Iggy Pop is a hell-raising raconteur who has been causing havoc with his topless exploits, ushering in a rock ‘n’ roll archetype in the process, for the past 50 years. On top of that, Iggy is an encyclopedic source of knowledge when it comes to anything music-related. His acclaimed show on BBC 6 Music is unmissable radio, and in 2008, the former Stooges singer even opened up his record collection to reveal the 21 singers he holds in the highest regard.
With The Stooges, Iggy Pop was a larger-than-life figure that got pulses racing during every performance. Together with his bandmates, Iggy lit the flame that subsequently led to the boom of the punk rock movement among many others. The group were written off as primitive early on in their career but, eventually, The Stooges proved there was more substance to their material and they smashed through the glass ceiling with the David Bowie-produced record, Raw Power.
This partnership with Bowie on Raw Power was the start of something magical, a creative force between the two artists that would stand the test of time. Perhaps unsurprisingly, his former right-hand man occupies a spot in his collection of favourite singers, a list that was entered as part of a Rolling Stone survey in 2008.
“The friendship was basically that this guy salvaged me from certain professional and maybe personal annihilation — simple as that,” Iggy said following Bowie’s death. “A lot of people were curious about me, but only he was the one who had enough truly in common with me, and who actually really liked what I did and could get on board with it, and who also had decent enough intentions to help me out. He did a good thing.”
“He resurrected me.”
Pop added. “He was more of a benefactor than a friend in a way most people think of friendship. He went a bit out of his way to bestow some good karma on me.”
Mick Jagger from The Rolling Stones helped architect a feverish new model of rock ‘n’ roll singer, one which Iggy Pop took to a heightened level of debauched anarchy. However, Jagger has to settle for the eleventh spot on the list, just ahead of Eric Burdon and Solomon Burke. In a past interview with Rolling Stone, Iggy discussed what he implemented from the peacocking singer into his own stage act, revealing: “From Mick Jagger, it would be his moving around while he performs the song. Also, the voice as an irritant. When he sang, it was the opposite of nice.”
Furthermore, Iggy’s appreciation for Bob Dylan is limitless, and he has previously named the songwriter’s album, Bringing It All Back Home as a pivotal moment that transformed his life. Yet, despite his endless admiration for Dylan, he can’t find room for him above ninth in his list. Elsewhere, Johnny Cash sneaks in one place above at number eight, with Johnny Lee Hooker and Brian Wilson ahead of the country icon.
James Brown’s 1991 album, Star Power, which dumbfoundingly boasts a staggering 71-tracks, is one of Iggy’s favourite albums of all time, and the late soul sensation squeezes into fifth place. “I listen to this a lot,” Pop once said about the cherished record. “Tight is a very inadequate word for his band.”
Meanwhile, number four is a spot that Iggy reserved for another one of his rock ‘n’ roll forefathers, Little Richard. Next up is where it gets juicy, as Iggy reveals that John Lennon is his favourite member of The Beatles as he puts Paul McCartney in third place with Lennon pipping him to number two.
The number one spot is sacrosanct and only fit for The King, Elvis Presley. Elvis might have never written a single song through his whole recording career, but his palpable charisma made you believe every last word he sang. There will never be another artist capable of filling the room with ease like Elvis ever again. Not only did he have an ethereal voice and the superstar persona, but he had the intangible assets that separated him from the rest of the back, which confirmed his status as the original rock ‘n’ roller.
Check out Iggy’s full list below.
Iggy Pop’s favourite singers of all time
- Elvis Presley
- John Lennon
- Paul McCartney
- Little Richard
- James Brown
- Brian Wilson
- Johnny Lee Hooker
- Johnny Cash
- Bob Dylan
- Bob Marley
- Mick Jagger
- Eric Burdon
- Solomon Burke
- Chuck Berry
- Muddy Waters
- Marvin Gaye
- Toots Hibbert
- Jim Morrison
- Neil Diamond
- David Bowie
- Kurt Cobain
We’ve pulled together a perfect playlist comprised of Iggy Pop’s favourite singers of all time which you can find below.