Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music


POP, Iggy

(b James Newell Osterberg, 1947, Ypsiplanti MI) Aka 'Iggy Stooge'; rock vocalist who tried to make it dangerous again long before punk rock, preparing the ground as early as 1967. He was drummer and lead singer with the Iguanas in Detroit, played blues with ex-Paul Butterfield drummer Sam Lay, debuted with the Psychedelic Stooges (Ron Asheton*, guitar; Dave Alexander, bass; Scott Asheton*, drums) on Halloween in Ann Arbor, vomiting, cutting himself on stage, etc while the trio played loud, basic rock'n'roll. Inspired by the Doors, the Stooges signed to their label, Elektra; LPs The Stooges '69 (made top 200 LPs, including '1969', an anthem to frustration, and 'No Fun', later covered by the Sex Pistols), Fun House '70 didn't chart.

He disbanded and retired to fight drug addiction; with David Bowie's support he re-formed the Stooges with guitarist and co-writer James Williamson, Scott Thurston on bass and keyboards; Raw Power '73 on CBS (produced by Bowie) cracked the top 200; Metallic 2XKO on Skydog CD from France was recorded that year; Kill City on Radar was another Stooges semi-bootleg; his Wake Up Suckers and We Are Not Talking About Commercial Shit were also on Skydog. Unwilling to take orders from Bowie's manager Tony DeFries he was kicked out of the entourage and took up heroin again. He floundered in Los Angeles and the Stooges disbanded for good.

'Jean Genie' (on Bowie's Aladdin Sane LP) was said to be about Iggy; he took Pop with him to Europe '76, produced The Idiot (Pop's only LP to reach the top 100 USA) including 'Nightclubbing' (covered by Grace Jones); Lust For Life included 'The Passenger', both '77 on RCA, assisted by co-writer/producer Bowie. Pop toured with Bowie on piano '77, trying to bite fans. Live TV Eye '77 was issued '78 on RCA, later on Virgin CD. New Values '79 (with Williams and Thurston), Soldier '80, Party '81 were all on Arista, all reached top 200 LPs; Zombie Birdhouse '82 on Animal (later on Virgin) did not. He co-wrote 'China Girl' with Bowie (on Let's Dance LP), published autobiography I Need More '82, appeared in Sid And Nancy '85. He married Suchi that year and began to take stock; his stage antics had got out of hand and there were lawsuits with injured fans; he got himself under control and came back with Blah Blah Blah '86 (single 'Real Wild Child' charted UK, a cover of Crickets' Jerry Allison), Instinct and Live At The Channel '88 all on A&M. Some of this was reissued on Virgin CDs; Pop keeps coming back, highly rated as an original anarchist, though he seems to need a collaborator on his best work; in the '90s he was doing the best Iggy Pop impression in a crowded field. Further titles on Virgin: Brick By Brick '90, American Caesar '93, Naughty Little Doggies '96. Nude And Rude on Virgin '96 was a 17-track best-of. Raw Power was remixed by Iggy '97 for CD, because he felt that the 'rip-snortin' superheavy fuel-injected rock band that nobody in this world could touch' had not come across the first time.

The original Stooges reformed in 2003 and toured the world. 

*Ronald Frank Asheton (b 17 July 1948; d early January 2009) was found dead in his home of natural causes after he hadn't been seen for a few days. His guitar playing helped establish the sound of the legendary Stooges.
*Scott Randolph Asheton (b 16 August 1949, Washington DC) d 15 March 2014 of a heart attack.