Acoustic ’80s is back in rehearsals and learning new material for a bunch of gigs over the next few months. That means we’re digging through our ’80s collections, picking out songs we’d like to try, and adapting them to our style. And sometimes that means changing the keys on the songs — especially the ones originally sung by girls. To find the right key for me, I use a pitch-adjusting program on my computer.
A couple of years ago, we were contemplating doing “Fame,” which you may remember from a movie, also coincidentally titled Fame. Or the TV show, which, holy crap, was also titled Fame. The theme song was sung by Irene Cara.
Well, I sure as shit can’t sing it in this key. So I lowered the song by five semitones. And this is what I heard.
Two thoughts instantly came to me:
1) Ha ha ha ha ha ha! I shall name this version “Manly Fame.”
2) You know who this sounds like?
It’s Billy Ocean, seen here at 1/78th of his normal size and holding on to a Pick-up Stick for dear life. Maybe I’m crazy, but to me, the resemblance is uncanny. The key, the tone, presumably the beard — totally Billy Ocean. So at first, I was like, wow, if you lower Irene Cara five semitones, you get Billy Ocean.
But wait a second. What if Irene Cara is — and always has been — Billy Ocean raised five semitones? What if Irene Cara never happened?
Look, I know it’s a crazy theory. But Billy Ocean, though on the scene in the late ’70s/early ’80s, didn’t really hit it big until 1984. What if he was just used by the industry to create Irene Cara? His real name, Leslie Sebastian Charles, is even a female name!
Just think about it. Don’t come to a decision now. But have you ever seen them in the same room together?
We did eventually perform “Fame,” by the way. We just decided to perform it with our friend Jen singing lead.