Single release: The Jean Genie

David Bowie’s single ‘The Jean Genie’ was released on 24 November 1972.

It was promoted with an advertisement which stated: “Written on the road. Recorded in New York. Mixed in Nashville. The first single to come from Bowie’s triumphant American tour.”

In the UK the song became Bowie’s biggest hit to date, reaching number two in the charts in January 1973, and held off the top spot by Little Jimmy Osmond’s ‘Long-Haired Lover From Liverpool’.

‘The Jean Genie’ reached number three in Ireland, and made the top 10 in the Netherlands. In the US it fared less well, peaking at number 71 on the Billboard Hot 100.

‘The Jean Genie’ was done to be a big hit. Yeah, it’s cute, but it’s not one of my favourites.
Ken Scott
Aladdin Sane – 30th Anniversary Edition

January 1973 saw the release of ‘Blockbuster!’ by the Sweet. By coincidence – according to all parties – the song’s central riff was identical to that of Bowie’s song.

The Sweet’s single fared better, displacing Osmond at the top of the UK charts, also hitting number one in Austria, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands and New Zealand, and becoming a top 10 hit in Finland, Norway, South Africa and Switzerland. It may have been a small consolation to Bowie that ‘Blockbuster!’ went no higher than number 73 in the USA, two places lower than ‘The Jean Genie’.

Last updated: 24 January 2019
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