It’s hard to imagine a musical landscape that will no longer include Iggy Pop. He’s been releasing music for my entire life time and even though his output has been of varying quality at times, when it’s been good it’s been very good indeed. After his former cohort, David Bowie, released his final album just prior to his death earlier this year, it seems fitting that Iggy would choose to release his final album in 2016 too.
My earliest memory of Iggy is his iconic performance on ABC TV’s Countdown with host Molly Meldrum. From his electrifying mimed performance of “I’m Bored” to his bouncing up and down in the interview chair and attempting to say “G’day mate”. Youtube it, it’s worth a viewing.
For many fans it is his groundbreaking work with The Stooges that earned him the nickname “The Godfather of Punk”. Despite the commercial failure of the first two studio albums they did contain some great tracks such as “I Wanna Be Your Dog”, “No Fun” and “TV Eye”. But it was the third Stooges album, Raw Power, featuring James Williamson in the band, that became a cult classic. It was the first time Iggy worked with David Bowie as the album needed remixing at the record company’s insistence. A difficult task for Bowie as the 24 track master had the band on one track, the lead guitarist on another and Iggy on a third. Not a lot to work with. But it did include the seminal tracks “Search And Destroy”, “Your Pretty Face Is Going To Hell” and “Gimme Danger”.
After the demise of The Stooges (again) Iggy recorded his debut solo album with David Bowie producing and co-writing the material. The album, The Idiot, was named after the novel by Fyodor Dostoyevsky and featured such fantastic tracks as “Sister Midnight”, “Nightclubbing” and the original version of “China Girl”, a hit for Bowie later.
Released a mere five months after his debut, Lust For Life remains a career pinnacle for Iggy. Co-produced by Iggy with both Bowie and Colin Thurston, the album features what many consider his signature tune in the title track, along side other classics like “The Passenger”, “Tonight” and “Success”.
Co-produced by former Stooge James Williamson, 1979’s New Values was Iggy’s first solo album not to have any involvement from Bowie. It featured the aforementioned classic “I’m Bored” and “Five Foot One” as singles.
After a few rather unsuccessful albums of somewhat patchy quality, Iggy reunited with Bowie for the fantastic Blah Blah Blah in 1986. Although the album’s drum sound is a little dated by today’s standards, it featured some great tracks that were all released as singles. “Shades”, “Fire Girl”, “Isolation”, “Real Wild Child (Wild One)” and my personal favourite “Cry For Love”.
Collaborating with such musicians as Slash, John Hiatt, Waddy Wachtel and Kate Pierson of the B-52s, really paid off for Iggy on 1990’s Brick By Brick. “Candy”, the duet with Pierson, would end up being the biggest hit of his career. The album was helmed by renowned producer Don Was, a long time Stooges fan.
Also in 1990, Iggy dueted with Blondie’s Deborah Harry on a fantastic cover version of “Well Did You Evah?”, originally performed by Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby. The track was part of the compilation, Red Hot + Blue: A Tribute to Cole Porter, an album released in order to raise money for AIDS research. It is worth obtaining this album just for Iggy’s performance in my humble opinion!
Continuing his career resurgence Iggy released the album, American Caesar, in 1993. Although not as successful as its predecessor the album spawned another hit single in “Wild America”. Humourously, the cover came with a sticker with the wording, “Parental Warning: This Is An Iggy Pop Record”, which says it all really.
Iggy would work again with Don Was as producer, on his 1999 critically acclaimed album, Avenue B. Not as successful commercially as some of his other albums, it is still an album well worth a listen.
Although he has been quite prolific since the turn of the century including a couple of albums with the re-formed Stooges and a pair of French-inspired albums in Préliminaires and Après, he has never really regained the popularity he attained earlier in his career. If his latest release, Post Pop Depression, really is his last then it is a career-ending high note. Working with Josh Homme as producer and co-writer, the album also features Homme’s fellow band member from Queens Of The Stone Age, Dean Fertita, and the Arctic Monkeys drummer, Matt Helders.
I picked up my copy on Friday 18th March 2016, the first day of release, and I am sure it will be one of my favourite releases of the year.