American singer-songwriter, musician, producer and actor Iggy Pop ( James Newell Osterberg, Jr.) was born April 21, 1947 in Muskegon, Michigan, Osterberg was raised in a trailer park in Ypsilanti, Michigan. He began his music career as a drummer in various high school bands in Ann Arbor, Michigan, including the Iguanas, who cut several records such as Bo Diddley’s “Mona” in 1965.His later stage name, Iggy, is derived from the Iguanas. After exploring local blues-style bands such as the Prime Movers he dropped out of the University of Michigan and moved to Chicago to learn more about blues. While in Chicago, he played drums in blues clubs, helped by Sam Lay (the Paul Butterfield Blues Band), Inspired by Chicago blues as well as bands like The Sonics, MC5 and The Doors, he formed the Psychedelic Stooges and began calling himself Iggy. The band was composed of Iggy on vocals, Ron Asheton on guitar, Asheton’s brother Scott on drums, and Dave Alexander on bass. Their first show was played at a Halloween party at a house in Detroit, Michigan.
Pop saw The Doors perform in 1967 at the University of Michigan and was amazed by the stage antics and antagonism displayed by singer Jim Morrison. Morrison’s extreme behavior, while performing in a popular band, inspired the young Pop to push the boundaries of stage performance. Other influences on Pop’s vocals and persona were Mick Jagger and James Brown. Pop was the first performer to do a stage-dive, which he started at a concert in Detroit.Pop, who traditionally performs bare-chested, also performed such stage theatrics as rolling around in broken glass, exposing himself to the crowd, and vomiting on stage. He was the vocalist of influential proto-punk band The Stooges. In 1968, one year after their live debut the band signed with Elektra Records, following the footsteps of The Doors, The Stooges’ first album The Stooges, (on which Pop was credited as “Iggy Stooge”), was produced by John Cale in New York in 1969. Both it and the follow-up, Fun House produced by Don Gallucci in Los Angeles in 1970, sold poorly. Though the release of Fun House did not receive the recognition it expected, it was later ranked #191 in Rolling Stone’s ‘500 Greatest Albums of All Time’ in 2003.Shortly after the new members joined, the group disbanded due to Pop’s worsening heroin addiction.
In 1971, without a record deal, The Stooges kept performing in small clubs with a 5-piece line-up that included both Ron Asheton and James Williamson on guitars and Jimmy Recca on bass, Dave Alexander having been sacked by Pop the previous year when he turned up for a gig unable to play because of his chronic alcoholism (he died in 1975). That year Pop and David Bowie met at Max’s Kansas City, a nightclub and restaurant in New York City. Pop’s career received a boost from his relationship with Bowie when Bowie decided in 1972 to produce an album with Pop. With James Williamson as guitarist. However, since neither Pop nor Williamson were satisfied with any players in England, they decided to re-unite The Stooges. Ron Asheton grudgingly moved from guitar to bass. The recording sessions produced the rock landmark Raw Power. After its release Scott Thurston joined the band on keyboards/electric piano and Bowie continued his support, but Pop’s drug problem persisted. The Stooges’ last show in 1974 ended in a fight between the band and a group of bikers, and Drug abuse stalled his career again for several years.
After the second breakup of The Stooges, Pop made some recordings with James Williamson, as Kill City, credited jointly to Pop and Williamson. Unable to control his drug use Pop checked himself into a mental institution, UCLA’s neuropsychiatric institute, to try to clean up. Bowie was one of his few visitors there, and he continued to support his friend and collaborator. In 1976, Bowie took him along as his companion on the Station to Station tour. This was Pop’s first exposure to large-scale professional touring and he was impressed, particularly with Bowie’s work ethic. On March 21, 1976, Bowie and Pop were arrested together for marijuana possession in Rochester, New York, although charges were later dropped.
Bowie and Pop relocated to West Berlin to wean themselves off their respective drug addictions. In 1977, Pop signed with RCA Records and Bowie helped write and produce The Idiot and Lust for Life, Pop’s two most acclaimed albums as a solo artist, the latter featuring one of Pop’s best-known songs “The Passenger”. Lust for Life also featured another team of brothers, Hunt and Tony Fox Sales, sons of comedian Soupy Sales. Among the songs Bowie and Pop wrote together were “China Girl”, “Tonight”, and “Sister Midnight”, all of which Bowie performed on his own albums later on (the last being recorded with different lyrics as “Red Money” on the album Lodger). Bowie also played keyboards in Pop’s live performances, some of which are featured on the album TV Eye Live in 1978. In return, Pop contributed backing vocals on Bowie’s Low. Following the album TV Eye Live then released New Values in 1979. Produced by James Williamson with Stooge Scott Thurston playing guitar and keyboards. the album’s style harkened back to the guitar sound of the Stooges. He then released the albums Soldier. Bowie appeared on the song “Play it Safe”, performing backing vocals with the group Simple Minds. Soldier was followed by the album Party. In 1980, Pop published his autobiography I Need More, co-written with Anne Wehner. In 1982 he released the album Zombie Birdhouse. Pop’s fortunes changed when David Bowie recorded a cover of the song “China Girl” a major hit on Let’s Dance. Bowie recorded five more of their co-written songs including Lust for Life and New Values. Pop also contributed the title song to the 1984 film Repo Man (with Steve Jones, previously of the Sex Pistols, on guitar, and Nigel Harrison and Clem Burke, both of Blondie on bass and drums) and recorded the instrumental “Repo Man Theme”. In 1986 Pop released the new wave-influenced Blah-Blah-Blah, featuring the single “Real Wild Child”, a cover of “The Wild One”, originally written and recorded by Australian rock ‘n’ roll musician Johnny O’Keefe in 1958. Iggy Pop and Lou Reed contributed their singing voices to the animated film Rock & Rule. Pop performed the song “Pain & Suffering”. In 1987, Pop appeared (along with Bootsy Collins) on the album, Neo Geo, by Japanese composer Ryuichi Sakamoto. Pop’s follow-up to Blah Blah Blah, Instinct (1988), featured stripped-back, guitar-based sound and sounded more like the Stooges than his previous solo albums. Pop wrote the song “Living on the Edge of the Night” for the Ridley Scott thriller Black Rain; and “Love Transfusion”, a song originally written by Alice Cooper (who does backing vocals) and Desmond Child, for Wes Craven’s Shocker.
In 1990, Pop recorded Brick by Brick, produced by Don Was, with members of Guns N’ Roses and The B-52’s as guests, as well as backup vocals by many local Hollywood groups, the song “Candy”, was a duet with B-52’s singer Kate Pierson. Pop also starred in the controversial opera The Manson Family where he sang the role of prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi. he also contributed to the Red Hot Organization’s AIDS benefit album Red Hot + Blue project, singing a version of “Well Did You Evah!” in a duet with Deborah Harry. Pop appeared on the Nickelodeon show The Adventures of Pete and Pete. He played James Mecklenberg, Nona Mecklenberg’s father. In 1991, Pop and Whitey Kirst contributed the song “Why Was I Born (Freddy’s Dead)” to the soundtrack of the film Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare. In 1992, he collaborated with Goran Bregović on the soundtrack for the movie Arizona Dream by Emir Kusturica. Pop sang four of the songs: In the Deathcar, TV Screen, Get the Money, and This is a Film. He also collaborated with the New York City band White Zombie recording spoken word vocals on the intro and outro of the song “Black Sunshine” as well as playing the character of a writer in the video shot for the song. In 1993, Pop released American Caesar, including two successful singles, “Wild America” and “Beside You” and in 1994 Pop contributed to Buckethead’s album Giant Robot, including the songs “Buckethead’s Toy Store” and “Post Office Buddy”. He appears also on the Les Rita Mitsouko album Système D singing “My Love is Bad” with Catherine Ringer. In 1996, Pop’s 1977 song “Lust for Life” was featured in the film Trainspotting.
In 1996, Pop released The album Naughty Little Doggie, with Whitey Kirst on guitar, and the single “I Wanna Live”. In 1997, he remixed Raw Power to give it a rougher, more hard-edged sound and co-produced his 1999 album Avenue B with Don Was, releasing the single “Corruption”. In 1997, Pop wrote the soundtrack to the film The Brave And made a guest appearance on The science fiction series Star Trek: Deep Space Nine portraying a Vorta in an episode based upon the film The Magnificent Seven, titled “The Magnificent Ferengi”. Pop also contributed the theme song for “Space Goofs”. Pop supplied vocals for the 1999 Death in Vegas UK Top-10 single Aisha and appeared on Hashisheen, The End Of Law, a collaborative effort by Bill Laswell, reading on the tracks The Western Lands and A Quick Trip to Alamut. He also sang on the tracks “Rolodex Propaganda” and “Enfilade” by At the Drive-In in 2000. During New Year’s Eve 1997, Pop was the headliner for the annual Australian three-day concert the Falls Festival. Pop produced the 2001 albums Beat ‘Em Up, which gave birth to The Trolls, releasing the single “Football” featuring Trolls alumni Whitey Kirst and brother Alex. Pop’s 2003 album Skull Ring featured collaborators Sum 41, Green Day, Peaches, and The Trolls, as well as Ron and Scott Asheton, reuniting the three surviving founding members of The Stooges for the first time since 1974. Pop made a guest appearance on Peaches’s song Kick It as well as the video. in 2003, his first full-length biography was published. Gimme Danger – The Story of Iggy Pop by Joe Ambrose. Pop reformed The Stooges with bassist Mike Watt (formerly of the Minutemen) filling in for the late Dave Alexander, and Fun House saxophonist Steve Mackay rejoining the lineup. Pop opened Madonna’s Reinvention World Tour in Dublin and Iggy and The Stooges played the Glastonbury Festival in June 2007 Playing classics such as “No Fun and “I Wanna Be Your Dog.”
In 2008 Pop appeared at Madonna’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York. Together with The Stooges he sang raucous versions of two Madonna hits, “Burning Up” and “Ray of Light.” Pop also sang on the “No Fun” cover by Asian Dub Foundation on their 2008 album Punkara. Sadly On January 6, 2009, original Stooges guitarist and Pop’s self-described best friend Ron Asheton was found dead from an apparent heart attack. He was 60 years old In 2009 James Williamson rejoined the band after 29 years. In 2009 it was finally announced that The Stooges would be inducted into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2010. In 2005, Pop appeared, along with Madonna, Little Richard, Bootsy Collins, and The Roots’ Questlove, in an American TV commercial and in 2006 Iggy and the Stooges played in Australia and New Zealand for the Big Day Out. Iggy Pop released his next album The Weirdness, in 2007. In 2006 Iggy and the Stooges performed at the Lowlands pop festival in the Netherlands, Hodokvas in Slovakia and in the Sziget Festival in Budapest. Author Paul Trynka completed a biography of Pop (with his blessing) called Open Up and Bleed, published 2007. Iggy and the Stooges played at Bam Margera’s wedding and Pop appeared on the single “Punkrocker” with the Teddybears in a Cadillac television commercial. Pop was also the voice of Lil’ Rummy on the Comedy Central cartoon Lil’ Bush and voiced characters on American Dad! The conputer game Grand Theft Auto IV, also includes The Stooges song “I Wanna Be Your Dog”. In 2008 Pop guested on Profanation (Preparation for a Coming Darkness), the new album by the Bill Laswell-helmed group Praxis. Pop collaborated with Danger Mouse and Sparklehorse on the album “Dark Night of the Soul”, singing the track “Pain.” In 2009 Pop released his fifteenth solo album, Préliminaires, Inspired by a novel by French author Michel Houellebecq called La Possibilité d’une île (The Possibility of an Island).
Pop was approached to provide the soundtrack for a film on Houellebcq. He describes this new release as a “quieter album with some jazz overtones”, the first single off the album, “King of the Dogs”, bearing a sound strongly influenced by New Orleans jazz musicians such as Louis Armstrong and Jelly Roll Morton. Pop said that the song was his response to being “sick of listening to idiot thugs with guitars banging out crappy music”. The album is available on legal download sites, CD, and a Deluxe Boxset is available at only 6000 units worldwide. This box set contains the Préliminaires album, a collector “Les Feuilles Mortes” b/w “King Of The Dogs” 7 inch, the cover of which is Pop’s portrait by Marjane Satrapi, and a 38-page booklet of drawings also by Marjane Satrapi. Pop also sings on “We’re All Gonna Die” on Slash’s first solo album Slash, and also appears as a character in the video game Lego Rock Band to sing his song “The Passenger”.
Following a stage diving accident in 2010 Pop claimed he would no longer stage dive. However, he did so at a concert in Madrid, Spain at the Hammersmith Apollo and Zottegem, Belgium. In 2010. Pop appeared at Yonge and Dundas Square in Toronto with the reformed Stooges on the NXNE main stage and also teamed up with The Lilies, a collaboration between Sergio Dias of Os Mutantes and French group Tahiti Boy & The Palmtree Family, to record the single “Why?” In 2011, Pop performed “Real Wild Child” on the tenth season of American Idol; the Los Angeles Times music blog “Pop & Hiss” He is also featured on Kesha’s song “Dirty Love” on her second album Warrior. In 2013, Iggy and the Stooges co-headlined RiotFest 2013 along with The Replacements. In 2014, Pop gave the fourth annual BBC Music John Peel Lecture in Salford, on the topic of “Free Music in a Capitalist Society”. Pop contributed the theme song to Alex Cox’s latest film, Bill, the Galactic Hero and collaborated with New Order on the song “Stray Dog” of their album Music Complete and also with Tomoyasu Hotei on the songs “How The Cookie Crumbles” and “Walking Through The Night” from the album Strangers. In 2016, Pop released a double live album with Josh Homme titled Post Pop Depression: Live At The Royal Albert Hall and in 2017, Iggy Pop performed the song “T.V. Eye” with Metallica on their Hardwired Tour in Mexico City, Mexico.