Fame (David Bowie song): Wikis


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Single by David Bowie
from the album Young Americans
B-side "Right"
Released July 25, 1975 (1975-07-25)
Format 7" single
Recorded Electric Lady Studios, New York January 1975
Genre Funk rock
Length 03:30 Single edit
04:12 Full-length album version
Label RCA Records
Rykodisc/EMI ("Fame '90")
Writer(s) David Bowie, Carlos Alomar, John Lennon
Producer Harry Maslin, David Bowie
David Bowie singles chronology
"Young Americans"
"Golden Years"

"Never Let Me Down"

"Fame '90"

"Real Cool World"
Tin Machine chronology
"Prisoner of Love"
"Fame '90"
"You Belong in Rock n' Roll"
Alternate cover
"Fame '90" cover

"Fame" is a song recorded by David Bowie, initially released in 1975 and in remixed versions, in 1990.

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 "Walk On", from the Jackson Five's "Going Back to Indiana" live album, and 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.

An edited version of "Fame" was issued as the second single from the album, and shot to number one on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 (a few months before a reissue of "Space Oddity" would give Bowie his first UK number-one single). In the UK, "Fame" would only reach number seventeen.


1975 track listing

  1. "Fame" (Bowie, Alomar, Lennon) – 3:30
  2. "Right" (Bowie) – 4:13


Chart (1975) Peak
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 1
Canadian Singles Chart 3
UK Singles Chart 17
Norwegian Singles Chart 9

1975 musicians

"Fame '90"

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.

Track listing

Song written by David Bowie, Carlos Alomar, and John Lennon.

  1. "Fame '90" (with Queen Latifah) – 4:10
  2. "Fame '90" (House mix) – 5:58
  3. "Fame '90" (Gass mix) – 3:36
  4. "Fame '90" (Hip hop mix) – 3:10
  5. "Fame '90" (Absolutely Nothing Premeditated/Epic Mix) – 14:25

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).

In both the UK and the U.S. this appeared in a variety of formats, including a 7" picture disc, an "Arthur Baker Remixes" 12 inch single and a "Changes pack" with three prints of Bowie at different eras. None of the British releases (on EMI USA) feature the "Absolutely Nothing Premeditated mix". It stayed in the UK chart for four weeks, peaking at number twenty-eight.

Live versions

  • A live version recorded on the Heroes tour at the Philadelphia Spectrum, April 28-29th, 1978, was released on Stage.
  • An updated version recorded from Bowie's performance at the BBC Radio Theatre, June 27, 2000, was released on Disc 3 of Bowie at the Beeb and on BBC Radio Theater: London June 27, 2000.

Other releases

Film and television use

  • Bowie performed the song in a 1975 episode of Soul Train, one of the few white artists to appear on the long-running black music anthology series.
  • In 1990, a new mix was used on the soundtrack for the movie Pretty Woman (see above).
  • It was used in the movie A Soldier's Daughter Never Cries by James Ivory and Ismail Merchant.
  • It was used in the movie Copycat during a murder scene in a bar.
  • It was released as a picture disc in the RCA Life Time picture disc set.
  • It was used as its original version in the movie Next Friday.
  • It was featured on an episode of Nip/Tuck.
  • It was featured on an episode of Doogie Howser, M.D..
  • It featured in the Ashes to Ashes episode "Charity Begins at Home".
  • It appears as a playable track in Guitar Hero 5
  • It was featured on an episode of Lizzie McGuire.

God Lives Underwater cover

Single by God Lives Underwater
Released 1998
Format CD
Genre Industrial rock, Techno, Rock
Length 3:26
Label A&M
Producer Gary Richards
God Lives Underwater singles chronology
"From Your Mouth"
"Tricked (That's the Way I Like It)"

"Fame" is a cover version by the band God Lives Underwater of the 1975 David Bowie song "Fame". It was in 1998, resulting in significant airplay.

Music Video

God Lives Underwater's Fame music video is a video for the remake of Bowie's "Fame" on the soundtrack to the movie 15 minutes.

Track listing

  1. "Fame" - 3:06

External links

Cover versions

Preceded by
"Rhinestone Cowboy" by Glen Campbell
Billboard Hot 100 number-one single
September 20, 1975
Succeeded by
"Calypso" / "I'm Sorry" by John Denver


  • Pegg, Nicholas, The Complete David Bowie, Reynolds & Hearn Ltd, 2000, ISBN 1-903111-14-5

Simple English

Fame is a song by David Bowie. It was written by David Bowie and John Lennon of The Beatles. The song combined funk and rock music. The song was released August 18, 1975. It was on Bowie's Young Americans album. The song reached the number 1 position on the US Billboard Top 100 in September 1975.

Cover versions

The song has been sung by many other famous singers and bands. These include:

  • Duran Duran - 12" single for "Careless Memories"; included on Starman: Rare and Exclusive Versions of 18 Classic David Bowie Songs
  • Egostatic - .2 Contamination: A Tribute to David Bowie (2006)
  • Eurythmics - bonus track on 2005 remaster of the album Touch (1983)
  • The Feelies - Something Wild video
  • FuckEmos - Only Bowie (1995)
  • Infectious Grooves - Sarsippius' Ark (1993)
  • Dave Matthews Band - Live recording
  • Love and Money - 12" single
  • George Michael - Live recording and on the album I'm Your Man (1993)
  • Pearl Jam - Live recording
  • RC - Dr. Dre Presents...The Aftermath (1996)
  • The Rockridge Synthesiser Orchestra - Plays David Bowie Classic Trax
  • Ronald Rat
  • Stardust - Live performance
  • Vanilla Ice - Mind Blowin' (1994)
  • God Lives Underwater - Up Off the Floor (2004)
  • Umphreys McGee - Encore: 12/30/2005

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