Classic Rock News

British rock singer David Bowie performs with an acoustic guitar on stage, in costume as 'Ziggy Stardust,' circa 1973.

Aladdin Sane turns 50 years old on April 13th, 2023.  Where does the time go?  This album has some of my favorite Bowie tracks, namely “Panic in Detroit” and “The Jean Genie.”  Aladdin Sane has a pronounced Iggy Pop influence… especially on those two tracks.  We’ll get to the story behind “Panic in Detroit” on another day.  Today’s story behind the song belongs to David Bowie’s “The Jean Genie.”

David Bowie - Aladdin Sane

Courtesy of RCA Records.

There are two main influences on “The Jean Genie:” Iggy Pop and Cyrinda Foxe. In his book, Moonage Daydream, Bowie wrote, “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.” ** (Jean Genet is a French writer)

Iggy slithered on stage, cut himself, and certainly has a history of drug use.

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

Cyrinda Foxe was a model and actress.  She starred in a series of commercials for Jean Genie jeans.  The story goes that Bowie wrote the song while hanging out with Cyrinda.  It started out more as a joke… something to entertain her.  Cyrinda is in the video for “Jean Genie” with Bowie posing and dancing on the street.

(She was also Steven Tyler’s first wife… they married 5 years after Bowie released Aladdin Sane)

David Bowie’s “The Jean Genie” – The Video

“The Jean Genie” was the first of many songs that David Bowie would write in New York.

The lyric “He’s so simple-minded, he can’t drive his module,” inspired the name of the band Simple Minds.

David Bowie: His 40 Greatest Songs


Donielle Fynn is a Michigan native with two kids, two dogs, two cats, a love of yoga, and all things classic rock.

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