Thursday, August 12, 2010

David Bowie: The Jean Genie

Back in May 2009, Levis issued an ad campaign featuring the David Bowie single “The Jean Genie” as the ad’s primary vehicle. Based on the riff used by the Yardbirds on their interpretation of Bo Diddley’s “I’m a Man,” the song peaked at #2 in the UK where it was surpassed by a song using the same riff – The Sweet’s “Block Buster.” In the US, neither recording did well with Bowie only reaching #71 followed by The Sweet at #73.

It has an infectious rhythm that pulls from its primal rock and roll roots. I purchased the single upon its release in 1972 because it was slated to be a single only release in the US. It remained so until the following year when it appeared on Bowie’s “Alladin Sane” LP. The harmonica was also played by Bowie. The late Mick Ronson of the Spiders from Mars handles lead guitar chores.

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