Remembering Irene Cara: 5 Hits from the Eighties
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Remembering Irene Cara: 5 Hits from the Eighties

Remembering Irene Cara: 5 Hits from the Eighties, Irene Cara and Fame

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            Irene Cara is well remembered in 1980 for the film “Fame” which led to her phenomenal rise to stardom. Born 18 March 1959 of Puerto Rican father and American mother with Cuban descent, Irene’s singing ability developed through her numerous TV appearances from childhood to Broadway theatrical shows when she came of age. In the filming of the movie “Fame” she was originally a part of the cast as dancer however her voice was noticed leading to the rewriting of the script where she both sang the title song “Fame” and the film’s second soundtrack “Out Here On My Own” in her role as Coco Hernandez. This brought the film’s Academy Award for the title song as Best Original Song and a Grammy Award for the same category as well as Irene’s Grammy nomination. In 1986, Irene Cara exchanged marriage vows with Hollywood stuntman Conrad Palmisano with whom she got divorced in 1991.

Fame (1980) – Originally written by Michael Gore and Dean Pitchford with the former credited for the music and the latter, the lyrics, this song started it all for Irene Cara. Also the theme song for the movie of the same title sang by Irene Cara in her role as Coco Hernandez, “Fame” won the Academy Award for Best Original Song and the Golden Globe Award for the same category. By the summer of 1980, “Fame” was ranked no. 4 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and took the top slot on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Play chart for a week.

Out Here On My Own (1980) – The second soundtrack from the movie “Fame”, also nominated for an Academy Award and sang by Irene Cara in her role as Coco Hernandez. Although this song didn’t made it after the nomination where the main song "Fame" which was also the title song of the movie did, both songs as part of the film soundtrack achieved a multi-platinum album in sales, that is exceeding 4 million units worldwide.

Anyone Can See (1982) – This song was released as the album title of Irene’s debut album (considering "Fame" and "Out Here On My Own" were both part of a film soundtrack album). The album was a selection of 10 R&B songs with “Reach Out I’ll Be There” as the first track and this song as the third track. “Anyone Can See” made it on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart and was ranked no. 42.

Why Me (1983) – Featured as the first track for Irene Cara’s second album “What A Feelin’ ”, this song made it on the 13th slot of the US Billboard Hot 100 chart. With the rise of dance-pop and Euro disco songs in after effect of the disco years of the 70s, this album made a competitive stand with Giorgio Moroder alongside as producer and with Irene Cara herself who had co-written most of the songs.

Flashdance . . . What A Feeling (1983) – A song jointly written by Giorgio Moroder, Keith Forsey, and Irene Cara with the latter performing the song, it became the theme soundtrack for the film “Flashdance” (1983) with Jennifer Beals on the lead role. Coincidentally, this song replicated the fate of the song "Fame" winning both the Academy Award for Best Original Song and the Golden Globe Award for the same category. This song performed better than "Fame" however, making it to no. 1 on both Billboard Hot 100 and Billboard Hot Dance Club Play charts making it Irene Cara's only chart topping hit song in the US..


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Comments (8)

these were great songs, especially Fame and What a feeling. these are songs everyone knows, no matter the age. however, it seems despite her obvious talent, she just didn't quite make it. A shame

Great reads and songs here, thanks.

Thanks for the comments Susan, Chan. Actually Irene Cara turned down an offer to keep her role as Coco Hernandez in the sequel of the film "Fame" to focus on her singing career. Unfortunately the record company didn't paid her royalties for her records' sales which resulted in a lawsuit that probably delayed her recording progress.

I love Irene Cara. 'Out Here On My Own' is my favorite. Good list, Will :)

Cool one Will.

I remembered those songs too well, Will.

Just hearing her name makes me hear What a Feeling. That's a shot down memory lane.

Wonderful. Very much enjoyed.Thank you.