Fame (Irene Cara song)

Single by Irene Cara
from the album Fame soundtrack
B-side "Never Alone" (performed by the Contemporary Gospel Chorus, The High School of Music and Art)
Released June 1980[US] May 1982 [UK]
Recorded 1980
Genre Pop, post-disco
  • 3:48 (7" version)
  • 5:14 (12" version)
Label RSO
Producer(s) Michael Gore
Irene Cara singles chronology
"Out Here on My Own"

"Fame" is a pop song, written by Michael Gore (music) and Dean Pitchford (lyrics),[1] released in 1980 that achieved chart success as the theme song to the Fame film and TV series.[1] The song was performed by Irene Cara, who played the role of Coco Hernandez in the original movie. It won the Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1980,[1] and the Golden Globe Award the same year. In 2004 it finished at number 51 on AFI's 100 Years...100 Songs survey of top tunes in American cinema.


Irene Cara was given the role of Coco Hernandez in the movie Fame. Cara composed the song for this movie.[2] The songs music was by Michael Gore and lyrics by Dean Pitchford and Cara sang it. The song got Cara Grammy nominations for Best New Female Artist and Best New Pop Artist.[3] The movie became an "overnight sensation". The song won an Oscar for best film theme song in 1981. In July 1982 in topped the British charts. The movie was adapted into a TV series and stage show which toured Europe.[2]

Fame theme song

The song was later used as the theme song for the Fame television series, which aired from 1982 to 1987. It was also used in other TV shows related to Fame.

Charts and certifications

"Fame" rose to number four on the Billboard Hot 100 in August 1980. It also reached number one on the Billboard dance chart for one week. The song was rereleased in the United Kingdom in 1982 following the airing of the Fame television series. It hit number one in the UK Singles Chart for three weeks.[1] It has sold 1.05 million copies in the UK as of June 2013.[4] The song also reached number one in Flanders, Ireland, the Netherlands and New Zealand, and number three in Australia and Sweden.

Weekly singles charts

Chart (1980–83) Peak
Australia (Kent Music Report)[5] 3
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[6] 1
Canada (RPM)[7] 42
France (SNEP)[8] 2
Ireland (IRMA)[9] 1
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[10] 1
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[11] 1
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[12] 3
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[13] 1
US Billboard Hot 100[14] 4
US Dance Club Songs (Billboard)[15] 1
US Cash Box Top 100 Pop Singles[16] 5

Year-end charts

Chart (1980) Rank
Australia (Kent Music Report)[5] 29
US Billboard Hot 100[17] 66
US Cash Box Top 100 Pop Singles[18] 40
Chart (1982) Rank
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[19] 11
UK (British Market Research Bureau)[20] 2
Chart (1983) Rank
Netherlands (Nationale Hitparade)[21] 2


Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Canada (Music Canada)[22] Gold 50,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[23] Gold 1,050,000[4]

^shipments figures based on certification alone

In popular culture

Alvin and the Chipmunks covered the song for their 1982 album The Chipmunks Go Hollywood. The British group Girls Aloud covered the song in their 2006 Chemistry Tour. And singer-songwriter Mree covered the song in 2014, which then was featured on an episode of the television show, Grey's Anatomy.

See also


  1. 1 2 3 4 Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 136. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  2. 1 2 Davis, Sharon (January 6, 2012). 80s Chart-Toppers: Every Chart-Topper Tells a Story. Random House. ISBN 978-1-78057-411-0. Retrieved April 28, 2016.
  3. McCann, Bob (December 8, 2009). Encyclopedia of African American Actresses in Film and Television. McFarland. p. 68. ISBN 978-0-7864-5804-2.
  4. 1 2 Lane, Dan (June 27, 2013). "Get Lucky becomes one of the UK's biggest selling singles of all-time!". Official Charts Company. Retrieved April 24, 2016.
  5. 1 2 Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, New South Wales: Australian Chart Book. p. 55. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  6. "Ultratop.be – Irene Cara – Fame" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  7. "RPM 100 Singles". RPM. Vol. 34 no. 4. November 22, 1980. Retrieved April 24, 2016.
  8. "Lescharts.com – Irene Cara – Fame" (in French). Les classement single.
  9. "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Fame". Irish Singles Chart.
  10. "Dutchcharts.nl – Irene Cara – Fame" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  11. "Charts.org.nz – Irene Cara – Fame". Top 40 Singles.
  12. "Swedishcharts.com – Irene Cara – Fame". Singles Top 100.
  13. "17, 1982/ Archive Chart: July 17, 1982" UK Singles Chart.
  14. "Irene Cara – Chart history" Billboard Hot 100 for Irene Cara.
  15. "Irene Cara – Chart history" Billboard Hot Dance Club Songs for Irene Cara.
  16. "Cash Box Top 100". Cash Box. September 13, 1980.
  17. "Pop Singles". Billboard ("Billboard Talent in Action: Year End Charts" supplement). December 20, 1980. p. TIA-10.
  18. "The Cash Box Year-End Charts: 1980". Cash Box. December 27, 1980.
  19. "Top Selling Singles of 1982". Recorded Music NZ.
  20. Rees, Dafydd; Lazell, Barry; Jones, Alan (1983). "The Top 100 UK Singles". Chart File Volume 2. London, England: Virgin Books. pp. 80–81. ISBN 0-907080-73-1.
  21. "Jaaroverzichten – Single 1983". Dutch Charts (Hung Medien).
  22. "Canadian single certifications – Irene Cara – Fame". Music Canada.
  23. "British single certifications – Irene Cara – Fame". British Phonographic Industry. Enter Fame in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Select single in the field By Format. Select Gold in the field By Award. Click Search
Preceded by
"Happy Talk" by Captain Sensible
UK number-one single
July 17, 1982
(for three weeks)
Succeeded by
"Come On Eileen" by Dexys Midnight Runners
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