"Fame" was one of two songs slotted at the very last minute onto that year's Young Americans album -- the other was a cover of the Beatles' "Across the Universe." Based upon a riff which guitarist Carlos Alomar appropriated from early-'60s R&B band the Flames' "Footstompin'," and enhanced by a passing John Lennon, "Fame" became David Bowie's first U.S. chart-topper in mid-1975, a hard-funking dance storm whose lyrics -- a hostile riposte on the personal cost of success -- utterly belie the upbeat tempo and feel of the song.
Live, "Fame" retains more of its viciousness, with an especially crucial rendering delivered on the 1987 Glass Spider live video, as Bowie segues from the song into a few moments of Edwin Starr's "War": "Fame! What is it good for? Absolutely nothing." Of course it isn't.