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The Ziggy Stardust

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"Jean Genie, The" (Bowie): Bowie song (and one of his favourites) from ALADDIN SANE (1973) written one evening in New York for Cyrinda Fox on the 1st US Tour (it developed from an impromptu bus jam between Mick Ronson and Will Palin) and performed on all subsequent Ziggy Stardust concert tours in 1972 and 1973. While largely believed to be about the French playwright Jean Genet - Bowie says that it was actually based on an Iggy Pop-like character with the setting inspired by Max's Kansas City. The song was released as the A-side on "The Jean Genie/Ziggy Stardust" (RCA 2302 - 24 November 1972) having been demoed at RCA's Nashville studios and recorded at RCAs New York studios. The song was banned in Rhodesia as "undesirable."

"I remember all the fantastic times, the excitement, the breathtaking 'breaking-new-ground'.  Do you remember how "The Jean Genie" was written on that chartered Greyhound (NYC/Cleveland/Nashville/NYC - not sure guess I need to look up the old diary).  Anyhow it went something like: "Bus, Bus Bus, - we're going 'Busin'!" was the jam that Mick and I started!  Next thing you know we're loading-in the backline to RCA's studio in New York and a 'classic' is born.  What's the name of the girl with short blond hair I have always thought of as Genie? (Ed: thats Cyrinda Foxe!). That was all before the band and crew decided to fly; leaving David to catch-up by car and Am Track:  Beverly Hills Hotel was something else for a 21 year-old 'roadie'!  How long did we have to wait there?  Two weeks I think!" - Will Palin (2001) to Angie Bowie

"I wanted to get the same sound as the Stones had on their first album on the harmonica. I didn't get that near to it but it had a feel that I wanted - that 60's thing."- Bowie

Some Bowie writers have reported the similarities between the central riff of "The Jean Genie" and The Sweet's "Blockbuster" and some suggest that Bowie may have "borrowed" the Sweet's riff and vice versa.  However, The Jean Genie entered the British Chart on the 9th December 1972 and Blockbuster was released sometime later on the 13th January 1973.  Also the riffs are slightly different with The Jean Genie's riff being "bowmp bowmp bowmp buh-DAH-duh" whereas "Blockbuster"s is "ba-domp ba-domp ba-domp ba-DA-duh".   The Sweet's writers also deny this as below:

Interviewer: The Sweet's No. 1 'Blockbuster' had the same riff as David Bowie's 'The Jean Genie' which charted at the same time. Coincidence?

Nicky Chinn: "Oh, absolute coincidence. The ridiculous thing was, of course, they were both on the same record label (RCA). But I know we had never heard Bowie's 'Jean Genie' and to the best of my knowledge he hadn't heard 'Blockbuster'. There was a lot of fuss about it at the time. I think it's interesting to note, and again it was not a conscious thing on our part, but the riff is extremely similar to 'I'm A Man' by The Yardbirds. Fortunately, we went to No. 1 and Bowie went to 2."  - Record Collector (1998) talking to Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman

JEAN GENIE, THE: Promotional video for "The Jean Genie" single shot in San Francisco in October 1972 and starring Cyrinda Foxe. It can be viewed on BOWIE - THE VIDEO COLLECTION (1993). It was one of the first videos made for music television.

"John, I'm Only Dancing" (Bowie): Bonus song on THE RISE AND FALL OF ZIGGY STARDUST AND THE SPIDERS FROM MARS (1972).

JOHN, I'M ONLY DANCING: Promotional video for "John, I'm Only Dancing" filmed by Mick Rock during the afternoon rehearsal for the Rainbow Theatre concert on 19 August 1972. This was Bowie's first video release for RCA. It can be viewed on BOWIE - THE VIDEO COLLECTION (1993). Oddly, the first time the song was played on BBC's Top of the Pops it was accompanied by a film of a young couple dancing on the edge of a cliff and not this video.

Jones, (Anton) Anthony: Jamaican bodyguard on the 1st US Ziggy Stardust Tour.

Jones, David Robert: David Bowie's birth name. Bowie changed his name in the Sixties in order to avoid confusion with Davy Jones - the British lead singer of the American pop group The Monkees. The name was borrowed from the American Jim Bowie of "Bowie knife" fame.

Jones, Haywood Stenton: David Bowie's father.

Jones, (nee Burns) Margaret (aka Peggy): David Bowie's mother.



---This page last modified: 12 Jan 2019---

Ziggy Stardust Scarf (1973)