“The Jean Genie”.


“The Jean Genie”
   Lyrics                        Video
from the album    Aladdin Sane
B-side “Ziggy Stardust”
Released 24 November 1972
Format 7″ single
Recorded RCA Studios, New York City
6 October 1972
Length 4:07
Label RCA
Writer(s) David Bowie
The David Bowie  Singles
The Jean Genie
More from Aladdin Sane album
“Let’s Spend the Night Together”
The Jean Genie
“Lady Grinning Soul”

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 an allusion to 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 No. 2 on the UK Singles chart.

Bowie composed “The Jean Genie” in autumn 1972, completing the song in New York City, where he spent time with Cyrinda Foxe. Bowie would later assert, “I wrote it for her amusement in her apartment. Sexy girl.” The recording took place at  on 6 October 1972. Mixing occurred the following week at RCA Studio B in Nashville, Tennessee;  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 an allusion to the author Jean Genet. Bowie was once quoted as saying that this was “subconscious… but it’s probably there, yes”. In his 2005 book Moonage Daydream, he stated this less equivocally: “Starting out as a lightweight riff thing I had written one evening in NY for Cyrinda’s enjoyment, I developed the lyric to the otherwise wordless pumper and it ultimately turned into a bit of a smorgasbord of imagined Americana … based on an Iggy-type persona … The title, of course, was a clumsy pun upon Jean Genet”. star2