What Song By David Bowie Goes "Fame, Fame, Fame, Fame..."

Song: Fame (1975)

Artist: David Bowie

Album: Young Americans

Fame is one of the David Bowie Songs you will hear most often on the radio. Or, as hip music critics say, "it is an FM radio classic," as if anyone actually listens to AM anymore. Yes, with FM there's no static at all1. You can stop saying FM now.

Off the Young Americans album, Fame is instantly recognizable from the beginning, because of it's great guitar riff and groove. Listen to it below and even if you're not a David Bowie aficionado, you'll probably say, oh, yeah, THAT song.

The guitar riff, which really drives the whole song, ironically, was meant to be in a cover tune. According to Bowie, he and the band had been playing an old song by the Flares called Foot Stompin. Guitarist Carlos Alamor had developed the soul inspired riff for this cover tune, and Bowie suggested that it was too cool to be wasted on someone else's song.

Then John Lennon got involved. They decided to write a song around the guitar piece. They were in the studio and John Lennon was there. They played the riff for him and Lennon played along. He began muttering "…aim, …aim" to himself while playing, and then came out with "Fame!" The rest is songwriting history.

With Lennon's help they put together to rest of the song in around 20 minutes. Bowie wrote the lyrics, and the whole thing turned out pretty well.

Fame sold tremendously as a single, so much so that many may not have realized it to be of a similar theme to the song Can You Hear Me, which was also about fame, albeit it about the sexual temptations a touring rock star encounters. There is not nearly as much as a coherent concept in the Young Americans line-up of songs as as in other Bowie albums, but those who like songs for what they are will enjoy some of them.

As for how John Lennon ended up in the studio? Well, Bowie had met Lennon at a party toward the end of 1974, not long before. In January 1975 Bowie went into the studio (Electric Lady Studios) and he decided to do a cover of John Lennon's "Across the Universe." He called Lennon to let him know, who came in to play acoustic guitar on the track. Whether Bowie's covering of Across the Universe was nothing more than a bald gambit to entice Lennon into the studio or not, once they were done with Across the Universe, the event recounted above took place, and Fame was born.

Fame reached No. 1 on Billboard for the week of September 20, 1975, spending 21 weeks on the charts. It charted alongside such hits as Rhinestone Cowboy by Glen Campbell, Get Down Tonight by KC and the Sunshine Band, Feel Like Makin' Love by Bad Company, and One of These Nights by the Eagles.

Fame by David Bowie Video

Young American by David Bowie

Fame Beginning Lyrics

Fame, makes a man take things over
Fame, lets him loose, hard to swallow
Fame, puts you there where things are hollow
Fame, it's not your brain, it's just the flame
That burns your change to keep you insane

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