Music: Iggy Pop

The Godfather of Punk, the Passenger, the World's Forgotten Boy and a mainstay in rock and roll since 1969, Iggy Pop may be one of the most energetic, threatening and exciting performers in the genre.

Born as James Newell Osterberg in 1947 Iggy was one of many teenagers whose life was made more colorful by Rock & Roll. He started off as a drummer in the band The Iguanas at high school, then move on to the blues band The Prime Movers before James Brown, Blues and The Doors inspired him to do something completely different. He founded a band with bass player Dave Alexander and the brothers Ron (guitar) and Scott (drums) Asheton, where he became the frontman. Initially called the Psychedelic Stooges the band were a Psychedelic Rock band as there were thirteen in a dozen near the end of The Sixties. Under a new name, The Stooges, the band eventually made the bridge between the peace loving hippie crowd and the protopunk music that would shape The '70s towards Punk Rock.

Iggy was The Face Of The Band. He was an exciting and outrageously energetic performer during stage shows, just all movement. You couldn't take his eyes off him and often his antics were so audacious that a large part of the crowd actually felt frightened of him at times. Iggy smeared himself with peanut butter, rolled around in broken glass and even jumped into the crowd (which later became known as stage diving and crowd-surfing), all while baiting an verbally abusing his audience. This alienated a large part of the crowd, but attracted a dedicated cult audience. Their three albums, The Stooges (1969), Fun House (1970) and Raw Power (1973) are now cult classics, but didn't sell well at the time. The band also suffered under extreme heroin and alcohol abuse. After David Bowie produced the Stooges' third and final album Raw Power (1973) the band had a Grand Finale with a grandiose album in every sense of the word, but nevertheless split soon afterwards.

Bowie then helped Iggy with getting a solo career on the road. Iggy provides backing vocals on Bowie's song "What in the World" from Low (1976), while Bowie produced Iggy's debut album The Idiot and Lust For Life (both from 1977), which launched Iggy as a rockstar in his own right. His third album, New Values (1979), went back to his roots with The Stooges and therefore met with lesser sales. His next albums Soldier (1980) and Party (1981) didn't fare well either and he was dropped from his label. Zombie Birdhouse (1982) didn't change anything, but when Bowie covered "China Girl" (a song from The Idiot) on his album Let's Dance) the royalties and interest generated a new interest in Iggy Pop. Bowie produced and co-wrote his next album, Blah Blah Blah, which spawned the UK Top 10 Hit "Real Wild Child". Instinct (1988) saw Iggy again returning to Stoogesque rock and once again he was dropped by the label. Virgin signed him instead and his next album Brick By Brick (1990) was his best album in years, with the lead single "Candy" (a duet with Kate Pierson from the B-52s) becoming a US Top 20 hit. As Iggy's career rolled on interest in his work was solidified by use of his music in Trainspotting (1996), frequent touring and covers of his songs by other artists.

Iggy has also acted a few times, mostly in the films of Jim Jarmusch, among which Coffee And Cigarettes (with Tom Waits) and Dead Man, where he appears in drag. He also appeared in Sid And Nancy (1986), The Color of Money (1986), Cry-Baby (1990) and Tank Girl. He also appeared as Yelgrun in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, as a man with a whiplash injury in Snow Day (2000), gave voice contributions to Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, Rock & Rule and The Rugrats Movie, and did the Expository Theme Tune for the animated series Space Goofs.

  • Kill City (demos recorded in 1975 with the Stooges' second guitarist, James Williamson; not released until 1977)
  • The Idiot (1977) (produced by David Bowie)
  • Lust For Life (1977) (produced by David Bowie)
  • New Values (1979)
  • Soldier (1980)
  • Party (1981)
  • Zombie Birdhouse (1982) (produced by Chris Stein of Blondie)
  • Blah Blah Blah (1986) (produced by David Bowie)
  • Instinct (1988)
  • Brick By Brick (1990)
  • American Caesar (1993)
  • Naughty Little Doggie (1995)
  • Beat 'Em Up (2001)
  • Skull Ring (2003)
  • Préliminaires (2009)
  • Après (2012)

Iggy Pop's work provides examples of:

  • Ballad of X: "The Ballad of Cookie McBride" from Zombie Birdhouse.
  • Blah Blah Blah: The name of one of Iggy's solo albums.
  • Careful with That Axe: Iggy can shriek, moan and yell ear piercingly loud during performances.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: "Head On", from his album "Metallic K.O" where Iggy rants about in all kinds of expletives.
  • Cool Old Guy: You can't get much cooler than inventing stage diving and Punk Rock.
  • Dancing Is Serious Business: Iggy is a very energetic dancer on stage, literally possessed by the music. He has once stated in an interview that he was very much inspired by James Brown.
  • Darker and Edgier: He is infamous from bringing back a sense of danger and excitement to rock 'n' roll that caused outrage during the final years of The Sixties when most of the music was still into the "peace and love" realms of flower power. Musically The Stooges were one of the pinnacles of protopunk and therefore Iggy had no problems being accepted by the Punk Rock movement, which he more or less paved the road for.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: Iggy seems to like appearing in black-and-white on his album covers, like The Idiot and Lust For Life demonstrate.
  • Drugs Are Bad: Despite being a frequent abuser himself Iggy has written a lot of anti-drugs songs, especially against heroin, such as "Dum Dum Boys", "Tonight", "Turn Blue" and "Lust For Life".
  • Misattributed Song: "A Girl Like You" by Edwyn Collins was not sung by Iggy Pop, nor a cover by him.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Invoked by Iggy Pop and his iconic shirtlessness.
  • New Sound Album: Préliminaires and Après. Both albums are Lighter and Softer in tone as Préliminaires is heavily influenced by jazz and bossa nova, and Après is a Cover Album of his favorite French and jazz songs. In fact, he called Préliminaires his response to being bored sick of the state of rock music.
  • Obsession Song: Many of his songs have the protagonists almost despair over their lustful feelings towards the opposite sex. This was already the case in the days of The Stooges ("I Wanna Be Your Dog" on The Stooges), but also prominent in solo songs such as "Fall In Love With Me" and "Sixteen".
  • Pep Talk Song: His music is often raw, fresh and bubbling with life, most noticeable in "Lust For Life".
  • Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll: Iggy's vocal delivery was always sexy, suave and full of lust. He performed in his bare midriff and sang about Intercourse with You topics. Iggy often battled with alcohol and heroin addiction and songs like "Nightclubbing", "Funtime", "Dum Dum Boys" (from The Idiot) and "Lust For Life", "Tonight" (from Lust For Life) condemn the monotone and dangerous lifestyle that goes with it.
  • Shout-Out: Now has its own page: Referenced By: Iggy Pop
  • Silly Love Songs: Iggy's "Candy," a duet with The B-52s' Kate Pierson.
  • Stage Names: Iggy Pop is actually named James Newell Osterberg, and still goes by "Jim" in private. The "Iggy" part came from the fact that he used to drum for a band called The Iguanas while in high school.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: Iggy not only has a tendency to perform bare chested, but also makes public appearances without wearing a shirt.