The Kids from Fame

The Kids from “Fame” was the group name of several cast members from the US TV series Fame who had a number of hit singles and albums at the height of the show’s success in the UK. This success culminated in tours of the UK where they performed live in concert. A live album was subsequently released.

The group came to prominence in the summer of 1982 when the series first aired in the UK and a single “Hi Fidelity” reached No.5.Along with this an album was released: The Kids from “Fame”, which reached No.1 for 12 weeks. A series of singles and albums followed over the next 12 months with songs taken from the show’s first three seasons. By the summer of 1983, interest in the show was beginning to wane and the releases abruptly stopped, although the TV series carried on until 1987.

The main vocalists of the group were Debbie AllenValerie LandsburgErica GimpelCarlo ImperatoGene Anthony RayLee Curreri, and Lori Singer.

In late 1982 the cast members as The Kids from “Fame” performed some live shows in the UK, which led to a fuller tour of Europe in early 1983. These included a show at the Royal Albert Hall in London which was recorded and released as an album. It was during the 1983 tour that stories began to emerge in the press that things were not so harmonious off-stage with stories of drug-taking, alcohol abuse and backstage rows. During the tour Erica Gimpel and Debbie Allen had a disagreement over the choice of a song which ultimately led to Gimpell walking out of the tour and heading back to the US.

The tour carried on without her, but led to further press reports of how Allen was being domineering over the others and was labelled in one article as “a bitch”. Allen later commented on the accusations saying that they upset her, but in reality was just trying to keep the group together and focussed amid the late-night parties and mayhem (which included Gene Anthony Ray smashing up a dressing room at one point). Several members commented that they were unaware of the success of the show until they arrived in London, which they found overwhelming. Prior to this, Valerie Landsburg did some promotional work alone in the UK during the summer of 1982 to promote the “Hi Fidelity” single, which was riding high in the charts at the time.

In 2003 a BBC TV special reunited several members of the group to talk about their time on the show and as the performing group. The special culminated in them performing the song “Starmaker” to Lee Curreri’s piano accompaniment. This was Gene Anthony Ray’s last on-screen appearance before his death some months later.

Subsequently, in 2008, television presenter Justin Lee Collins travelled to America to unite various members of the group in a show titled Bring Back…Fame. They spoke of their success as a group in the UK and their live shows, and mentioned Gimpel quitting the group during the tour due to the pressures. Lansburg also talked about her surprise at the success of “Hi Fidelity”. Curreri spoke about the music, saying that he was the only member to contribute to the writing of the songs and the only member to play an instrument on the recordings (synthesizer). However, Lori Singer also played the cello on some of the recordings. The show was transmitted on 27 December 2008.

Discography

Singles

  • August 1982- Hi Fidelity UK #5
  • September 1982- Starmaker UK #3
  • November 1982- Mannequin UK #50
  • February 1983- Friday Night (Live Version) UK#13
  • June 1983- Body Language UK #76
  • September 1983- Songs UK #-

Albums

  • July 1982- The Kids from Fame UK #1
  • October 1982- Again UK #2
  • February 1983- Live! UK #8
  • May 1983- Songs UK #14
  • August 1983- Sing For You UK #28
  • 1984- Rock ‘N’ Roll World UK #-
  • 1984- Best of Fame UK #-

The albums Again and Sing for You were not released in the U.S.

The artist name for the album Rock ‘N Roll World is given as Fame, rather than The Kids From “Fame” as was used on the earlier releases.

No separate artist name is given on the album Best of Fame.

CD re-releases: The Kids from “Fame” (RCA ND90427, UK/Europe only) and Best of Fame (RCA PD84961, UK/Europe only).

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