Song of the Day #5,429: ‘Fame’ – David Bowie

Continuing my look at the albums of 1975…

I did a deep dive into David Bowie’s catalog shortly after he died in 2016. Among the albums I covered was 1975’s Young Americans, Bowie’s ninth studio album. This record marked a shift away from his glam rock phase and into what he called “plastic soul.”

Bowie left England to record for the first time in the U.S., in both Philadelphia and New York. While the sessions resulted in plenty of material, only eight tracks ended up on the final tracklist.

The two most notable are the opening title track and the closing song, ‘Fame,’ written with John Lennon. Lennon was in New York when Bowie recorded there, and they collaborated on this song as well as a cover of The Beatles’ ‘Across the Universe.’ That track is rather uninspired and easily the most skippable thing on this album.

The rest is quite good, if a little long-winded. Half of the tracks tops five or six minutes, a little too jammy for my taste. Still, it’s hard to resist Bowie at his most accessible. It might be blasphemous to say, but I prefer this album to any of his experimental Berlin work.

[Verse 1]
Fame (Fame), makes a man take things over
Fame (Fame), lets him loose, hard to swallow
Fame (Fame), puts you there where things are hollow
Fame (Fame)

[Chorus 1]
Fame, it’s not your brain, it’s just the flame
That burns your change to keep you insane (‘Sane)
Fame (Fame)

[Verse 2]
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)

[Chorus 2]
Fame, “Nein! It’s mine!” is just his line
To bind your time, it drives you to 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?

[Verse 3]
Is it any wonder I reject you first?
Fame (Fame), fame, fame, fame
Is it any wonder you are too cool to fool
Fame (Fame)

[Chorus 3]
Fame, bully for you, chilly for me
Got to get a rain check on pain (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?
(Feeling so gay, feeling gay)

2 thoughts on “Song of the Day #5,429: ‘Fame’ – David Bowie

  1. Dana Gallup says:

    You may be speaking blasphemy, but I’m right there with ya!

  2. Amy says:

    John Lennon co-wrote this song? How did I never know that? It’s especially poignant given John would be enjoying his grandchildren right now but for that blasted fame.

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