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"The Jean Genie"
4 January 1973

Radio/TV/Film/Video Index

Recorded & Broadcast: Recorded 3 January 1973, broadcast 4 January 1973. Broadcast again 21 December, 2011.

Live TV performance on BBC's Top of The Pops of "The Jean Genie" once thought lost forever and then rediscovered.  Tapes of this edition of Top of the Pops were wiped, but a copy was made by BBC cameraman John Henshall, who had utilised the then new fisheye lens camera techniques for the performance. John Henshall was contacted by music television aficianado Ray Langstone who persuaded John to share his historic material. The film has since been preserved for posterity and was shown at the British Film Institute in December 2011, then rebroadcast by the BBC.

Video credit: Grabmore

"The Jean Genie" performed live on Top of The Pops

Till 2011, this TV performance was undocumented and had not appeared before in any form - bootleg or official. The above colourised picture taken from pg. 60 of Dave Thompson's Moonage Daydream book was a clue but had the caption "David and Mick Ronson perform[ing] "The Starman" on BBC 1's Top of The Pops". Just visible in the lower right corner is a BBC camera.  However, this was not  true because the costumes shown are different to those worn on for Starman on ToTPs.  Bowie is also shown with a later hairstyle and shaved eyebrows (which he did in October 1972). Finally the TOTP background more closely resembles that used in late 1972 & early 1973.  And with the visual evidence of the event, one fan even had an audio tape recording to prove it. Later evidence indicates that it was actually broadcast on the 4th January 1973:

"Mike. At long last, confirmation that "The Jean Genie" ...exists. I have a recording of this performance in my possession. Ronson's solo is brilliant. Its a very dry mix, lots of harmonica and Ronno's unique guitar sound and style of solo. The only problem is I've lost the last four or five seconds of the song right at the end. It originally finished with Ziggy shouting "Whey!" The sound quality is not brilliant, but it is listenable. Comparable to maybe the quality of the "Va Va Va Vroom" bootleg. Could you let other Ziggy fans know that it did happen. I thought it was just me! It was a long time ago, but this is as accurate as I can be. It would have probably been performed on Top of the Pops on the last Thursday of 1972. That would be December 28th...The situation was thus. I was away at a Xmas party and asked my cousin to record the song for me. This he did with a typical tape cassette recorder of the time. He dangled the cheap mike in front of the television speaker, and luckily for me, I loved it, and hence kept it. Years later I taped the recording onto another tape losing some quality and maybe the last 4 seconds of the song, which ended with the Love Me Do style harmonica, finishing with Bowie giving a "Whey!" to end the song. I still have this second generation copy which is ok. I have written to the BBC to see if they could help, but I guess they were not that bothered, and I had the standard reply, which was that they did not have any record of such an event. But reading in between the lines, I guess they didn't put too much effort into it either. All Ziggy fans deserve to hear it." - Mervyn

---This page last modified: 18 Dec 2018---

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