When one thinks of Iggy Pop, you usually think of the gritty proto-punk of the Stooges’ 1969 debut, the cocaine-fuelled mania of 1973’s Raw Power, or even his more recent foray into advertising, with the line: “Get a life, get Swiftcovered” etched into the collective consciousness forevermore.
Pop’s life is one of many twists and turns, ups, downs and countless tales that portray him as a walking, talking embodiment of rock ‘n’ roll excess. There are tales of internment in psychiatric wards, with David Bowie and Dennis Hopper smuggling him in cocaine, and stories of writing with blood on the walls of his house when in the throes of a severe heroin addiction.
On the calmer side, there are tales that feature Pop hunting for the perfect asparagus in Berlin with Kraftwerk’s futuristic pioneer, Florian Schneider, during Pop’s more relaxed ‘Berlin Period’. These are just three of the innumerable amount of surreal anecdotes that exist from Pop’s colourful life.
For a man so complex and a musician with such a long and winding career, it comes as no surprise that he has a wide array of artistic influences. Over his career, with the Stooges and afterwards, there has been no genre that Pop hasn’t experimented with. Hell, he’s even done a rather brilliant cover of Bing Crosby’s ‘White Christmas‘.
It is clear that the ‘Godfather of Punk’ is so much more than the image he is often depicted as in the media. After all, what iconic musician is one dimensional? None, we would posit.
As reported by EW back in 2005, Pop gave his fans a little treat. He offered up a portal into the mind behind his artistry when he created a “perfect” playlist of his 12 favourite CDs of all time. Whilst it featured brilliant entries from the likes of Bob Dylan and Jimi Hendrix, one album stood out.
This was 1964’s 12 X 5, the second American studio album by English rock heroes The Rolling Stones. The album was released during the period just as Mick Jagger and Co. were starting to grapple with the implications of international fame. In many ways, it can be regarded as the first album where the band became true superstars.
Typical of the early Rolling Stones, the album was famously comprised of R&B covers, including takes on Chuck Berry and Bobby Womack, and a stellar version of Dale Hawkns’ 1957 classic, ‘Suzie Q’. It also featured some early classic Stones numbers such as ‘Good Times, Bad Times’, ‘Congratulations’ and ‘Grown Up Wrong’.
It comes as no surprise that Iggy Pop is a massive Stones fan. In terms of on-stage personas, he and Mick Jagger share a strutting dynamism that has only ever really been matched by ‘Mr. Dynamite’ himself, James Brown, who also featured on Pop’s playlist.
Given that The Rolling Stones came before Iggy and the Stooges, it is not outrageous to assert that Pop will have taken the inspiration for some of his outrageous on-stage charisma from Jagger. Additionally, his off-stage antics would have also have been influenced by the unerring decadence of The Rolling Stones.
Of the album, Pop said: “It’s got a picture of them looking really unhealthy on the front.” Detailing further, he continued: “I found out later it was taken by David Bailey, this really sophisticated photographer/image-maker.” It’s an iconic LP and clearly not one that passed Iggy by, and without it and The Rolling Stones, perhaps Iggy Pop would not exist in the capacity that we know him today.
Listen to ‘Good Times, Bad Times’ below.