Woodmansey, and began to record a new album in mid-1971 at Trident Studios in London. Future Yes member Rick Wakeman contributed on piano. Bowie co-produced the album with Ken Scott, who had engineered Bowie's previous two records.
"Space Oddity" is a song that was written and recorded by English singer-songwriter David Bowie. It was first released on 11 July 1969 by Philips Records as a 7-inch single, then as the opening track of his second studio album David Bowie. After the commercial failure of his self-titled debut album in 1967, Bowie's manager Kenneth Pitt commissioned Love You till Tuesday, a promotional film that was intended to introduce Bowie to a larger audience. For the film, Bowie wrote "Space Oddity", a tale about a fictional astronaut named Major Tom; its title and subject matter were partly inspired by Stanley Kubrick's film 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) and Bowie's feelings of alienation at that point in his career. Musically, "Space Oddity" was one of the most complex songs Bowie had written up to that point, and marked a change from the music hall-influenced sound of his debut to a sound that is akin to psychedelic folk and inspired by the music of the Bee Gees.
"Life on Mars?" is a song by English singer-songwriter David Bowie, first released on his 1971 album Hunky Dory. In 1968, Bowie was commissioned to write English lyrics for the Claude François French song "Comme d'habitude". After his lyrics were rejected, songwriter Paul Anka rewrote it into "My Way", which was made famous by singer Frank Sinatra in 1969. Annoyed at the success of "My Way", Bowie used the song as a template and wrote "Life on Mars?" as a parody of Sinatra's recording. Like other songs Bowie wrote during this period, it was written primarily on piano. Recording for "Life on Mars?" took place on 6 August 1971, the final day of the Hunky Dory sessions. Co-produced by Bowie and Ken Scott, the backing band consisted of guitarist Mick Ronson, bassist Trevor Bolder and drummer Mick Woodmansey; Ronson also composed the song's string arrangement. After failing to acquire pianist Dudley Moore, piano was played by Strawbs member Rick Wakeman.
Diamond Dogs is the eighth studio album by English musician David Bowie, released on 24 May 1974 by RCA Records. Bowie produced the album and recorded it in early 1974 at Olympic and Island Studios in London and Ludolph Studios in the Netherlands, following the disbanding of his backing band the Spiders from Mars and the departure of producer Ken Scott. The absence of Mick Ronson led Bowie to play guitar on the record. The album featured the return of Tony Visconti, who had not worked with Bowie for four years; the two would collaborate for the rest of the decade. Musically, it was Bowie's final album in the glam rock genre, though some songs were influenced by funk and soul music, which Bowie embraced on his next album, Young Americans (1975).
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"Golden Years" is a song by English musician David Bowie, released by RCA Records on 21 November 1975 as the lead single from his tenth studio album Station to Station (1976). Partially written before Bowie began shooting for the film The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976), the song was mostly compiled in the studio and was the first track completed for the album. David said the song was written for Elvis Presley, while his wife Angie claimed it was written for her. Recording took place at Cherokee Studios in Los Angeles during September 1975. The song was co-produced by David Bowie and Harry Maslin and features contributions from Carlos Alomar and Earl Slick on guitar, George Murray on bass and Dennis Davis on drums; Bowie's old friend Warren Peace contributed backing vocals and assisted with the vocal arrangements. Due to Bowie's heavy cocaine use, he later recalled remembering almost nothing of Station to Station's production.
"Changes" is a song by English singer-songwriter David Bowie, originally released on his 1971 album Hunky Dory. RCA Records then released it as a single from the album on 7 January 1972. Written following his promotional tour of America in early 1971, "Changes" was recorded at Trident Studios in London between June and July that year. Co-produced by Bowie and Ken Scott, it featured Strawbs member Rick Wakeman on piano and the musicians who would later become known as the Spiders from Mars: guitarist Mick Ronson, bassist Trevor Bolder and drummer Mick Woodmansey. The song also marks the first instance of Bowie playing the saxophone on one of his recordings.
"TVC 15" is a song by English musician David Bowie, released on his 1976 album Station to Station. RCA Records later released it as the second single from the album on 30 April 1976. The song was recorded in late 1975 at Cherokee Studios in Los Angeles. Co-produced by Bowie and Harry Maslin, the recording featured guitarists Carlos Alomar and Earl Slick, bassist George Murray, drummer Dennis Davis, pianist Roy Bittan and Warren Peace on backing vocals. The upbeat song is mostly art rock performed in a style reminiscent of the 1950s. Lyrically, the song concerns a character's girlfriend being eaten by a television set. It was inspired by a dream of Iggy Pop's and Bowie's role in The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976). Some lyrics are also influenced by the Yardbirds and Kraftwerk.
"Sound and Vision" is a song by English musician David Bowie. It was released in January 1977 by RCA Records on side one of his 11th studio album Low. RCA later chose it as the first single from the album. Co-produced by Bowie and Tony Visconti, the song was recorded at the Château d'Hérouville in Hérouville, France, in September 1976, and completed at Hansa Studios in West Berlin in October and November. The song began as a simple G major chord progression that Bowie gave to the backing musicians, writing and recording his vocals afterward. It features backing vocals from Brian Eno and Visconti's then-wife Mary Hopkin.
"All the Young Dudes" is a song written by English singer-songwriter David Bowie, originally recorded and released as a single by the English rock band Mott the Hoople in 1972 by Columbia Records. Produced by Bowie, he gave the song to the band after they rejected Bowie's "Suffragette City". Bowie would subsequently record the song himself. Regarded as an anthem of glam rock, the song has received acclaim and was a commercial success. In 2021, Rolling Stone ranked "All the Young Dudes" number 166 in its list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. It is also one of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll.
"Oh! You Pretty Things" is a song written by English singer-songwriter David Bowie, released on his 1971 album Hunky Dory. It was the first song he wrote for the album. Bowie recorded the song as a demo before giving it to singer Peter Noone, lead singer of Herman's Hermits, who decided to release it as his debut solo single. Featuring Bowie on piano, Noone's recording was produced by Mickie Most and featured structural and lyrical differences from Bowie's later version. Released by RAK Records in April 1971 under the title "Oh! You Pretty Thing", the single peaked at number 12 in the UK, becoming Bowie's biggest success as a songwriter since his own single "Space Oddity" two years earlier.
"Ziggy Stardust" is a song written by English singer-songwriter David Bowie for his 1972 concept album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. Co-produced by Bowie and Ken Scott, he recorded it at Trident Studios in London in November 1971 with his backing band the Spiders from Mars—comprising Mick Ronson, Trevor Bolder and Mick Woodmansey. Lyrically, the song is about Ziggy Stardust, a bisexual alien rock star who acts as a messenger for extraterrestrial beings. The character was influenced by English singer Vince Taylor, as well as the Legendary Stardust Cowboy and Kansai Yamamoto. Although Ziggy is introduced earlier on the album, this song is its centrepiece, presenting the rise and fall of the star in a very human-like manner. Musically, it is a glam rock song, like its parent album, and is based around a Ronson guitar riff.
"Stay" is a song by English musician David Bowie, released on his 1976 album Station to Station. The song was recorded in late 1975 at Cherokee Studios in Los Angeles. Co-produced by Bowie and Harry Maslin, the recording featured guitarists Carlos Alomar and Earl Slick, bassist George Murray, drummer Dennis Davis, pianist Roy Bittan and Warren Peace on percussion. The track features prominent dual guitar work from Slick and Alomar, who mostly composed it in the studio. Based on the chord structure of "John, I'm Only Dancing (Again)", a funk reworking of "John, I'm Only Dancing" (1972), "Stay" emulates funk rock, soul and hard rock. Lyrically, the song is about a character who begs his lover to stay, fearing she will leave him for the last time.
...'Fame', a funk workout...