Introducing Iggy Pop: the singer makes a lasting first impression in 1970
Iggy Pop is now thought of very fondly, like a Grandpa who’s seen everything come and go and now is full of nuggets of wisdom on curious stuff like how best to get a crowd baying for blood, which shirt is easiest to rip off and what to do while vomiting on stage (keep singing).
But as sweet and genial he may now seem, Iggy Pop was once at the forefront of the avant-garde rock and roll scene and in 1970 he practically invented the stage dive while introducing himself to America.
With his band The Stooges, Iggy was a big player in the underground scene. Alongside massive, sociologically changing acts like The Velvet Underground, Nico, Patti Smith and everyone in between, Iggy took the sound of the streets and thrust it into the face of the mainstream with the same panache of a pill-pushing greaseball.
The incredible footage below is of the Midsummer Rock Festival AKA Cincinnati Summer Pop Festival of 1970. The bill included Grand Funk Railroad, Alice Cooper, Mountain and Traffic. But more importantly, it was TV’s first introduction to the mercurial and maniacal Stooges led by their enigmatic frontman. The band deliver a sensational and entirely gripping performance of ‘T.V. Eye’ and ‘1970’
The footage is easily one of the finest pieces of rock and roll video we’ve ever seen. Iggy is in full demonic dancer from the edge of space mode, a short time before he would drift off into his own type of outer-space, and he’s backed amply by the whirlwind Stooges.
Emboldened by the music Iggy finds new shapes, new growls, new personas and the beginning of a brand new trend as he hurls himself into the crowd. The crowd responded in kind and hurled at him a jar of peanut butter. The singer collects the jar, then collects his thoughts.
In front of a television audience, he would go on to then smear himself in peanut butter, as you can hear from the announcer who, with an incredibly worried tone says (scared of what he might be witnessing) “That’s… peanut butter!”. Stiv Bators of the Dead Boys would later take credit for putting the tub in Iggy’s hands. But the stage dive was seemingly all his idea.
Now, we’re sure there’s going to be a few people piping up on this little tidbit. “Erm, my friend Dave, once threw himself into a few people in 1968 and that is, in fact, the first-ever stage dive technically. Technically.” But in all honesty, this is the first documented case of stage-diving we have ever seen, and he went on to smear himself in peanut butter, so we’re giving the accolade to Iggy.
Watch it, love it, live it. And thank Iggy for inventing stage-diving.