“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 former Beatle 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.[3] 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.[4] 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.[5] 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.[5] In 1990, Bowie recalled the song as his “least favourite track on the album”[6] 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.”


Fame (fame) makes a man take things over
Fame (fame) lets him lose hard to swallow
Fame (fame) puts you there where things are hollow
Fame (fame)
Fame not your brain it’s just the flame
That puts your change to keep you sane (sane)
Fame (fame)
Fame (fame) what you like is in the limo
Fame (fame) what you get is no tomorrow
Fame (fame) what you need you have to borrow
Fame (fame)
Fame nein it’s mine is just his line
To bind our time it drives you to crime (crime)
Fame (fame)
Could it be the best could it be?
Really be really babe
Could it be my babe could it babe?
Could it babe could it babe?
Is it any wonder I reject you first
Fame (fame) fame fame
Is it any wonder you are too cool to fool
Fame (fame)
Fame bully for you chilly for me
Got to get a rain check on pain
Fame fame fame fame fame
Fame fame fame fame fame
Fame fame fame fame fame
Fame fame fame fame fame
Fame fame fame
What’s your name?
What’s your name?
What’s your name?…
Feeling so gay




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