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Published on Nov 19, 2010
"Fame" is a song recorded by David Bowie, initially released in 1975 and in remixed versions, in 1990. The 1975 version reached number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 during the week of September 20th, 1975.
With the Young Americans sessions mostly concluded in late 1974, the material was delayed while Bowie extricated himself from his contract with manager Tony DeFries. During this time he was staying in New York, and met John Lennon. The pair socialised and jammed together, which led to a one-day session at Electric Lady Studios in January 1975. There, Bowie contacted several members of his tour band. Firstly a cover of The Beatles' "Across the Universe" was recorded. Then a new song called "Fame", inspired by a guitar riff written by Carlos Alomar and with the title from Lennon, was then hurriedly developed by Bowie, and recorded. Both tracks were then added to the Young Americans album. Despite having only a minor contribution, Lennon was given a co-writing credit due to the lyrics (bemoaning the nature of celebrity) being inspired by conversations he had with Bowie on the subject, and because Bowie acknowledged that Lennon singing "Fame!" over Alomar's guitar riff was the catalyst for the song. The songwriting credit list order is David Bowie, Carlos Alomar, and John Lennon. Lennon's voice is also heard singing the repeated words "FAME, FAME, FAME" with his voice heard at a fast, normal, and slow track, making it sound like a recording on the fast and slow speeds, until Bowie's voice is heard singing the final lyrics of the song before the fade.
"Fame" became Bowie's biggest hit to that point in the U.S. It was his first number one hit on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, as well as his first to break the top 10. A remixed version of "Fame" was released by EMI in 1990 to coincide with the Sound + Vision tour and the release of the ChangesBowie compilation. The "Gass Mix" was also included on the "Pretty Woman" soundtrack.