We needn’t tell you the multitude of ways Iggy Pop is known as the Godfather of punk. You all know the drill, as the lead singer of The Stooges he embodied everything dark, dangerous and subversive about rock. This, coupled with his bloodied and bruised performances, allowed Iggy to lay the foundations of the anarchist genre.
It’s true that Iggy had started his own brand of abrasive rock and roll some years before but when he appeared on a 1977 episode of So It Goes, he proved that was the living, breathing, personification of punk.
By 1977 the seeds of punk had well and truly begun to bloom. The Clash had signed with CBS Records and had, for some, sealed the fate of the anti-establishment movement. The fire in the belly of a host of young artists had been fuelled with pound notes and now the machine was beginning to take over. Punk, in it’s rawest form, was considered by many to be dead.
Still, ’77 is considered a seminal year for punk artists and the volume of new punk acts was staggering. The whole DIY ethos of punk demanded a huge number of new acts and they certainly didn’t disappoint. But while teen groups began spitting at each other across every village hall in the country one man had been living the punk life without even knowing it.
Iggy had been the wild man of New York City for some time by 1977. He had left The Stooges and begun to work more seriously on his solo career, enlisting the help of David Bowie along the way. It would be a fruitful partnership that would see some of Iggy’s best work. Two tracks that are permanently seared into the singer’s resume are ‘The Passenger’ and ‘Lust For Life’, both of which come from his seminal album Lust For Life.
On the promotion trail, as punk began to cannonball into the mainstream, Iggy found a fair few opportunities in Europe to sell the new record with a variety of performances. But by far the most interesting was his appearance on So It Goes. The show had made its name after giving the Sex Pistols their debut in 1976 and had grown quite a reputation for burnishing punk acts.
It led to Iggy’s appearance which took the performances of the aforementioned songs from his show at the Manchester Apollo, as well as an interview with Anthony Wilson. During the performance, Iggy gave a punk masterclass of what a rock and roll show should look like. It was such a raucous show it would lead to Wilson’s demise as the show’s host.
“My boss said, ‘I don’t need any more guys with horse’s tails sticking out of their asses’.” remembered the host Wilson. He told NME in 1986, “The musician he was referring to was, of course, Mr Osterberg [Iggy Pop]. When we filmed him—and a wonderful show it was too—Jimmy had this horse’s tail sticking out of his ass. Plus, in the middle of ‘The Passenger’ he yells out ‘fucking’, as in ‘fucking cars’. So there’s a week’s debate over this one word, right? And I’m screaming ART ART this is fucking ART.”
Eventually, though the show was shared with its public, “By the way, the Iggy show was eventually aired, but we had to dub some loud clapping over the ‘fucking’ bit. So we did this, but then somehow we finished ten seconds too early. Everyone’s clapping, the tape rolls on, and over the credits you can hear Jimmy shouting, ‘Clap your fucking hands’.”
So sit back and watch Iggy Pop give a punk masterclass as he performs ‘The Passenger’ and ‘Lust For Life’ on So It Goes back in 1977.