Thursday, January 3, 2013

40 Year Itch : The Lost Jean Genie Performance

On January 3rd, 1973, David Bowie recorded this performance of "The Jean Genie" live to air the following night on the BBC's "Top of the Pops". Check out Mick Ronson's extended guitar solo and Bowie's extended harmonica solo! Tapes of the show had been wiped and the video was lost for decades before the only man with a copy, cameraman John Henshall (whose fish-eye lens shots are used several times here),  made it available for the BBC to re-air in 2011, much to the delight of rock fans worldwide.


"The Jean Genie", featuring its dirty Bo Diddley riff and lyrics that may be about Iggy Pop, was released November 24, 1972 and peaked at #2 in the UK but only #71 in the US. The Sweet's "Blockbuster", released in January of 1973, shares the same beat and heavy guitar sound. But both Bowie and Sweet have all agreed it was coincidence.
     Songwriter Nicky Chinn described a meeting with Bowie at which the latter "looked at me completely deadpan and said 'Cunt!' And then he got up and gave me a hug and said, 'Congratulations...' After all "Blockbuster" went #1.


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