The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame has been the stage for many a great crossover of music. Some see artists who are kindred spirits riff and jam over an amalgamation of their finest songs—the kind of ceremonial fodder that is always enjoyable. Some performances can see just the opposite, one such showing was when Detroit’s filthiest sons Iggy Pop and The Stooges performed in honour of the Queen of Pop, Madonna.
The ceremony took place at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in Manhattan and also included inductions of John Mellencamp, Leonard Cohen and the Dave Clark Five. But the real notable induction of the evening, back in 2008, was the induction of fellow Michigan native Madonna Louise Ciccone, more commonly known as Madonna, one of the most world-renowned artists in history. Though the singer is also well known as the “Queen of Pop”, her searing attitude, not to mention millions and millions of records sold, rightly see her name in the annals of Rock & Roll History.
With an induction provided by another member of the pop royalty in Justin Timberlake, this section of the evening was somewhat low on the injection of rock. Enter Iggy Pop and his band The Stooges. The group burst out of Detroit in the late sixties and early seventies to blaze a trail for punk rock acts across the country to follow. Similarly, Madonna’s non-conformist attitude saw her become a poster child for rebellious creativity in the eighties and nineties.
Madonna, like Iggy Pop, has never turned away from the allure of the stage and has continued performing for the entirety of her career. However, on this night, Madonna chose to turn down the chance to deliver a performance for the audience and instead saw the perennially unshirted punk rock forefather take the stage in her place.
He, alongside the rest of the band, formed a furious group to perform ‘Burning Up’ and Madonna’s Grammy award-winning song ‘Ray of Light’. One of Madonna’s most iconic bops is the late-nineties euro-dance number but Iggy Pop turns the song on its head. The ferocious performance may not have highlighted the glamorous side of Madge but it sure did pay homage to her punk rock nature. Madonna was apparently behind the selection of the band to perform her songs.
Ron Asheton later said he believed the opportunity came so Madge could make a point about the lack of The Stooges inclusion: “Basically she was upset that we’ve been nominated so many times and never made it, so she asked us to play in protest. And it was under those auspices that I thought we were doing it,” Asheton said. “At first I went, ‘Whaaat?’ Then Iggy said, ‘Why don’t you think about it?'” She did think about it and pursued the idea. Soon enough, Iggy realised the chance he had in front of him. “Iggy said ‘We’re gonna rock them up, just play ’em like Stooges songs,'” Asheton recounted. “They actually sound pretty cool. We just rock ’em out. You wouldn’t even recognize them as Madonna songs. I never thought I’d say this, but I’ve actually enjoyed playing them.”
You can see that enjoyment in the footage below which puts Iggy Pop and The Stooges delivering a fiery rendition of Madonna’s ‘Ray of Light’ and ‘Burning Up’.