THE KIDS FROM FAME "STARMAKER"
by Mark Nobes, chief editor
Based on the 1980 movie, the Fame TV series became very popular here in the UK from 1982-83, which led to cast members forming The Kids From Fame music group to try and cash in on their popularity. They released five albums and five singles in the UK during 1982 and 1983.
The group's self-titled debut album was released in July 1982 which topped the UK album charts for twelve weeks. In August, a debut single "Hi Fidelity" was released and this reached #5 in the UK singles chart.
A follow-up single was quickly released in September, which was even more successful, reaching #3 on 17th Oct for two weeks - during this time Culture Club were at No.1 with "Do You Really Want To Hurt Me". "Starmaker" had entered the charts at #38 on 26th Sept while Musical Youth were at No.1 with "Pass The Dutchie".
In October 1982, The Kids From Fame released their second album Again which reached No.2 in the UK album charts. However, as the popularity of both the TV show and musical group started to wane, a third single "Mannequin" failed to break into the Top 40, stalling at #'50.
However, the gang did manage to achieve success with another three albums during 1983. Live! reached #8 and featured live recordings of their performances at UK concerts. Songs reached #14 and Sing With You reached #28. No more albums were released in the UK after this. They did, however, released a video during 1983 entitled Live at the Royal Albert Hall.
The clean-cut image of the group was called to question by the media during 1983, with stories emerging about backstage arguments, excessive drinking and drug-taking. During their tour of Europe, vocalist Erica Gimpel walked out of the tour and headed back to the U.S. following a row with Debbie Allen over the playlist. There were allegations of Allen being domineering, although Allen later stated that she was upset by the comments and that she was merely trying to keep the group under control during a time when the group were up late partying and drinking.
In 2003, some of the cast members were reunited by the BBC for a special programme, in which the group performed "Starmaker" to a piano arrangement by Lee Curreri who played Bruno Martelli in the series. Curreri also apperared in Channel 4's Bring Back.. Fame programme in 2008, which, once again, reunited some of the cast members. It was presented by Justin Lee Collins.
Did you know that in season 4 of the TV series, Janet Jackson played Cleo Hewitt?