Happy Birthday Iggy Pop

Monday, April 21, 2014
Happy Birthday Iggy Pop

Prepare to tender your best wishes to a true punk rock legend, because it’s Iggy Pop’s birthday today.

Born in Muskegon, Michigan in 1947, James Newell Osterberg, Jr. started his music career behind a drum kit, beating the skins for several different Ann Arbor bands while he was in high school, including the Iguanas (that’s when he picked up the nickname “Iggy”), but after a stint with the Prime Movers, he headed to Chicago, where he formed the Psychedelic Stooges with Ron Asheton, Scott Asheton, and Dave Alexander.

It didn’t take long before the Stooges dropped the “Psychedelic” from their name, and after attending a couple of Doors concerts, Iggy was inspired by Jim Morrison’s onstage antics to kick his own up a notch…or more like a dozen notches, really, when you consider that he’s credited with being the first performer to stage-dive, not to mention rolling around in broken glass, throwing up onstage, and, uh, showing Li’l Iggy to the audience, if you take our meaning. Only a year after their first concert, the Stooges had a deal with Elektra Records, and while neither of their albums for the label –those would be The Stooges and Fun House – racked up big sales figures, it certainly didn’t take long for them to be seen as classics by discerning music fans around the world. Iggy’s issues with heroin led to a disbanding of the Stooges, but a close encounter with David Bowie resulted in a revised lineup of the group recording a new album, the equally classic Raw Power. The band didn’t last, but Iggy’s collaboration with Bowie continued with his first two solo albums, The Idiot and Lust for Life, both released in 1977.

Iggy continued to record through the remainder of the ‘70s and into the ‘80s, but it wasn’t until he made the jump to A&M Records for 1986’s Blah Blah Blah that he started to be appreciated by a larger audience, leading to a slow but steady rise in profile which – in the wake of signing to Virgin Records a few years later – culminated in his first top-40 hit, 1990’s “Candy,” a duet with Kate Pierson of the B-52’s.

Since then, Iggy has continued to record and release new material on a regular basis, even reuniting with the Stooges to record two new albums in 2007 (The Weirdness) and 2013 (Ready to Die), but while the recent death of Scott Asheton would seem to have put an end to any future Stooges album, there’s every reason to believe that Iggy will keep on keepin’ on for the foreseeable future. After all, the man’s a force of nature…and he has been since the beginning, as you can hear by revisiting those first two Stooges albums on Elektra.