Sometimes I need to start my day with a deep, reflective moment. And other times, I just need a funky, booty-shaking jam that serves as my soundtrack to my day. Today is the latter. Therefore imagine my delight when I found out that on September 20th, 1975 , Fame by the incomparable David Bowie was the number 1 song. That’s right- 37 years ago, the country had actual taste! I’m kidding. Kind of. “Fame” is one of those “attitude” songs. You know. The kind of song you move your head to and maybe even strut around your apartment to. It’s a track with a funkiness you can’t deny- see the Soul Train dancers in the above clip for further proof.
The song like most Bowie songs has a great back story. Apparently Bowie wrote it as a kind of response to being ticked off at his management company at the time. According to Wikipedia:
Bowie would later describe the song as “nasty, angry,” and fully admits that the song was written “with a degree of malice” aimed at the Mainman management group he had been working with at the time. In 1990 Bowie reflected that “I’d had very upsetting management problems and a lot of that was built into the song. I’ve left that all that behind me, now… I think fame itself is not a rewarding thing. The most you can say is that it gets you a seat in restaurants.”
To make “Fame” even more awesome, the song was co-written by John Lennon, who can also be heard on the backup vocals! Ever the collaborator, Bowie later re-released the song in 1990 with a rap from Queen Latifah back when she was still a badass.
So on a day like today where I’ve got a lot to do a song like “Fame” is the perfect jam to rock out to. But Bowie’s ability to channel a bad experience into something genius is über inspiring as well. Instead of stewing in situations or feeling hopeless, I will try to remember today that I have talents and tools to help me make things better. Also, Bowie’s willingness to collaborate and learn from other artists is something I need to take with me all day too. Mainly, I’ll use “Fame” as my funky, full of swagger, theme song today.
Readers, what’s your Thursday theme song? Post it below!
“Nobody can tell ya there’s only one song worth singing.”
-Make Your Own Kind of Music
Had she survived a massive heart attack in 1974, “Mama” Cass Elliot would have been 71 years-old today. In a short but rich career, Elliot recorded no other song that better described her individuality and “screw ’em if they don’t like you” attitude better than “Make Your Own Kind of Music”. Recorded in 1969 as a followup to her hit, “It’s getting better”, the tune didn’t really make much of an impact at the time and only reached #36 on the Top 40. Elliot struggled to stay relevant as she departed The Mamas and the Papas and as the 60’s were becoming the 70’s. Nevertheless, this curious little pop tune has endured. Barbara Streisand, Bobby Sherman and others have recorded the track but it’s Cass’ version that survives. She really sells the songs corny but sincere message and elevates the track to classic status. Upbeat, catchy and unabashedly optimistic, “Make Your Own Kind of Music” is own of those songs I picture playing during the opening credits of the sitcom based on my life. Anybody else? No? Just me? Okay. Moving right along…
Fans of the show Lost will undoubtedly remember Desmond playing the song on a record player during the season 2 opener entitled, “Man of Science, Man of Faith.” “Make Your Own Kind of Music” shows up in several other episodes and even had a surge on iTunes, thanks to Lost.
According most biographies of Cass Elliot, she struggled with truly loving who she was and suffered a lot of emotional and physical pain due to her struggle with her weight. It’s a shame she never got to really believe the message of personal acceptance that she inspired in her fans. So on this slow-moving Wednesday where there isn’t enough coffee to get me going, I’m going to try to take the song’s message to heart. I have a few “what if they hate it” or “what if I fail” creative projects that I’m going to jump head first into today. Also, it’s important as a creative person to keep going and trust the process so I’m going to try to help others do that today too. Finally, I have to remember to do things in my own voice and not care if “nobody else sings along.”
Happy Birthday Mama Cass and Happy Wednesday, friends!
“They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.”
Andy Warhol would have been 84 today so I thought it appropriate that he be chosen our first Daily Inspiration! This is a new thing I’m doing- I’m looking at art, music, film each day for inspiration and then jotting down a few words. Hopefully, it’ll inspire you too or at least inspire some brilliant comments. You know Andy was a complicated guy but come on what Leo isn’t? Madonna? Lucille Ball (also born today, btw)? Barrack Obama? They’re some fiery folks those Leos and a constant in my life too. Dad, niece and several close friends all Leos. But back to Andy. The guy prided himself on being “deeply superficial” which might have been true yet I suspect there was a soft, scared soul hiding behind those wigs and crowds of famous friends. Love or hate his art, you gotta give him credit for building an empire out of nothing and taking the world by storm.
So Andy, I’m taking that quote posted above to heart, in your honor. Today, I’m not waiting for time to fix things that need fixing. Today, I’m changing a few little things that scare me and embracing the process of change. It’ll feel good and I know just where to start. I wish I had one of those clown noses though.