Tag Archives: Memorabilia

➤ Bowie’s “lost” Jean Genie from 1973 to be aired on Top of the Pops this week

David Bowie, Jean Genie, Top of the Pops, Mick Ronson,video,John Henshall,

1973 revisited: Bowie and Ronson singing Jean Genie in the "lost" Top of the Pops performance. (Videograb © BBC, courtesy of John Henshall/Bowie.net)

❚ HOT NEWS OF A CHRISTMAS TREAT for Bowie fans. They have waited for almost 40 years to see his only Top of the Pops performance of The Jean Genie with The Spiders from Mars in January 1973 — shirtless, though clad in an open satin jacket. The tape was long thought to have been wiped or lost.

However a former BBC cameraman recently discovered that he possessed the only broadcast-quality copy in pristine condition, and today Bowie Wonderworld announced that entertainment boss Mark Cooper has arranged to have it included in this Wednesday’s 90-minute collection of classic Christmas hits (TOTP2, 7.30pm). The intention had been to unveil the clip in the BBC4 documentary Tales of Television Centre in the New Year, but enthusiastic fans persuaded him to bring forward its screening, even though you won’t see the track listed in the online billings.

As executive producer of Top Of The Pops 2, Cooper said: “I can’t imagine what other piece of TOTP from the early 70s would be as extraordinary a find.”

Bowie’s performance of The Jean Genie was recorded on Jan 3, 1973 and transmitted the following day for the first and only time. The “lost” recording — copy on 2-inch broadcast videotape — was screened last week at the NFT’s Missing Believed Wiped event. BowieNet’s news editor enthused: “A shirtless David looks amazing as he shakes maracas and blows on the harmonica. It’s clear David and the Spiders were at their peak when this video footage was shot, just a few days before David’s 26th birthday.”

Andy Barding, another privileged witness, added: “The first screening of the newly rediscovered clip of Bowie, Ronson, Woodmansey and Bolder performing The Jean Genie on Top of the Pops saw a packed National Film Theatre struck agog at the majesty of Ziggy in action: in pristine, full-colour TV quality. David, with deep-red hair, shaved brows and bafflingly wide trousers, looked every inch the epitome of what we recall as glam.”

➢ Read Barding’s full appreciation of the lost clip at BowieNet

David Bowie, Jean Genie, Top of the Pops, Mick Ronson,video,John Henshall

TOTP 1973: Jean Genie viewed through John Henshall’s innovative fish-eye lens. (Videograb © BBC, courtesy of John Henshall/Bowie.net)

The Jean Genie single had been released in November 1972, and the January 4 transmission on the BBC’s flagship pop show boosted it to peak at Number 2 in the UK singles chart. The track was remixed for Bowie’s sixth album Aladdin Sane in April 1973 which divided critics over his genius. The Jean Genie surfed in on the inspirational wave caused by the arrival of Ziggy Stardust and the Starman in July 1972, when Bowie’s Top of the Pops appearance years later passed into legend as the glam-rock moment that shaped the imaginations of a teen generation who were to become the popstars of the 80s.

➢ Update Dec 21: Bowie’s friend Wendy Kirby spots herself dancing in Jean Genie for the first time

➢ Glitter versus Glam and where to draw a line – naff blokes in Bacofoil versus starmen with pretensions


❏ The retired cameraman John Henshall, now 69, has been speaking of how he came to own the footage of David Bowie’s Jean Genie which was thought to be lost. In the early 70s, long before the days of digital effects, Henshall ran a company called Telefex which made star filters, multi-image prisms, fish-eye lens attachments, kaleidotubes and picture rotators. Encouraged by TOTP producer Johnnie Stewart, he used the fish-eye to create the optical effects seen in the Bowie recording.

David Bowie, Jean Genie, 1973, Top of the Pops,video,John Henshall ,Mick Woodmansey

Cameraman caught on camera: John Henshall seen in Studio 8 just beyond drummer Mick Woodmansey during the Jean Genie recording. (Videograb © BBC)

Afterwards he asked Stewart for a personal copy on 2-inch tape to include in his company’s showreel.

Today he is an expert in digital imaging, who pioneered the now ubiquitous lightweight television camera mounted on a long boom arm that we see sweeping above artist and audience at concerts. He also directed photography on hundreds of early music videos for artists including Paul McCartney, Kate Bush, Blondie and Elton John.

Henshall only discovered how “rarer than rare” the clip was when he mentioned it in a radio interview. He said: “I couldn’t believe that I was the only one with it. I thought you wouldn’t be mad enough to wipe a tape like that. They’d been looking for it for years.”

➢ Listen to John Henshall telling Malcolm Boyden at BBC Radio Oxford about how he saved the Bowie tape

➢ Update Dec 21: Finally, the BBC Six o’Clock News gets round to its own report on John Henshall’s prize discovery

➢ View the Jean Genie video on the BBC iPlayer until New Year’s Eve


➤ The true story of how love helped Gary Kemp write the next line

❚ WHY DID MUSICIAN GARY KEMP find it so “hard to write the next line” in the biggest smash hit love-song of his career? He was not hobbled by writer’s block, but was tongue-tied in admiration of a “wee Celtic pixie” who sang in a Scottish pop group and starred in the hit British romantic movie of 1981.

At exactly the moment his band Spandau Ballet were desperately trying to rescue their flagging fortunes in 1982, Gary was smitten with the pretty girl. The trouble was that she had two other rivals vying for her affections. Honour required discretion, and his love remained unspoken while the three admirers stood hopefully in line. When his beloved gave Gary a book as a gift, suddenly its “words bubbled up inside, percolating through me”, he said years later. He knew he had to send them back to her in a song “so she’d know it was about her” and for double measure added the tell-tale line “I want the truth to be said”.

books, Lyrics of Gary Kemp,Lyric Book Company,

As it happens the Spandau songwriter has recently published an 88-page coffee-table book, titled The Lyrics of Gary Kemp from Lyric Book Company

Gary pretty much identified his never-to-be sweetheart in the autobiography, I Know This Much, published in 2009, where he convincingly dovetailed the one-sided romance with a sequence of other events to account for the genesis of his band’s first No 1 hit, True. In the light of which, perhaps fans can better relish the song-words, when they are re-published this week in a book titled The Lyrics of Gary Kemp.

The very keen will want to invest in the special limited edition signed personally by Kemp and available exclusively through his own website Garykemp.com. The collection represents a songwriting career that has spanned four decades.

All the lyrics from all his songs for Spandau Ballet, plus his solo album Little Bruises, make up this anthology of 60 tales of love, loss and of course London… from growing up in Soho in the 1970s (Chant No1) to the entirely autobiographical 1983 hit about unrequited love (True) through to bittersweet reflections on life (An Inexperienced Man, the solo single in a Celtic groove, released in 1995).

BMI MillionAir, awards, True, Del Bryant, Gary Kemp, Spandau Ballet

Spandau Ballet’s Gary Kemp and BMI President and CEO Del Bryant: at the 2011 BMI London Awards in October, Kemp received a BMI MillionAir award for the song True. (Photo by Brian Rasic)

Kemp is widely acknowledged as one of Britain’s finest songwriters, and won this year’s prestigious BMI Multi Million Award for True after it notched up 4 million radio plays in the US — a significant achievement for a song released in the 1980s — partly because it embodied enough of “the sound of my soul” to be played on black stations too. The song was written on his bed in his parents’ north London house at the age of 22, while he competed with his mum’s vacuum cleaner. At the awards ceremony, he said he’d never imagined True going on being used in films and TV shows as different as The Simpsons, Modern Family and Ugly Betty.

“If you can write one song that’s still being played 28 years later, you’re lucky! We were playing at a time when a lot of people only bought records, they didn’t buy computer games. Music is much more important to that generation.”

The 88-page coffee-table book, The Lyrics of Gary Kemp, is presented bound in a cloth cover, and the first 250 will be personally autographed.

➢ A regular hardback edition of The Lyrics of Gary Kemp (from The Lyric Book Company Ltd) is also available through Amazon


1965 ➤ Teenage Bowie flashes priceless smile to an amateur cine camera

❚ HERE’S A FAB GLIMPSE OF DAVID BOWIE in a London street, caught on cine film when he was aged 18. It is newly posted at YouTube by 57-year-old Joe Salama from south-east London. Shapersofthe80s asked Joe about his Bowie connection and he replied: “I suppose I have always been a fan of David Bowie’s music certainly since Hunky Dory when as a youngster I drove a minicab for a while with my Hanimex tape player rigged up to some headphones in my Renault 16. I remember delivering some parts to IBM in Birmingham at night and that album kept me going all the way there and back, thrilled to bits with the sound.

“Regarding the 1960s cine clip, it really was a complete surprise to me and needless to say my late father, who had no idea at the time. This exceptional footage was taken by him on a trip up to the West End of London, totally unaware that David Bowie was the young dude who smiles graciously at the camera. Even when I showed him what he had filmed he was none the wiser and couldn’t remember why he focused on this particular chap. He was trying to film my mum whose face crosses fleetingly behind the great man if you look carefully at the shot. Roughly dated to 1968.”

❏ YouTuber momasu comments: “This is spring 1965, and Davie Jones (as he was still called then) is heading into his favourite cafe on Denmark Street, La Gioconda, possibly after recording demos with his new band The Lower Third at Central Sound Studio next door.”

David Bowie , Davie Jones, Manish Boys, 1960s,Denmark Street, Tin Pan Alley,joesalama,YouTube

Pre-Bowie Davie Jones, aged 18: filmed possibly in Tin Pan Alley, London, by Joe Salama’s father

❏ Judging by the numerous photos in Kevin Cann’s meticulous book Any Day Now, two details pin the date of Joe’s film clip down to the early part of 1965: the giant button-down tab-collar shirt Bowie is wearing, and his hair hanging well over his collar, now parted as he moves on from the “helmet” style seen in the 1964 video below. Under the stage name of Davie Jones he had been singing since the previous July with the six-piece R&B band, The Manish Boys, whose hair-length had caused controversy. They record the single I Pity The Fool — produced by Shel Talmy and with a guitar solo by Jimmy Page — which leads to a TV appearance on BBC2’s Gadzooks in March 1965.


❏ Nov 12, 1964: Kevin Cann’s book reminds us that when Bowie, then known as Davie Jones, appeared on the BBC’s Tonight show (above) campaigning for “The Society for the prevention of cruelty to long-haired men”, it was a publicity-seeking ploy. Nowhere in the interview does he admit that the hairy men around him in the studio are mostly The Manish Boys, on a rare night off from touring southern England. The previous night they’d played the legendary home of British R&B, the Eel Pie Island club in Twickenham, and the next they were at the Witch Doctor in St Leonards-on-Sea (though without Davie). Incidentally, this is not his TV debut as some claim — that was on Juke Box Jury the previous June.


2011 ➤ Wham!’s cunning plan for a Christmas No1 as climax to the 80s revival

❚ TWO REASONS TO CELEBRATE. Mother-of-two Shirlie Kemp has just exhumed a load of fab clothes from her heyday with Pepsi Demacque as the all-jiving all-singing girls in Wham! She has piled a load of glam photos of her stage clothes on to her otherwise sedately titled blog, No Place Like Home. We see her Melissa Caplan sheath from the 1982 Top of the Pops debuts of herself as Shirlie Holliman and of the clubland group’s single Young Guns in the lucky TV turning point [above] that broke the group after their first single Wham Rap! had initially failed to take off.

Shirlie Kemp, fashion, Kahn & Bell,Wham!

Shirlie’s bling leather top for Wham! It bears the Kahniverous label. Photo from shirliekemp.com

Shirlie also shows the cowgirl fronded suede top from American Classics in Endell Street, worn in an earlier incarnation of Young Guns.

Most eye-catching of all are those skimpy, gilded, blingy black leathers by the Brummie design duo Kahn & Bell who had shops in Birmingham and Chelsea. However, after a deep search through Wham’s YouTube videos as the first Western pop group into China, we find no footage of Shirlie’s claim that she wore them onstage there in 1985  — see below for Everything She Wants filmed live in China by British director Lindsay Anderson (which is wrongly dated). By then they had achieved three number-one singles in a row in the US with Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go, Careless Whisper and Everything She Wants, while the Billboard year-ending chart listed George Michael’s Careless Whisper as the US number-one song of 1985.

➢ Click pic for the fizzing Wham Rap! video in a new window

Above — “Man or mouse” Andrew Ridgeley establishes the  group’s clubbing credentials in the opening shots of their Wham Rap! video by reading The Face cover story, The Making of Club Culture, written by yours truly in the February 1983 issue

❏ The reason why we’ve been catching glimpses of Pepsi & Shirlie around the media is the second reason to celebrate. An explosive 25th anniversary comeback by Wham! themselves takes the shape of a 27-track 2-CD anniversary edition of The Final, their farewell compilation album from 1986, with its minimalist Peter Saville cover design. Embracing all four years’-worth of output, it contains six UK No 1 hits, plus both George Michael solo singles (Careless Whisper and A Different Corner). A deluxe edition includes a DVD of 13 restored videos.

Wham!, The Final, albums, Peter Saville The Final is such a double-whammy of greatest dancefloor hits that its November 28 release is a calculated pitch for the top spot in the Christmas chart. And with Duran’s magnificent comeback year all but spent musically, Wham!’s cunning plan will represent the last major chart assault by the 80s revival that has warmed our cockles for a full two years.

Wham! went out on a high 25 years ago with an eight-hour grand finale of a concert at Wembley Stadium which coincided with their farewell single The Edge of Heaven hitting No 1 in June, 1986. Pepsi says: “A lot of thought went into stopping when we did — we were at our peak, it was such a high and that’s why we can celebrate Wham! The Final now, because we all still have great memories and we’re all still great friends.”

➢ “Maybe George was going through a cowboy phase” — this week’s interview with Pepsi & Shirlie for RealMusic Blog

➢ Rich List puts George Michael top of the popstars
from the un-lucrative 80s


➤ On iPads, mobiles and tablets, you’re not even seeing half the story

Shapersofthe80s, British, youth culture,Ashes to Ashes, David Bowie
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