Iggy Pop is one of rock’s most treasured souls. It’s over 50-years since he made his grand entrance into public consciousness when The Stooges released their forceful eponymous debut and, since then, Iggy has become one of the great raconteurs. His topless serenades have made him one of the quintessential frontmen, and the ground he has broken throughout his career remains fertile and ready for new beginnings at the turn of every season.
With The Stooges, Iggy was this larger than life archetypal punk frontman. However, the group’s music might be labelled rather primitive if it came along in 2020, but there’s no denying that the brand of garage rock that they helped mould would lay the foundations for the punk movement that would follow. The group split up after two records in 1971. Before returning a year later as Iggy and The Stooges to release what many people to consider as their magnum opus, the David Bowie produced Raw Power.
This partnership with Bowie on Raw Power was the start of something beautiful between the two men which would last the test of time, just like the record has done. 1972 was unequivocally Bowie’s year. The Ziggy Stardust character’s emergence had made him the biggest rock star, but he also proved that he was much more than just an enigmatic singer.
He was the producer for Lou Reed’s Transformer, which saw the former Velvet Underground breakthrough as a solo artist, and then he sprinkled his magic dust on another one of his favourite artists. Bowie brought Iggy and Stooges’ guitarist James Williamson into the studio to record Raw Power with him in London and what they made was dazzling.
Johnny Marr once famously said that record was the start of his musical journey, blissfully recalling to SPIN, “What first struck me about Raw Power was a beautiful darkness to it, a sophistication almost. It delivered exactly what was on the cover: other-worldly druggy rock ‘n’ roll, sex, violence, but strangely beautiful somehow. From then on, I just climbed into a world with that record.”
That would be the last record what Iggy and The Stooges would make until he and Williamson reunited the group for 2007 effort The Weirdness. Following Raw Power, Iggy decided to leave his proto-punk days behind him to become a true solo star. With Bowie’s help once more, he made himself known to be a force to be reckoned with on 1977 project The Idiot. Iggy was an early adopter of electronic music, and the influence of Kraftwerk shines through on the album which helped make 1977 his year.
It was the first of two albums that Pop wrote and recorded in collaboration with David Bowie in Berlin, with the phenomenal Lust For Life shortly following. Although The Idiot was released after Bowie’s 1977 album Low, it was recorded before it, which sees the album unofficially christen the beginning of Bowie’s Berlin period.
Following the end of these halcyon days in Berlin, Bowie and Iggy went there separate ways but what they produced in this time together is quite possibly the most incredible work of either of their legendary careers. Iggy Pop and James Williamson next worked together on 1979’s New Values, which showed that he didn’t need Bowie’s special touch to create a fantastic record.
Despite the links he had with Bowie, and the great records he was making, Iggy’s talent was still being slept on by the masses. Commercial success has always never been on his mind or in his grasp, but he has become a rock ‘n’ roll icon despite that.
Iggy Pop just kept on grinding, continuously releasing records and slowly building up a repertoire of music that cemented his status as an icon. His albums have famously had little commercial success, and his first top 50 charting release in the States didn’t come until 2016, with Post Pop Depression. The album landed at 17 in the US charts and five in the UK. The record saw Iggy jump back into the world of collaboration by recruiting Arctic Monkeys drummer Matt Helders and Queens of The Stone Age duo Josh Homme and Dean Fertita.
The record is one of the finest moments of his career, he’s still just as an integral figure in rock music now as he has ever been and it feels like the 21st Century has been the time in which Iggy Pop has finally gained his rightful position at the tip of the musical tree. He reunited The Stooges for a decade-long victory lap from 2003 until 2013, one that saw him and James Williamson celebrate those impressive records they made at the start of their journey, as well as making two brand new albums together.
Take some time out to appreciate the greatness of Iggy Pop, with this mammoth 1,087-track playlist celebrating one of rock’s finest legends.