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From the streets of New York to top of the charts

The top ten this week in 1982

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Irene Cara

Irene Cara

Irene Cara

More than a decade before he put the musical talents of Dublin's Northside on the map with The Commitments, Alan Parker had another musical hit with Fame, a teen drama set in New York's High School of Performing Arts.

Both the movie and soundtrack were well received on release in 1980. Irene Cara, who played 'Coco' in the film, sang the theme song which reached number 4 in the US and won that year's Academy Award for Best Original Song.

Cara would go on to achieve even greater success with 'Flashdance...What A Feeling', which she sang and co-wrote for the 'Flashdance' movie. It topped the Billboard Hot 100 and won both an Oscar and a Grammy.

'Fame' topped the UK (and Irish) singles charts this month in 1982 on re-release on the back of the popularity of the 'Fame' TV series.

Michael Gore, younger brother of singer-songwriter Lesley Gore, wrote most of the songs on the 'Fame' soundtrack, a couple in collaboration with his sister. Before Gore, Parker had approached Giorgio Moroder and ELO frontman Jeff Lynne, but both had turned him down.

The famous 'Fame' musical sequence in the movie was filmed on 46th Street over three days using 150 student actors and 50 professional dancers. They performed to Donna Summer's 'Hot Stuff' as the song 'Fame' had yet to be written.

When writing the theme, Michael Gore was inspired by Queen of Disco Summer. He and lyricist Dean Pitchford spent an entire month composing the lyrics and putting the track together. The song was later incorporated into the filmed dance sequence during post-production.

Pitchford, a stage and commercial actor with a degree in English literature from Yale, said in a Songfacts interview that the song 'took forever to write. It was literally a month of six days, seven days a week, six hours a day of carving every one of those verses.'

Luther Vandross, not yet a solo star at the time, was the lead backing vocalist in the 'Fame' recording sessions and is credited with coming up with the song's distinctive 'remember, remember, remember' part.

'Fame' spent three weeks at the top of the UK charts in July of 1982 and it was the second biggest-selling single in the UK that year (after 'Come On Eileen'). Since its release it has sold over a million copies in the UK alone.

1 Fame Irene Cara

2 Da Da Da Trio

3 Abracadabra The Steve Miller Band

4 Shy Boy Bananarama

5 Don't Go Yazoo

6 Driving In My Car Madness

7 A Night To Remember Shalamar

8 It Started With A Kiss Hot Chocolate

9 Come On Eileen Dexy's Midnight Runners with the Emerald Express

10 Inside Out Odyssey

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