29/5/16 – David Bowie – The Jean Genie – Top Of The Pops Live – 1973 / The Jean Genie – Video Starring Cyrinda Foxe – 1972

Video Of The Day

Song Of The Day

The Jean Genie single cover 1972Don’t worry, I’m not finished yet and thanks to some helpful suggestions, the tragedy of classic No.2 songs being held off the No.1 spot by unworthy chart toppers continues. The Jean Genie was released by David Bowie in November 1972 as the first single from the forthcoming album Aladdin Sane released in April 1973. The song alluding to French writer and thief Jean Genet was allegedly written by Bowie to impress Warhol girl Cyrinda Foxe, also loosely inspired by Iggy Pop. Foxe appears in the video put together by Bowie cohort and photographer Mick Rock. She married first New York Doll David Johansen and then Steven Tyler.

Novelty songs, what to do with novelty songs? In the end it doesn’t mean anything reaching No.1 does it? But what if you don’t make No.1 because Little Jimmy Osmond has stopped you getting there with a song called Long Haired Lover From Liverpool? You’d probably be frustrated, or perhaps driven to tears. Being 15 in 1973 and living near Liverpool, this song was never far out of earshot and I remember seeing Little Jimmy on television kicking his legs in the air as he pranced across the stage a precocious 9 year old in a white jump suit. Shouldn’t novelty songs have been excluded from the charts? Maybe they should be excluded from Earth? It’s just not fair is it? Ha Ha.

The Jean Genie wasn’t the most original song ever written and when The Sweet’s Block Buster came out soon after with the same riff and reached No. 1 Bowie allegedly first cursed writers Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman before congratulating them on their success as they claimed the similarities between the songs riffs was pure coincidence or perhaps too much of a standard Rock and Roll motif to copyright. The song was The Sweet’s only UK No.1.

The Top Of The Pops appearance is unique in that it is absolutely live and showcases Mick Ronson’s classic guitar tone and feel. The BBC had erased a lot of Top Of The Pops episodes and this was thought to be lost but for one of the cameramen that was in charge of the fisheye lens had made a copy for himself.

It’s hard to accept that David Bowie, Mick Ronson and Trevor Bolder are no longer with us.

A small Jean Genie snuck off to the city
Strung out on lasers and slash back blazers
Ate all your razors while pulling the waiters
Talking ’bout Monroe and walking on Snow White
New York’s a go-go and everything tastes right
Poor little Greenie

The Jean Genie lives on his back
The Jean Genie loves chimney stacks
He’s outrageous, he screams and he bawls
Jean Genie let yourself go!

Sits like a man but he smiles like a reptile
She loves him, she loves him but just for a short while
She’ll scratch in the sand, won’t let go his hand
He says he’s a beautician and sells you nutrition
And keeps all your dead hair for making up underwear
Poor little Greenie

The Jean Genie lives on his back
The Jean Genie loves chimney stacks
He’s outrageous, he screams and he bawls
Jean Genie let yourself go!

He’s so simple minded he can’t drive his module
He bites on the neon and sleeps in the capsule
Loves to be loved, loves to be loved

The Jean Genie lives on his back
The Jean Genie loves chimney stacks
He’s outrageous, he screams and he bawls
Jean Genie let yourself go!

The Jean Genie lives on his back
The Jean Genie loves chimney stacks
He’s outrageous, he screams and he bawls
Jean Genie let yourself go!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Bowie

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mick_Ronson

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trevor_Bolder

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mick_Woodmansey

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Jean_Genie

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aladdin_Sane

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyrinda_Foxe

 

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7 Responses to “29/5/16 – David Bowie – The Jean Genie – Top Of The Pops Live – 1973 / The Jean Genie – Video Starring Cyrinda Foxe – 1972”

  1. landmarkdisc May 29, 2016 at 4:17 am #

    I would have thought little Jimmy expressed more that you could relate too Marty 🙂

    This Bowie release was significant in announcing his enigmatic ability to grab attention. The first hearing was totp and Bowie in straw wedge stacked heels, at a time when we chaps were secure wearing (awful) platforms. I even got a knee length knitted cardigan – I’m sure my Dad was horrified ….Alice Cooper posters upset him enough!
    Gene Genie was really simple to grasp, and most of Aladdin Sane was better, to my teenaged ears.
    He was the big deal of the day, and charismatic live. I’d seen him heckled months earlier as a support to The Groundhogs, then worshipped by rabid flower & teddy throwing fans by this time.
    Amazing.

  2. simone May 29, 2016 at 5:51 am #

    Often known as “the greyhound bus song” by Bowie’s then band,the riff was also very similar to I’m A Man by The Yardbirds ( previously recorded by Bo Diddley and Muddy Waters). The Jean Genie was also banned in Rhodesia(Zimbabwe) for being “undesirable”!
    Whenever I listen to Bowie this is one of the songs that I always start with. Bowie’s music will live on,but, I still can’t get over the fact that he is gone.

  3. delay plus chorus May 29, 2016 at 6:51 pm #

    If you take it as axiomatic that philistines outnumber aesthetes — or more broadly, that at any given time there are more dumb people than smart ones — the idea that an amazing song like “Jean Genie” would be held down by lesser works makes more sense.

    Anyway, here’s another I’m kind of ambivalent about: Elton John’s brilliant “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” peaked at No. 2 in December 1973, held at bay by the Carpenters’ “Top of the World” and Charlie Rich’s “The Most Beautiful Girl in the World.”

    I tend to think the Carpenters are under-appreciated in the songwriting department, for proof of which I submit the “If I Were a Carpenter” tribute album. Hearing Sonic Youth cover “Superstar,” and American Music Club adopt “Goodbye to Love,” will make you see the Wholesome Twosome in a much different light. That said, “Top of the World” was definitely one of their more saccharine tracks, and the idea that it held down the incisive “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road,” somewhat rankles.

    Not sure what to think of the Charlie Rich song, except that it was something everyone’s parents and aunts and uncles liked, and I suspect many, many more joints were rolled over the Elton John album cover, and that should be enough.

    • delay plus chorus May 30, 2016 at 10:03 am #

      Gah! I need to stay on my toes — “Superstar” was written by Delaney and Bonnie, and I’d forgotten the Carpenters relied on other writers (like Bacharach and Paul Williams) or various co-writers with Richard for a lot of their best-know tracks. I suppose I could have cited Red Kross covering “Yesterday Once More,” though.

  4. Selwyn May 30, 2016 at 4:31 pm #

    Oh my that Top of The Pops video is terrific. I don’t remember ever hearing Bowie’s voice so in tune live. Too bad the song doesn’t allow Mick Ronson to really shine. (Where would Bowie have been without him?)

    Is this Little Jimmy Osmond the youngest of the Donny/Marie Osmond clan from America? I have no memory of the song, but that’s probably a good thing.

    • Selwyn May 30, 2016 at 4:52 pm #

      P.S. Aged 16 at the time, I had already jumped the Bowie ship and tied my raft to Mott The Hoople. (No regrets!)

      Speaking of MTH, I heard an interview of Iggy Pop in which he said that at some point Bowie offered to produce the Stooges and contribute a song or two. (Something like that anyway.) The Stooges either turned him down, or it didn’t work out for some reason. Iggy said that that was probably a good thing, because the Stooges would have become Mott The Hoople. (This is from Marc Maron’s WTF podcast a few years ago.)

    • simone May 31, 2016 at 1:02 am #

      Yes it is the very same Osmond clan, who at the time were riding the crest of a wave in terms of popularity in the UK.

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