Pop Goes the Movies: FAME - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

Home Top Ad

Post Top Ad

Pop Goes the Movies: FAME

Remember my name...
Back to the Summer of 1980 now and one of the biggest hits of the year, both in the cinema and in the charts... that's if you happened to be living in the USA. Fame received mixed reviews upon release but thanks to a canny release tactic it performed incredibly well, grossing over $42 million worldwide against a production budget of $8.5 million - 90% of that coming from domestic box office.

Chronically the lives and hardships of students attending the High School of Performing Arts (known today as Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School), from their auditions to their freshman, sophomore, junior and senior years, the movie catapulted Irene Cara to stardom. Although she vary nearly didn't have such a prominent role. Cara was originally cast solely as a dancer, but when producers David Da Silva and Alan Marshall and screenwriter Christopher Gore heard her voice, they re-wrote the role of Coco Hernandez especially for her. In essence, they remembered her name!

As Coco Hernandez, Cara sang both the title song Fame and the film's other single, Out Here on My Own. The latter song peaked at No. 19 on the Billboard Hot 100, No. 20 on the Adult Contemporary chart in the US, and No. 58 on the UK Singles Chart, but it's that title track we're interested in here...

Released in May 1980, the single Fame helped to promote the movie, which was slowly opening in cities across America in a staggered release schedule. It would take four months and continual airplay for Cara's single to peak at #4 on the Billboard Hot 100, and along with the subsequently released Out Here On My Own catapulted Irene Cara to fame (no pun intended) and helped make the film's soundtrack a chart-topping, multi-platinum album.

Further history was made at the Academy Awards as it was the first time two songs from the same film were nominated in the same category and both sung by the same artist. Thus, Cara had the opportunity to be one of the few singers to perform more than one song at the Oscar ceremony; and she went home with an award for Fame, along with writers Michael Gore and Dean Pitchford.

Cara also earned Grammy nominations in 1980 for Best New Artist and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance, as well as a Golden Globe nomination for Best Motion Picture Actress in a Musical. Billboard named her Top New Single Artist, while Cashbox Magazine awarded her both Most Promising Female Vocalist and Top Female Vocalist.

Interestingly, the single was never released in the UK in 1980 and the film didn't perform especially well here - perhaps there is a corralation between this? Fame the movie did eventually find a UK audience after it's VHS release and when the subsequent TV show hit big (which used this song as it's opening theme music), the single was finally released in the United Kingdom in May 1982, entering the UK Singles Chart on July 3rd at number 51. The following week, it rose to number four before peaking at the top position of the U.K. charts on July 17, where it stayed for 3 weeks. Selling over a million copies, becoming the second biggest selling single of that year.

As for that spin-off TV show, Cara was asked by Fame TV series' producers to reprise her role as Coco Hernandez, she declined so as to focus her attention on her recording career (as a result, Erica Gimpel assumed the role), going on to record the theme tune for the 1983 movie Flashdance, but that's a Pop Goes The Movies for another day.

Check out all our Pop Goes The Movies articles here.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Post Top Ad