This was one of the first tracks Bowie wrote in New York City. He loves the city and has written many of his songs there. Bowie says that this is about a “a New York lady and a guy who lives in New York and he’s called The Jean Genie”
This song has two likely influences: Iggy Pop and Cyrinda Foxe. Many of the lyrics reflect Iggy Pop’s lifestyle and stage antics (he often slithered around on stage and cut himself). Cyrinda Foxe was an actress who starred in commercials for Jean Genie jeans. Legend has it that Bowie wrote this in Foxe’s apartment in an effort to entertain her.
Cyrinda Foxe was Aerosmith lead singer Steven Tyler’s first wife – they married not long after she broke up with David Johansen of The New York Dolls. They had a daughter together, but got a bitter divorce. In 1996, she wrote a tell-all book about Tyler called Dream On, alleging that he didn’t pay much child support. Tyler tried unsuccessfully to stop publication, and was very angry with Foxe, but they became friends once again when Cyrinda learned she had brain cancer. Tyler paid her medical bills until her death in 2002.
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