Travel: Cleveland to Memphis

David Bowie and the Spiders From Mars travelled from Cleveland, Ohio to Memphis, Tennessee on 23 September 1972.

They went by bus, in part due to Bowie’s fear of flying, but the long journeys helped the band members bond. Their second US show was at the Ellis Auditorium in Memphis on 24 September.

On the way to Memphis, during an impromptu guitar jam at the back of the bus, the seeds for what would become ‘The Jean Genie’ were sown. I think George Underwood was playing around with chords that were very similar to the Yardbirds’ cover of Bo Diddley’s ‘I’m A Man’. Mick was also playing guitar. The whole bus was singing ‘We’re bus, bussing, bussing along’, something banal like that, and it kind of summed up the general feeling. The melody and phrasing was not too dissimilar to the part of the chorus in ‘The Jean Genie’.
Woody Woodmansey
Spider From Mars: My Life With Bowie
Last updated: 17 May 2023
Live: Music Hall, Cleveland, Ohio
Live: Ellis Auditorium, Memphis, Tennessee
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