This edition of Top Shelf Tuesday focuses on the iconic, Iggy Pop, the man who has earned the title to be crowned The Godfather of Punk.
From the early days fronting The Stooges, a vivid solo career, later reuniting as Iggy and The Stooges, and collaborations with other musical artists, we cover it all with videos from his discography, rare live footage and more.
Named after his father, James Newell Osterberg, Jr. was born in Muskegon, Michigan, in 1947, now making him seventy. The man has come a long way from the trailer park to the present, remaining relevant today.
Claiming the biggest room in the trailer in order to hold his drum kit, it wasn’t long before Osterberg, Jr. became drummer in numerous school bands, one of which included The Iguanas where the stage name of Iggy derived from.
After dropping out of The University of Michigan, the young man moved to Chicago with a keen interest in Chicago Blues, notably acts such as MC5, The Sonics and The Doors. The Psychedelic Stooges soon formed with the name Iggy now used on a regular basis.
Iggy provided vocals, accompanied by guitarist Ron Asheton, Brother Scott on drums, and Dave Alexander on bass. Their first show was played at a Halloween party at a house in Detroit, Michigan, where members of the MC5 were present. It was also at a concert in Michigan where Iggy was the first known performer to stage dive.
Jim Morrison of The Doors was a big influence on Iggy, with live performances from him and an all-girl band from New Jersey, known as The Untouchables, who gave him the “I can do that” attitude.
Now known simply as The Stooges, only a year after the bands’ first live gig, they were signed to Elektra Records, home of The Doors, who were their biggest artist. The debut was produced by John Cale in New York, with Iggy being credited as Iggy Stooge.
- The Stooges (1969)
“Now I Wanna Be Your Dog”
Second release, Fun House, was produced by Don Gallucci in Los Angeles the following year. Although it received poor sales, in 2003 was included in Rolling Stones 500 Greatest Records of All Time, ranked at 191.
- Fun House (1970)
“TV Eye” and “I Feel Alright” (Live at Cincinnati Pop Festival 1970)
Steve Mackay had joined the line-up, with saxophone a new addition to the sound on the Fun House record; however The Stooges disbanded a year after due to the heroin addiction of Iggy.
Iggy met David Bowie who would produce what would be the final record for The Stooges for some time. Produced in England with guitarist James Williamson on board, the rhythm section; brothers Scott on drums, with Ron moving to bass, replacing Alexander who was kicked out of the band due to alcoholism, later passing in 1975.
- Raw Power (1973)
“Search and Destroy” (Live at the 2010 Hall of Fame Inductions)
After the release of Raw Power, Scott Thurston (Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers) was added on keyboards. Ex-members of The Stooges, both Iggy and Williamson teamed up with the soundtrack of sorts to accompany the book titled, Kill City: Lower East Side Squatters 1992–2000, with the album released via Bomp!
Iggy Pop and James Williamson
- Kill City (1977)
Iggy checked himself into a mental institution in California to do something about his drug addiction with Bowie a regular visitor. The two were arrested for marijuana possession in 1976 during Bowies’ Station to Station tour, however charges were dropped.
After both moved to West Berlin to fight their drug addictions Iggy signed to RCA with Bowie producing and co-writing songs such as “China Girl” and “Sister Midnight” for Iggy’s debut solo record. Bowie would later release “China Girl” on Let’s Dance (1983)
- The Idiot (1977)
“Nightclubbing” (Live from The Ritz, New York, 1986)
Bowie also produced the second solo release, Lust for Life, and co-wrote the track “Tonight”, later releasing his own album of the same name, Tonight (1984).
- Lust for Life (1977)
“The Passenger” (Live at The Apollo, Manchester, 1977)
Title track “Lust for Life” was brought to the attention of movie lovers with its part in English director Danny Boyle’s classic, Trainspotting (1996) film. A video was made for the film, sprucing up the 1977 original.
“Lust for Life” Official video made for the Trainspotting Soundtrack (1996)
In return of Bowie’s contributions Iggy provided guest vocals on Bowie’s own record that same year.
David Bowie (Feat. Iggy Pop)
- Low (1977)
“What in the World”
Iggy was unhappy with RCA and moved to Arista Records where the next record would reunite Stooges members with Williamson taking over Bowie’s place of producer. Thurston would return to keyboards and guitar.
- New Values (1979)
“Five Foot One”
Williamson was originally to produce the follow-up to New Values however left due to conflict, resulting in Pat Moran as a replacement. Bowie and Simple Minds also provided guest vocals on “Play it Safe”
- Soldier (1980)
“Knocking ‘Em Down (In the City)”
The following album, Party was a commercial failure with Iggy leaving Arista after its release.
- Party (1981)
- Zombie Birdhouse (1982)
“The Horse Song”
Bowie helped Iggy by releasing songs he had co-wrote with him and had him feature as a guest on another of his records, enabling Iggy royalties and taking a few years off to beat his heroin addiction.
David Bowie (Feat. Iggy Pop)
- Tonight (1984)
“Dancing with the Big Boys”
Iggy also contributed on both the instrumental theme and title track to the sci-fi comedy, Repo Man (1984) along with guitarist Steve Jones (Sex Pistols), bassist Nigel Harrison and drummer Clem Burke, both of Blondie.
- Repo Man (1984) – (Studio Version 2016)
Iggys most successful record and final collaboration with Bowie as producer was Blah-Blah-Blah. Australian rock icon Johnny O’Keefe sang the original “Real Wild Child” (1958) which was covered on the album. This rendition has been used as the theme song for the ABC’s late-night music programme, Rage.
- Blah-Blah-Blah (1986)
“Real Wild Child (Wild One)”
“Cry For Love”
Produced by Bill Laswell Instinct was the last solo release for Iggy pre 90s, also the last with A&M Records. Accompanied by Jones on guitar this solo album was the heaviest and most guitar-driven record since The Stooges.
- Instinct (1988)
The following year Iggy would also take part in the soundtracks for the Ridley Scott Thriller, Black Rain and the Wes Craven horror-comedy, Shocker.
- Black Rain
“Living on the Edge of the Night”
- Wes Craven’s Shocker (The Music) (1989)
Iggy was also featured on Sonic Temple, an album which sold well for English hard-rockers The Cult.
The Cult (Feat. Iggy Pop)
- Sonic Temple (1989)
“New York City”
TO BE CONTINUED …..