David Bowie and the Spiders From Mars recorded ‘The Jean Genie’ on 6 October 1972.
The session took place in Studio D at RCA Studios, 155 East 24th Street, Manhattan. It was Bowie’s first recording to be self-produced.
The backing track was recorded in a single take, after which overdubs were added. The released version kept Bowie’s admonishment “Get back on it” as the band entered the first chorus one bar early.
It took about a day to get the basic track down plus some overdubs, then a few more overdubs the next day. It’s a great song, simple but full of energy with that huge guitar riff of Mick’s, held in check by me and Trevor. I love the famous fuck-up in it where Trevor goes to the chorus too early. He pointed it out to Bowie at the time and Bowie said, ‘Leave it in, I like it.’ When we played that song live, Bowie told Trev to repeat the mistake. It was mixed in RCA Nashville, Studio B, and was to be our next single.
Spider From Mars: My Life With Bowie
Following the session, Bowie and the band boarded a Greyhound bus for Chicago. ‘The Jean Genie’ was completed the following day.
Also on this day...
- 1969: Editing: David Bowie (1969)
- 1966: Live: David Bowie and the Buzz, Adam & Eve Club, Southampton
- 1964: Recording: Hello Stranger, Duke Of Earl, Love Is Strange
Want more? Visit the David Bowie history section.