Iggy Pop – His Lust For Life
Iggy Pop otherwise known as the “Godfather of Punk” is still a force to be reckon with. At 72, it doesn’t look like he has any plans to slow down anytime soon. Whether he’s touring, doing lectures, writing books, painting, doing interviews, etc. Iggy is always up to something.
It’s also nice to see that he is finally getting the recognition he deserves for the music he has created and the fact that he’s still here. Below is an interview from 2017 CBS News Sunday morning. It’s quite entertaining!
Iggy Pop’s Early Years
Born James Newell Osterberg Jr, he grew up in trailer park in Michigan. He began his music career as a drummer in various high school bands including the Iguanas. After exploring the local blues music scene, Iggy moved to Chicago to learn more about the blues. While in Chicago, he played drums in a variety of blues clubs and eventually found a friend in Sam Lay (of the Paul Butterfield Blues Band) who shared his connections with Iggy.
While in Chicago, Iggy became inspired by other styles of music such as the Doors, MC5 and the Sonics. He started a band called “Psychedelic Stooges.” It was during this time that he started doing vocals and being the front man for the band. After seeing Jim Morrison’s manic persona on stage, he became inspired and started pushing the boundaries with his own stage antics. It was also during this time that Iggy Pop started doing stage diving and rolling around on broken glass bare-chested.
Elektra Records Signs The Stooges.
In 1968, the band was signed to Elektra Records. The Stooges’ first album, The Stooges was produced by J.J. Cale in 1969. Both it and the follow up Funhouse, sold poorly. Soon after, the band disbanded because of Iggy Pop’s heroin addiction. In 1971, without a record deal, the band continued to perform in small clubs.
Around 1975, Iggy Pop met David Bowie at a nightclub and formed a friendship. Bowie decided to produce an album with him in 1972 which became the rock landmark “Raw Power.” As for the Stooges, they disbanded in 1974. Below is a performance on the Dinah Shore Show 1977 with David Bowie.
Bowie and Berlin
After the Stooge’s second break-up, Iggy Pop was unable to control his drug use and checked himself into a mental institution to clean himself up. David Bowie is one of the few visitor’s coming to see him. He continued to show Iggy his support by taking him on the “Station to Station” tour with him in 1976. This was Iggy’s first exposure to large-scale professional touring, and he was impressed, particularly with Bowie’s work ethic. This created the friendship and collaboration between the both of them.
In 1977, Iggy signed with RCA Records. Bowie helped write and produce The Idiot and Lust for Life, Iggy’s two most acclaimed albums as a solo artist, the latter featuring one of his best-known songs, “The Passenger”. Among the songs Bowie and Iggy wrote together were “China Girl”, “Tonight”, and “Sister Midnight”, all of which Bowie performed on his own albums later (the last being recorded with different lyrics as “Red Money” on Lodger). Bowie also played keyboards on Iggy’s live performances, some of which are featured on the album “TV Eye Live” in 1978. In return, Iggy contributed backing vocals on Bowie’s “Low.”
Bowie Records Iggy Pop Tracks
In 1980, Iggy Pop published his autobiography “I Need More,”co-written with Anne Wehner, an Ann Arbor arts patron. The book, which includes a selection of black and white photographs, featured a foreword by Andy Warhol. Warhol wrote that he met Iggy when he was Jim Osterberg, at the Ann Arbor Film Festival in 1966. “I don’t know why he hasn’t made it really big,” Warhol wrote. “He is so good.”
In 1983, Iggy Pop’s fortunes changed when David Bowie recorded a cover of the song “China Girl”. The song had originally appeared on “The Idiot,” and was a major hit on Bowie’s blockbuster Let’s Dance album. As co-writer of the song, Iggy Pop received substantial royalties. On Tonight in 1984, Bowie recorded five more of their co-written songs (2 from Lust for Life, 1 from New Values, and 2 new songs), assuring Iggy Pop financial security, at least for the short term. The support from Bowie enabled Iggy Pop to take a three-year break, during which he overcame his resurgent heroin addiction and took acting classes.
Collaborations & New Album
In 1990, he recorded his first and only Top 40 U.S. hit, “Candy”, a duet with B-52’s singer Kate Pierson. In 2016, Iggy Pop recorded an album with Josh Homme (Queens of The Stone Age) titled Post Pop Depression. The album was released on March 18, with a tour to follow. On both sides of the Atlantic, the album set a new peak chart position for Iggy Pop albums, becoming his first ever US Top 20 album and first ever UK Top 5 album.
On October 28, 2016, Iggy Pop released the double live album Post Iggy Pop Depression: Live At The Royal Albert Hall on Eagle Rock Entertainment (on DVD+2CD and digital formats).
Moving forward, Iggy Pop isn’t looking back. He’s still touring, lecturing and working on side projects. He still lives in Miami and is finally at peace with himself. No plans for any new albums. If you get a chance to see him live, go for it! It’s high energy all the way.