Updated: Jul 9, 2021
September 20, 1975 - David Bowie went to No.1 on the US singles chart with 'Fame'. It was his first number one hit on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, as well as his first to break the top 10, but would only reach number 17 in the UK.
With the Young Americans sessions mostly concluded by 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, where he met John Lennon at a party thrown by Elizabeth Taylor. Lennon was one of Bowie's idols, and they became good friends.. 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, sang "ame" over the riff, which Bowie turned into "Fame" and he thereafter wrote the rest of the lyrics to the song.
Bowie would later describe the song as "nasty, angry", and fully admitted that the song was written "with a degree of malice" aimed at the Mainman management group with whom he had been working at the time. In 1990, Bowie reflected: I'd had very upsetting management problems and a lot of that was built into the song. I've left that 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.
Bowie allegedly got drunk to perform the song for the American TV show Soul Train; at the time he was one of the few white artists to appear on the program.
The song is included in The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll.
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