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Irene Cara Never Happened

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.

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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.

Manly Fame

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.

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  • This makes me very happy.

    • Thanks. I can’t imagine “Irene” is too happy about it, though.

      • Jules

        Never fun being outed.

  • Jessica

    I find it disturbing that I agree with you.

  • I have long advocated that we play snippets of the pitch shifted versions of these songs at concerts.

  • You know who probably has some dirt on this conspiracy? That neon-colored, saxophone-playing duck. He is the Deep Throat of this whole thing, I bet.

  • Jonathan Hordos

    Maybe carribean queen is his alter ego…

  • Mike

    Holy crap!

  • Raven

    I would have said Michael McDonald with a bad head cold, but… Billy Ocean works, too.
    Well done, as well.

  • Fascinating. I have a similar theory about Amy Holland, Michael McDonald’s wife, and McD himself. Listen, original first: http://bit.ly/ftAUji , now a fourth down: http://bit.ly/grLSbr

    • OH MY GOD, Terje.

    • Agreed, holy crap! McD might even as we speak be sending jackbooted thugs to take Terje out!

  • Some people still think Donna Summer’s really a man, so why not Irene Cara?

  • Ted

    1. Michael is really awesome on guitar!
    2. Jason and Michael: Next time, please sing the vocal punches in the chorus in the voice of Michael McDonald.
    3. I’m so glad you’re blogging again, Jason.
    4. Poor Jen had a few bouts of feedback on her mic at the beginning of the song.

  • Egads! Unreal!

  • I am in awe of how your brain must work lol!

  • Cynthiawguidry

    omg are you guys for real? I am embarrassed for you. I feel like I just went to the worst karaoke I’ve ever seen. And, The Fame? Do you not have any original stuff? And by the way, Greg Guidry is a MUCH better vocalist than Michael Mcdonald. But, you guys wouldn’t know that being that you’re not real musicians. You’ll never make it! haha! And everything you were saying about the meaning of the lyrics – you weren’t even close. I was there with him while he wrote those songs and co-wrote a lot of them myself. By the way, I am his wife!