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David Bowie – The Jean Genie (Live in California, October 1972)

October 21st, 2022 | by Nick

This video is a new edit of the superb footage shot by Mick Rock in San Francisco 28 October 1972, as used in his The Jean Genie promo, recut and synced to an audio of The Jean Genie recorded live in Santa Monica, 20 October 1972.

David Bowie set off for America on the QE2 on 10th September 1972, arriving in New York on the 17th. Rehearsals for the US Ziggy Stardust tour started the following day, at RCA Recording Studios, New York. During rehearsals, auditions were held for pianists for the tour. Mike Garson was chosen.

On the 22nd of September, the US tour commenced at the Cleveland Music Hall. After about 4 or 5 shows there was a pause in the touring schedule for a few days. On the 6th of October a new song was recorded at RCA Studios, New York. The Jean Genie was based on jamming the Yardbirds’ I’m A Man on the tour bus a fortnight earlier. After jamming on the riff “as a laugh” in the studio, with a hastily written lyric, the song took shape. The band recorded the track in one take and added overdubs. An hour and a half later it was complete and they had the next single. Bowie (1973): I wanted to get the same sound the Stones had on their very first album. I didn’t get that near to it, but it had a feel that I wanted – that Sixties thing.

The tour resumed the next day, October 7th. On the 20th of October was the first of two shows at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium. This concert was recorded and broadcast live by KMET-FM, giving Bowie invaluable exposure.

Incidentally, as the broadcast was good quality stereo, it was quickly bootlegged. A couple of decades later, In 1994 the recording was released as Santa Monica ‘72 by the labels Golden Years and Griffin Music in the UK and US respectively. There was dispute as to the legality of these releases. In 2008 the recording was “officially” released in a remastered form as Live Santa Monica ‘72 by EMI.

On the 27th and 28th of October, the band were in San Francisco for two shows at the Winterland Auditorium. On the 27th, Mick Rock filmed Bowie and the band in a studio, along with location shots of Bowie posing at the Mars Hotel with Cyrinda Foxe. The material was intended for a promo video for Jean Genie.

On the following day, Rock looked at the footage and decided that more material was needed, but they had used the entire budget of $350. Mick Rock (1999): Somehow I got some more dollars off DeFries to rent an Arriflex camera – a silent one – and I shot all the live stuff myself the next night, because David did two nights at the Winterland. So, I filmed him singing The Jean Genie that night, processed overnight and, because there was no time, edited in one ten-hour rush. I had to chop it up a lot to keep everything in sync with his live performance, which was fairly close to the recorded version, as he’d only just recorded it.

Roger Griffin’s David Bowie The Golden Years, and David Buckley’s Strange Fascination were invaluable and are liberally quoted in the above information.

Editing the Mick Rock material, it is clear to me that he had to slow it down a lot to sync it to the studio version of Jean Genie. And so I have had to do the reverse – I have sped up the footage by around 15% to match the live performance. What is also very evident to me is what a great job Mick Rock did in capturing the footage. It is surely the best live footage we have of Bowie in 1972. And arguably the best live footage of the entire Ziggy Stardust era.

So it was a no-brainer to try to recycle Mick’s brilliant San Francisco footage and sync it to the Santa Monica live version of The Jean Genie.

Thanks for watching, hope you dig it!

Credits

Video Source:
David Bowie • Jean Genie Promo Video • 28 October 1972 San Francisco Winterland Ballroom • Directed by Mick Rock

Audio Source:
David Bowie • Jean Genie • Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, 20 October 1972 • From the album Live Santa Monica ’72
Mike Moran • recording engineer
Grover Hesley • mixing engineer

Musicians:
David Bowie • vocals, guitar
Mick Ronson • guitar, backing vocals
Trevor Bolder • bass guitar, backing vocals
Woody Woodmansey • drums
Mike Garson • piano

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