Artwork for Dutch and Belgian releases
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)
ReleasedMay 1980
GenrePop, post-disco
Length3:48 (7")
5:14 (12")
Producer(s)Michael Gore
Irene Cara singles chronology
"Out Here on My Own"
Music video
"Fame - Irene Cara" on YouTube

"Fame" is a song written by Michael Gore (music) and Dean Pitchford (lyrics)[1] and 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 film. It was also her debut single as a recording artist. The song 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 played the role of Coco Hernandez in the movie Fame and sang the vocals for the theme song. The music for the song was by Michael Gore and the lyrics were by Dean Pitchford. The song earned Cara a Grammy nomination for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.[2] The movie became an "overnight sensation". The song won an Oscar for best film theme song in 1981. In July 1982, it was re-released on the back of the successful TV series and topped the charts in several countries, including the Netherlands, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.[3]

Fame theme song

The song was later used as the theme song for the Fame television series, which aired from 1982 to 1987. For seasons 1-4, the song was performed by Erica Gimpel who plays Cara's character, Coco on the show. For seasons 5-6, it was performed by Loretta Chandler. The song was also used in other TV shows related to Fame.


Music Video

The original promotional music video was the scene from the film. Cara had only a very short part in that scene.

To promote the re-release of the single Cara appeared in a new video shot in mid-June 1982 in New York City, mainly on and around Broadway and including Cara sitting on one of New York's Yellow Cabs and dancing at the entrance to the School Of Performing Arts.[4]


"Fame" rose to number four on the Billboard Hot 100 in September 1980. It also reached number one on the Billboard dance chart for one week.[5] The song was re-released in the United Kingdom in July 1982, where it peaked at the top of the UK Singles Chart for three weeks following the debut of the Fame TV series on the British television network BBC One the previous month, becoming Britain's third best-selling song of 1982 behind "Eye of the Tiger" by Survivor and "Come On Eileen" by Dexys Midnight Runners and the Emerald Express, the latter of which dethroned "Fame" from the top of the UK Singles Chart.[1] It has over sold 1.07 million copies in Britain. as of September 2017.[6] The song also reached number one in Flanders (Belgium), Ireland, the Netherlands and New Zealand, and number three in Australia and Sweden.


Region Certification Certified units/sales
Canada (Music Canada)[27] Gold 50,000^
Netherlands (NVPI)[28] Gold 100,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[29] Gold 1,079,222[6]

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.

See also


  1. ^ a b c d Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 136. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  2. ^ "Irene Cara's Grammy Awards history". grammy.com. The Recording Academy. Retrieved December 24, 2023.
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ Cara, Irene. "Fame (Official Music Video)". Youtube. Retrieved September 9, 2023.
  5. ^ "'Fame' means success for BBC record label". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. November 13, 1982. pp. 8–. ISSN 0006-2510.
  6. ^ a b Copsey, Rob (September 19, 2017). "The UK's Official Chart 'millionaires' revealed". Official Charts Company. Retrieved September 25, 2018.
  7. ^ a b Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, New South Wales: Australian Chart Book. p. 54. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  8. ^ a b "National Top 100 Singles for 1980". Kent Music Report. January 5, 1981. Retrieved January 17, 2022 – via Imgur.
  9. ^ "Irene Cara – Fame" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  10. ^ "RPM 100 Singles". RPM. Vol. 34, no. 4. November 22, 1980. Retrieved April 24, 2016.
  11. ^ "Irene Cara – Fame" (in French). Les classement single.
  12. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Fame". Irish Singles Chart.
  13. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – week 8, 1983" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40.
  14. ^ "Irene Cara – Fame" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  15. ^ "Irene Cara – Fame". Top 40 Singles.
  16. ^ "SA Charts 1965–March 1989". Retrieved September 1, 2018.
  17. ^ "Irene Cara – Fame". Singles Top 100.
  18. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
  19. ^ "Irene Cara Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
  20. ^ "Irene Cara Chart History (Dance Club Songs)". Billboard.
  21. ^ "Cash Box Top 100". Cash Box. September 13, 1980. Archived from the original on September 15, 2012. Retrieved May 23, 2020.
  22. ^ "Pop Singles". Billboard ("Billboard Talent in Action: Year End Charts" supplement). December 20, 1980. p. TIA-10.
  23. ^ "The Cash Box Year-End Charts: 1980". Cash Box. December 27, 1980. Archived from the original on September 15, 2012. Retrieved May 23, 2020.
  24. ^ "Top Selling Singles of 1982". Recorded Music NZ.
  25. ^ 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.
  26. ^ "Jaaroverzichten – Single 1983". Dutch Charts (Hung Medien).
  27. ^ "Canadian single certifications – Irene Cara – Fame". Music Canada.
  28. ^ "Dutch single certifications – Irene Cara – Fame" (in Dutch). Nederlandse Vereniging van Producenten en Importeurs van beeld- en geluidsdragers. Retrieved August 31, 2020. Enter Fame in the "Artiest of titel" box. Select 1983 in the drop-down menu saying "Alle jaargangen".
  29. ^ "British single certifications – Irene Cara – Fame". British Phonographic Industry.