Fake (Alexander O'Neal song)

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Fake cdm.jpg
Single by Alexander O'Neal
from the album Hearsay
GenrePost-disco, dance-pop, R&B
Songwriter(s)James Harris, Terry Lewis
Producer(s)James Harris, Terry Lewis
Alexander O'Neal singles chronology
"You Were Meant to Be My Lady (Not My Girl)"

"Fake" is a song written by Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis and recorded by American recording artist Alexander O'Neal. It is the first single from the singer's second solo album, Hearsay (1987). It is one of the artist's most recognizable signature songs, and a favorite of many O'Neal fans worldwide.


The song's lyrics are a personal commentary, critical of a loudmouth – implied to be a groupie. The woman being criticized continues to change details about her wardrobe, personality and history with each successive date, causing the narrator's response that she is a fraudulent person. On the accompanying album Hearsay, "Fake" is preceded by a brief interlude in which a belligerent woman accidentally knocks a man's drink onto his shirt at a party and insists it was his fault. He and his friends defend themselves, eventually deriding her bad behavior as the song begins.


The single was O'Neal's most successful song on both the US soul and pop charts. "Fake" went to number one on the Hot Black Singles chart for two weeks, and peaked at number 25 on the Hot 100.[1] The single was also O'Neal's most successful single on the dance charts, peaking at number seven.[2] It initially reached number 33 on the UK Singles Chart in 1987, but would reach a higher peak of number 16 with the release of a remixed version in 1988.

In popular culture[edit]

  • The song was later interpolated for Patti LaBelle's 1997 hit, "When You Talk About Love", repeating the "Patti Patti" refrain after the singer demands her background to say her name.
  • The song was also a part of the Black Mirror episode "San Junipero". The main characters Kelly and Yorkie perform their first dance to this song at Tucker's, an '80s style club.

Track listing[edit]

  • 12" Maxi (Tabu TBU 650859 6, 650859 6)
  1. "Fake (Extended Version)" - 5:20
  2. "Fake (Edited Version)" - 3:11
  3. "Fake (Patty Mix)" - 3:10
  4. "Fake (A Cappella)" - 2:20
  5. "Fake (Instrumental)" - 4:35
  • 7" Single (Tabu ZS4-07100)
  1. "Fake (Edited Version)" - 3:10
  2. "A Broken Heart Can Mend" - 3:40


Credits are adapted from the album's liner notes.[3]

  • Alexander O'Neal - lead vocals
  • Jimmy Jam - drum and keyboard programming, keyboards, percussion, backing vocals
  • Terry Lewis - percussion, backing vocals
  • Jerome Benton, Jellybean Johnson, James 'Popeye' Greer, Jimmy Jam, Terry Lewis - fake fellas

Sales chart performance[edit]

Peak positions[edit]

Chart (1987) Peak
Belgium VRT Top 30[4] 15
Dutch MegaCharts[5] 20
German Media Control Charts[6] 17
Swiss Music Charts[7] 22
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[8] 16
UK Singles Chart[9] 33
US Billboard Hot 100[10] 25
US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs[10] 1
US Hot Dance Club Songs[10] 7
US Cash Box Top 100[11] 29


  1. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 440.
  2. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Hot Dance/Disco: 1974-2003. Record Research. p. 194.
  3. ^ Hearsay liner notes. Tabu Records. 1987.
  4. ^ "BEL Charts > Alexander O'Neal". VRT Top 30. Archived from the original on 2012-04-09. Retrieved 2012-05-26.
  5. ^ "NL Charts > Alexander O'Neal". MegaCharts. Archived from the original on 2015-04-10. Retrieved 2012-05-26.
  6. ^ "GER Charts > Alexander O'Neal". Media Control Charts. Archived from the original on August 26, 2014. Retrieved 2012-05-26.
  7. ^ "SWI Charts > Alexander O'Neal". Swiss Music Charts. Archived from the original on 2005-01-26. Retrieved 2012-05-26.
  8. ^ "NZ Charts > Alexander O'Neal". Recording Industry Association of New Zealand. Retrieved 2012-05-26.
  9. ^ "UK Charts > Alexander O'Neal". Official Charts Company. Archived from the original on 2012-06-28. Retrieved 2012-05-26.
  10. ^ a b c "US Singles Charts > Alexander O'Neal". Billboard. Retrieved 2012-05-26.
  11. ^ "CASH BOX Top 100 Singles – Week ending October 3, 1987". Archived from the original on 6 October 2012. Retrieved 2018-09-22.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)Cash Box magazine.