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Ultimate Fame 

Ultimate Fame

Label/No : BMG 82876652712
Year of release : 1980
CD release: 2004
Total duration : 69:20

Reviewed by: Andrew Keech Alan Parker's Fame burst on to the big screen in 1980 and seemed to define musicals for the new decade. The film followed the trials, tribulations and love-lives of four very different students as they passed through the New York City High School for the Performing Arts. There was a lot of dancing and singing and the film started a whole new craze for legwarmers. The film contained a number of songs that subsequently became hits, but the main theme ‘Fame' has become a “standard.” The film spawned a hit, award-winning television series as well as a stage musical that is still playing around the world. BMG have combined tracks from all three versions to form a compilation of songs, some mega-hits others less renowned, but all linked by the unmistakable 1980s upbeat, feel-good factor that epitomised Fame in all its guises.

The Oscar-winning ‘Fame' theme is the instantly recognisable link between each of the shows and, besides highly catchy music, is a song with some memorable lyrics that captured the public's imagination, including “I'm going to live forever” and “people will see me and die.” Many of the songs are less dramatic than the main theme, being vocal showcases for the character's performances as part of their course and therefore sometimes only have the school's solo piano for backing, but most times they burst into a full, enthusiastic orchestral treatment. However, they always generate the desired emotional impact, from sentimental songs like ‘I Still Believe In Me‘, ‘It's Gonna Be A Long Night' and ‘Dancing Endlessly' to bouncy Van McCoy-style disco cues like ‘Desdemona', ‘Life Is A Celebration', ‘Dancin' On The Sidewalk' and ‘Friday Night'. There are also a couple of bonus tracks, the gentle ‘Murphy Blues' and the rather sad ‘False Alarm', which are released for the first time on this album. However, it is the hit songs that make this album so nostalgic: the bouncy ‘Hi-Fidelity', the anthem ‘Starmaker' and the mellow ‘Out Here On My Own' all bring back the blissful optimism of the 1980s.

For a whole generation Fame represented an unattainable way of live; dancing and singing all day, having fun, but most of all learning to be famous and rich, and wearing leg-warmers without people laughing at you. This album will bring much of that flooding back to swinging oldies and will appeal to all those that have the original vinyl, but no turntable. I guess you could then, at least, wear your old legwarmers around the house!


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