The Jean Genie

The Jean Genie (David Bowie)

  • 18 Aug 13:24
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"The Jean Genie" is a song by David Bowie, originally released as a single in November 1972. According to Bowie, it was "a smorgasbord of imagined Americana", with a protagonist inspired by Iggy Pop, and the title being a pun on author Jean Genet. One of Bowie’s most famous tracks, it was the lead single for the album Aladdin Sane (1973). Promoted with a film clip featuring Andy Warhol associate Cyrinda Foxe, it peaked at #2 on the UK charts.

"The Jean Genie" was composed and recorded in New York City, where Bowie spent time with the Warhol set's Cyrinda Foxe. The song's chugging R&B riff is often compared to The Yardbirds (and specifically their cover of Bo Diddley's "I'm a Man") while the lyrics have been likened to the "stylised sleaze" of The Velvet Underground. The subject matter was inspired in part by Bowie's friend Iggy Pop or, in Bowie's own words, "an Iggy-type character... it wasn't actually Iggy." The line "He's so simple minded, he can't drive his module" would later give the band Simple Minds their name. The title has long been taken as a pun on the name of author Jean Genet. Bowie was once quoted as saying that this was "subconscious... but it's probably there, yes"....

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