Iggy Pop

James Newell Osterberg Jr. (born April 21, 1947), better known as Iggy Pop, is an American singer, songwriter, musician, record producer, and actor. Designated the "Godfather of Punk",[1][2] he was the vocalist of influential proto-punk band the Stooges, who were formed in 1967 and have disbanded and reunited multiple times since.[3] He is well known for his outrageous and unpredictable stage antics.[4][5][6]

Pop's music has encompassed a number of styles over the course of his career, including garage rock, punk rock, hard rock, art rock, new wave, jazz, blues, and electronic.[7][8] Though his popularity has fluctuated through the years, many of Pop's songs have become well-known, including "Search and Destroy" and "I Wanna Be Your Dog" by the Stooges, and his solo hits "Lust for Life", "The Passenger", and "Real Wild Child (Wild One)". In 2010, the Stooges were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Iggy Pop
Pop performing in July 2011
James Newell Osterberg Jr.

April 21, 1947 (age 71)
ResidenceMiami, Florida, U.S.
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • musician
  • record producer
  • actor
Years active1960–present
Wendy Weissberg
(m. 1968; annulled 1968)

Suchi Asano
(m. 1984; div. 1999)

Nina Alu
(m. 2008)
Musical career
  • Vocals
  • guitar
  • drums
Associated acts

Early life

Iggy Pop HS Yearbook.jpeg
Osterberg as a high school senior, 1965

Iggy Pop was born James Newell Osterberg Jr. in Muskegon, Michigan, on April 21, 1947, the son of Louella (née Christensen; 1917–1996)[9] and James Newell Osterberg Sr. (1921–2007),[9] a former high school English teacher and baseball coach at Fordson High School in Dearborn, Michigan.[10] He is of English, German, and Irish descent on his father's side, and Danish and Norwegian ancestry on his mother's side.[11] His father was adopted by Swedish Jews[12] who fled the Holocaust,[13] and took on their surname (Österberg).[11] Pop was raised in a trailer park in Ypsilanti, Michigan.[14] In a 2007 Rolling Stone interview, Pop explained his relationship with his parents and their contribution to his music:

Once I hit junior high in Ann Arbor, I began going to school with the son of the president of Ford Motor Company, with kids of wealth and distinction. But I had a wealth that beat them all. I had the tremendous investment my parents made in me. I got a lot of care. They helped me explore anything I was interested in. This culminated in their evacuation from the master bedroom in the trailer, because that was the only room big enough for my drum kit. They gave me their bedroom.[15]

Music career

Early days: 1960–1967

The Prime Movers, featuring Iggy Pop on drums

Osterberg 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.[16] His later stage name, Iggy, is derived from the Iguanas. After exploring local blues-style bands such as the Prime Movers (with brothers Dan and Michael Erlewine), he eventually dropped out of the University of Michigan[17] and moved to Chicago to learn more about blues. While in Chicago, he played drums in blues clubs, helped by Sam Lay (formerly of the Paul Butterfield Blues Band) who shared his connections with Iggy.[18] 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. Members of the MC5 were also in attendance.

The Stooges era: 1968–1974

The seeds of Iggy Pop's stage persona were sown when he 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.[14] Morrison's extreme behavior, while performing in a popular band, inspired the young Iggy Pop to push the boundaries of stage performance. Other influences on Iggy Pop's vocals and persona were Mick Jagger and James Brown. Iggy Pop was one of the first performers to do a stage-dive and popularized the activity.[19][14] Iggy Pop, who traditionally (but not exclusively) performs bare-chested, also performed such stage theatrics as rolling around in broken glass and exposing himself to the crowd.[14]

I attended two concerts by the Doors. The first one I attended was early on and they had not gotten their shit together yet. That show was a big, big, big influence on me. They had just had their big hit, "Light My Fire" and the album had taken off. ... So, here's this guy, out of his head on acid, dressed in leather with his hair all oiled and curled. The stage was tiny and it was really low. It got confrontational. I found it really interesting. I loved the performance ... Part of me was like, "Wow, this is great. He's really pissing people off and he's lurching around making these guys angry." People were rushing the stage and Morrison's going "Fuck you. You blank, blank, blank." You can fill in your sexual comments yourself. The other half of it was that I thought, "If they've got a hit record out and they can get away with this, then I have no fucking excuse not to get out on stage with my band." It was sort of the case of, "Hey, I can do that." There really was some of that in there.[20]

In addition to Jim Morrison and The Doors' influence on the band, Iggy Pop also attributes the Stooges getting jump started after seeing an all-girls rock band from Princeton, New Jersey called The Untouchable play. In a 1995 interview with Bust Magazine, he relates:

And the other thing was we went to New York. We had gone to New York a couple of months before that just to check out the scene, and we had never been to a place like New York ... we went down around Eighth Street there where all the young tourists hang out, and we met these girls from New Jersey, from Princeton, they had a band called The Untouchable, and we're like, "Oh, you've got a band, sure, ha ha ha," and they said "Well, come to our house and see us play." And we didn't have anywhere to crash, and they played for us, and they completely rocked, and we were really ashamed.

In 1968, one year after their live debut and now dubbed the Psychedelic Stooges, the band signed with Elektra Records, again following in the footsteps of The Doors, who were Elektra's biggest act at the time (according to Iggy, guitarist Ron Asheton called Moe Howard to see if it was all right to call the band "The Stooges", to which Howard responded by merely saying "I don't care what they call themselves, as long as they're not the Three Stooges!" and hung up the phone). Iggy himself told the story in the 2016 Jim Jarmusch documentary film about The Stooges, Gimme Danger. The Stooges' first album The Stooges, (on which Iggy 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 No. 191 in Rolling Stone's '500 Greatest Albums of All Time' in 2003.[21] Shortly after the new members joined, the group disbanded because of Iggy 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 Iggy 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 Iggy Pop and David Bowie met at Max's Kansas City, a nightclub and restaurant in New York City.[22] Iggy Pop's career received a boost from his relationship with Bowie when Bowie decided in 1972 to produce an album with Iggy Pop in England. With James Williamson signed on as guitarist, the search began for a rhythm section. However, since neither Iggy 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 was added to the band on keyboards/electric piano and Bowie continued his support, but Iggy Pop's drug problem persisted. The Stooges' last show in 1974 ended in a fight between the band and a group of bikers, documented on the album Metallic K.O. Drug abuse stalled his career again for several years.

Bowie and Berlin: 1976–1978

Iggy-Pop 1977
Iggy Pop, October 25, 1977 at the State Theatre in Minneapolis

After the Stooges' second breakup, Iggy made recordings with James Williamson, but these were not released until 1977 (as Kill City, credited jointly to Iggy and Williamson).[23] Iggy was unable to control his drug use and checked himself into a mental institution, the UCLA 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 Iggy's first exposure to large-scale professional touring and he was impressed, particularly with Bowie's work ethic. Following a March 21, 1976 show, Bowie and Iggy were arrested together for marijuana possession in Rochester, New York, although charges were later dropped.[24]

Bowie and Iggy relocated to West Berlin to wean themselves off their respective drug addictions. "Living in a Berlin apartment with Bowie and his friends was interesting…" Iggy recalled. "The big event of the week was Thursday night. Anyone who was still alive and able to crawl to the sofa would watch Starsky & Hutch."[25]

In 1977, Iggy signed with RCA Records. Bowie helped write and produce The Idiot and Lust for Life, Iggy's two most acclaimed albums as a solo artist, the latter featuring one of his best-known songs, "The Passenger". Lust for Life featured another team of brothers, Hunt and Tony Fox Sales, sons of comedian Soupy Sales. Among the songs Bowie and Iggy wrote together were "China Girl", "Tonight", and "Sister Midnight", all of which Bowie performed on his own albums later (the last being recorded with different lyrics as "Red Money" on Lodger). Bowie also played keyboards in Iggy's live performances, some of which are featured on the album TV Eye Live in 1978. In return, Iggy contributed backing vocals on Bowie's Low.

Arista albums: 1979–1981

Iggy Pop, Cardiff, 1979

Iggy Pop had grown dissatisfied with RCA, later admitting that he had made TV Eye Live as a quick way of fulfilling his three-album RCA contract. He moved to Arista Records, under whose banner he released New Values in 1979. This album was something of a Stooges reunion, with James Williamson producing and latter-day Stooge Scott Thurston playing guitar and keyboards. Not surprisingly, the album's style harkened back to the guitar sound of the Stooges. Although highly regarded by many Iggy fans (some preferring it to the Bowie collaborations), New Values was not a popular success.

The album was moderately successful in Australia and New Zealand, however, and this led to Iggy Pop's first visit there to promote it. While in Melbourne, he made a memorable appearance on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's nationwide show Countdown. During his anarchic performance of "I'm Bored", Iggy Pop made no attempt to conceal the fact that he was lip-synching (shoving the microphone down his pants at one point), and he even tried to grab the teenage girls in the audience. He was also interviewed by host Molly Meldrum, an exchange which was frequently punctuated by the singer jumping up and down on his chair and making loud exclamations of "G'day mate" in a mock Australian accent. His Countdown appearance is generally considered one of the highlights of the show's history and it cemented his popularity with Australian punk fans; since then he has often toured there. While visiting New Zealand, Iggy Pop recorded a music video for "I'm Bored", and attended a record company function where he appeared to slap a woman and throw wine over a photographer.[26] While in Australia, Iggy Pop was also the guest on a live late-night commercial TV interview show on the Ten Network. It is not known whether a recording of this interview exists, but the famous Countdown appearance has often been re-screened in Australia.

During the recording of Soldier (1980), Iggy Pop and David Bowie argued with Williamson over various aspects of the project. Williamson recalling 'I was not at all happy with a number of aspects of that record including the band, the material and the recording facilities. So I was unhappy in general and vice versa'.[27] Williamson left the project. Bowie appeared on the song "Play it Safe", performing backing vocals with the group Simple Minds. The album and its follow-up Party (1981) were both commercial failures, and Iggy Pop was dropped from Arista. His drug habit varied in intensity, but persisted.


Iggy Pop - pinkpop87
Iggy Pop at the Pinkpop Festival in 1987

In 1980, Iggy Pop published his autobiography I Need More, co-written with Anne Wehner, an Ann Arbor arts patron. The book, which includes a selection of black and white photographs, featured a foreword by Andy Warhol. Warhol wrote that he met Iggy when he was Jim Osterberg, at the Ann Arbor Film Festival in 1966. "I don't know why he hasn't made it really big," Warhol wrote. "He is so good."[28]

The 1982 album Zombie Birdhouse on Chris Stein's Animal label, with Stein himself producing, was no more commercially successful than his Arista works, but again, in 1983, Iggy Pop's fortunes changed when David Bowie recorded a cover of the song "China Girl". The song had originally appeared on The Idiot, and was a major hit on Bowie's blockbuster Let's Dance album. As co-writer of the song, Iggy Pop received substantial royalties. On Tonight in 1984, Bowie recorded five more of their co-written songs (2 from Lust for Life, 1 from New Values, and 2 new songs), assuring Iggy Pop financial security, at least for the short term. The support from Bowie enabled Iggy Pop to take a three-year break, during which he overcame his resurgent heroin addiction and took acting classes.

Additionally, Iggy Pop 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) as well as an instrumental called "Repo Man Theme" that was played during the opening credits.

In 1985, Iggy Pop recorded some demos with Jones. He played these demos for Bowie, who was sufficiently impressed to offer to produce an album for Iggy Pop: 1986's 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. The single was a Top 10 hit in the UK and was successful around the world, especially in Australia, where it has been used since 1987 as the theme music for the ABC's late-night music video show Rage. Blah-Blah-Blah was Iggy Pop's highest-charting album in the U.S. since The Idiot in 1977, peaking at No. 75 on the Billboard Top 200 albums chart.

Also in 1985, Iggy Pop and Lou Reed contributed their singing voices to the animated film Rock & Rule. Iggy Pop performed the song "Pain & Suffering" in the final sequence of the film.[29]

In 1987, Iggy Pop appeared (along with Bootsy Collins) on a mostly instrumental album, Neo Geo, by Japanese composer Ryuichi Sakamoto. The music video for "Risky", written and directed by Meiert Avis, won the first ever MTV Breakthrough Video Award. The groundbreaking video explores transhumanist philosopher FM-2030's ideas of Nostalgia for the Future in the form of an imagined love affair between a robot and one of Man Ray's models in Paris in the late 1930s. Additional inspiration was drawn from Jean Baudrillard, Edvard Munch's 1894 painting Puberty, and Roland Barthes Death of the Author. The surrealist black-and-white video uses stop motion, light painting, and other retro in-camera effects techniques. Meiert Avis recorded Sakamoto while at work on the score for The Last Emperor in London. Sakamoto also appears in the video painting words and messages to an open shutter camera. Iggy Pop, who performs the vocals on "Risky", chose not to appear in the video, allowing his performance space to be occupied by the surrealist era robot.

Iggy Pop's follow-up to Blah Blah Blah, Instinct (1988), was a turnaround in musical direction. Its stripped-back, guitar-based sound leaned further towards the sound of the Stooges than any of his solo albums to date. His record label dropped him, but the King Biscuit radio show recorded the Instinct tour (featuring guitarist Andy McCoy and Alvin Gibbs on bass) in Boston on July 19, 1988. Working with rock attorney Stann Findelle, Iggy Pop scored more movie soundtrack inclusions in 1989: "Living on the Edge of the Night" in the Ridley Scott thriller Black Rain; and "Love Transfusion", a song originally written by Alice Cooper (who does backing vocals) and Desmond Child,[30] in Wes Craven's Shocker.

1990s and early 2000s

In 1990, Iggy 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, two of whom (Whitey Kirst and Craig Pike) would create his band to tour and perform on his Kiss My Blood video (1991), directed by Tim Iggy Pope and filmed at the Olympia in Paris. The video attracted much controversy, as it featured much footage of Iggy Pop performing with his penis exposed to the audience. The album was his first Gold-certified album in the U.S. (denoting sales of over 500,000 copies) and featured his first Top 40 U.S. hit, "Candy", a duet with B-52's singer Kate Pierson.

Also in 1990, Iggy Pop sang the role of "The Prosecutor" for the POINT Music/Philips Classics recording (released in 1992) of composer John Moran's multimedia opera[31] The Manson Family.[32][33] That year 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.

In the early to middle 1990s, Iggy Pop would make several guest appearances on the Nickelodeon show The Adventures of Pete and Pete. He played James Mecklenberg, Nona Mecklenberg's father.

In 1991, Iggy Pop and Kirst contributed the song "Why Was I Born (Freddy's Dead)" to the soundtrack of the film Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare. The song also plays over the end credits of the film, with a compilation of clips from the A Nightmare on Elm Street series running alongside the end credits. In the same year, Iggy Pop sang a leading role in the John Moran opera The Manson Family.

In 1992, he collaborated with Goran Bregović on the soundtrack for the movie Arizona Dream by Emir Kusturica. Iggy Pop sang four of the songs: In the Deathcar, TV Screen, Get the Money, and This is a Film. Also in 1992, he collaborated with the New York City band White Zombie. He recorded 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. He is singled out for special thanks in the liner notes of the band's album La Sexorcisto: Devil Music Volume One.

In 1993, Iggy Pop released American Caesar, including two successful singles, "Wild America" and "Beside You". The following year Iggy 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 where he sings the duet "My Love is Bad" with Catherine Ringer.

In 1996, Iggy Pop again found mainstream fame when his 1977 song "Lust for Life" was featured in the film Trainspotting. A new video was recorded for the song, with clips from the film and studio footage of Iggy Pop dancing with one of the film's stars, Ewen Bremner. An Iggy Pop concert also served as a plot point in the film. The song has also been used in TV commercials for Royal Caribbean and as the theme music to The Jim Rome Show, a nationally syndicated American sports talk show.

In 1996, Iggy Pop released Naughty Little Doggie, with Whitey Kirst returning on guitar, and the single "I Wanna Live". In 1997, he remixed Raw Power to give it a rougher, more hard-edged sound; fans had complained for years that Bowie's official "rescue effort" mix was muddy and lacking in bass. Iggy Pop testified in the reissue's liner notes that on the new mix, "everything's still in the red". He co-produced his 1999 album Avenue B with Don Was, releasing the single "Corruption".

In 1997, Iggy Pop was credited with the soundtrack to the film The Brave.

On January 1, 1998, Iggy Pop made a guest appearance on Paramount Television's science fiction series Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Iggy Pop played a Vorta in an episode based upon the film The Magnificent Seven, titled "The Magnificent Ferengi". Iggy Pop also contributed the theme song for "Space Goofs".

Iggy Pop supplied vocals for the 1999 Death in Vegas UK Top-10 single Aisha. The same year he 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.

For New Year's Eve 1997, Iggy Pop was the headliner for the annual Australian three-day concert the Falls Festival. He gave one of the most memorable performances in the history of the festival. A member of the audience got to do the countdown for the new year with Iggy Pop as part of a competition to guess Iggy Pop's new year's resolution (it was "To do nothing and make a lot of money!")

Iggy Pop produced 2001's Beat 'Em Up, which gave birth to The Trolls, releasing the single "Football" featuring Trolls alumni Whitey Kirst and brother Alex.

The Stooges reunion: 2003–2010

Iggy 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. Iggy Pop made a guest appearance on Peaches's song Kick It as well as the video. Also in 2003, his first full-length biography was published. Gimme Danger – The Story of Iggy Pop was written by Joe Ambrose; Iggy Pop did not collaborate on the biography or publicly endorse it. Having enjoyed working with the Ashetons on Skull Ring, Iggy 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. They have toured regularly since 2004. That year, Iggy Pop opened Madonna's Reinvention World Tour in Dublin.

Iggy and the Stooges played the Glastonbury Festival in June 2007. Their set included material from the 2007 album The Weirdness and classics such as "No Fun and "I Wanna Be Your Dog". Iggy Pop also caused controversy in June 2007 when he was interviewed on the BBC's coverage of the Glastonbury Festival. He used the phrase "paki shop", apparently unaware of its racist connotations, prompting three complaints and an apology from the BBC.[34]

On March 10, 2008 Iggy 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". Before leaving the stage he looked directly at Madonna, quoting "You make me feel shiny and new, like a virgin, touched for the very first time", from Madonna's hit song "Like a Virgin". According to guitarist Ron Asheton, Madonna asked the Stooges to perform in her place, as a protest to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for not inducting the Stooges despite six appearances on the nomination ballot.[35] Iggy Pop also sang on the "No Fun" cover by Asian Dub Foundation on their 2008 album Punkara.

On January 6, 2009, original Stooges guitarist and Iggy 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.[36]

On December 15, 2009 it was announced that the Stooges would be inducted into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on March 15, 2010. Iggy Pop had "about two hours of a strong emotional reaction" to the news.[37]

2000s and 2010s

Iggy Pop Memphis 2007
Iggy Pop at Beale Street Music Festival, Memphis in May 2007
Iggy Pop at Burger Boogaloo
Iggy Pop at Burger Boogaloo, Mosswood Park, Oakland, California 2017. Photo: Aaron Rubin

In 2005, Iggy Pop appeared, along with Madonna, Little Richard, Bootsy Collins, and The Roots' Questlove, in an American TV commercial for the Motorola ROKR phone. In early 2006, Iggy and the Stooges played in Australia and New Zealand for the Big Day Out. They also began work on a new album, The Weirdness, which was recorded by Steve Albini and released in March 2007. In August 2006 Iggy and the Stooges performed at the Lowlands pop festival in the Netherlands, Hodokvas in Slovakia and in the Sziget Festival in Budapest.

Iggy Pop (5)
Sziget Festival in Budapest – 2006

Author Paul Trynka completed a biography of Iggy Pop (with his blessing) called Open Up and Bleed, published in early 2007. More recently, Iggy and the Stooges played at Bam Margera's wedding and Iggy Pop appeared on the single "Punkrocker" with the Teddybears in a Cadillac television commercial. Iggy Pop was also the voice of Lil' Rummy on the Comedy Central cartoon Lil' Bush and confirmed that he has done voices for American Dad! and Grand Theft Auto IV,[38] which also included the Stooges song "I Wanna Be Your Dog" (though the game's manual credited Iggy Pop as the artist).

Iggy Pop guested on Profanation, the new album by the Bill Laswell-helmed group Praxis, which was released on January 1, 2008.

Iggy Pop collaborated with Danger Mouse and Sparklehorse on the album Dark Night of the Soul, singing the track "Pain".

Iggy Pop's fifteenth solo album, Préliminaires, was released on June 2, 2009. Inspired by a novel by French author Michel Houellebecq called La Possibilité d'une île (2005; Trans. as The Possibility of an Island by Gavin Bowd, 2006), Iggy Pop was approached to provide the soundtrack for a documentary film on Houellebcq and his attempts to make a film from his novel. 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. Iggy 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 Iggy Pop's portrait by Marjane Satrapi, and a 38-page booklet of drawings also by Marjane Satrapi.

In January 2009, Iggy Pop was signed up as the face of Swiftcover, the UK-based online insurance company.[39] He fronted a £25 million TV ad campaign for Swiftcover, using the strapline "Get a Life".[40] The advert was then banned by the Advertising Standards Authority on April 28, 2009 for being misleading – it implied that Iggy Pop himself had an insurance policy with Swiftcover when at the time the company did not insure musicians.[41]

Iggy Pop also sings on "We're All Gonna Die" on Slash's first solo album Slash, which was released in April 2010.[42] He appeared as a character in the video game Lego Rock Band to sing his song "The Passenger" and also lent his voice for the in game tutorial.[43] With reference to the song "The Passenger", Iggy Pop has appeared on NZ television advertising phone networks to show how he can get a band to play together by conference call.

Iggy & The Stooges @ Bsf 2012 (7855853088)
Iggy Pop performing with the Stooges in 2012

After a March 2010 stage diving accident, Iggy Pop claimed he would no longer stage dive. However, he did so on three occasions at a concert in Madrid, Spain on April 30, 2010.[44] And it was much the same in London at the Hammersmith Apollo on May 2, 2010.[45] On July 9, 2010 he again stage dived in Zottegem, Belgium, causing Iggy to bleed from the face.[46] In June 2010, Iggy Pop appeared at Yonge and Dundas Square in Toronto with the reformed Stooges on the NXNE main stage. In 2011 he 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?".

Iggy Pop at the UK Hop Farm Festival, July 2011

Iggy Pop lent his image to PETA's campaign against the annual Canada seal hunt.[47]

On April 7, 2011, at age 63, Iggy Pop performed "Real Wild Child" on the tenth season of American Idol; the Los Angeles Times music blog "Iggy Pop & Hiss" described Iggy Pop as being "still magnetic, still disturbing".[48] He is also featured on Kesha's song "Dirty Love" on her second album Warrior.[49] On August 25, 2013, Iggy and the Stooges co-headlined RiotFest 2013's Day 2, performing in Toronto and Denver along with The Replacements.[50]

In 2012, Iggy Pop was voted into the Michigan Rock and Roll Legends Hall of Fame.[51]

On October 14, 2014, Iggy Pop gave the fourth annual BBC Music John Peel Lecture in Salford, on the topic of "Free Music in a Capitalist Society".[52] He used the lecture to discuss his experiences of the music industry, and his reflections on the effect of the internet on the consumption of music and the broader media.[53] Iggy Pop hosts a weekly radio show on BBC Radio 6, where he covers an eclectic range of music from punk to jazz, he also champions and pushes new artists such as Shame, Fat White Family, False Heads and Sleaford Mods .

In January 2015, it was announced that Iggy Pop contributed the theme song to Alex Cox's film Bill, the Galactic Hero.[54] He also collaborated with New Order on the song "Stray Dog" of their album Music Complete released in September of that year. Iggy Pop also collaborated with Tomoyasu Hotei on the songs "How The Cookie Crumbles" and "Walking Through The Night" from the album Strangers, also released that same year.[55]

In 2016, Iggy Pop recorded an album with Josh Homme titled Post Pop Depression. The album was released on March 18, with a tour to follow.[56][57] On both sides of the Atlantic, the album set a new peak chart position for Iggy Pop albums, becoming his first ever US Top 20 album[58] and first ever UK Top 5 album.[59]

On October 28, 2016, Iggy Pop released the double live album Post Iggy Pop Depression: Live At The Royal Albert Hall on Eagle Rock Entertainment (on DVD+2CD and digital formats).

On March 5, 2017, Iggy Pop performed the song "T.V. Eye" with Metallica on their Hardwired Tour stop at Foro Sol in Mexico City, Mexico.

On July 27, 2018, Iggy Pop released a joint EP with Underworld, titled Teatime Dub Encounters. Iggy Pop and Underworld had both contributed tracks to Danny Boyle's 1996 movie Trainspotting.[60][8]

Film, television and radio career

As an actor Iggy Pop has appeared in a number of movies, including Sid and Nancy (a non-speaking cameo role), The Color of Money, Hardware (voice only), The Crow: City of Angels, The Rugrats Movie, Snow Day, Coffee and Cigarettes (opposite Tom Waits, in the third segment of the film, "Somewhere in California"), Cry-Baby, Dead Man, Tank Girl and Atolladero, a Spanish science fiction Western. He was wanted to play Funboy in the original The Crow movie, but his recording schedule would not permit him. In February 2009, he played the character Victor in the movie Suck. Iggy Pop was featured alongside indie starlet Greta Gerwig in the film Art House, which premiered at the Nashville Film Festival in April 2010.

Iggy Pop has been featured in five television series, including Tales from the Crypt, The Adventures of Pete & Pete, where he played Nona's dad in the second and third season, and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, in which he played Yelgrun in the episode "The Magnificent Ferengi". With the Stooges, he was featured in an episode of MTV's Bam's Unholy Union as the main band performing at Bam Margera's wedding. Additionally, a portion of the music video for Iggy Pop's "Butt Town" was featured on an episode of Beavis and Butthead. Iggy Pop voiced Lil' Rummy on the Comedy Central show Lil' Bush, and also provided the voice for a character in the English-language version of the 2007 animated film Persepolis.

Iggy Pop has been profiled in four rockumentaries and has had songs on 18 soundtracks, including Crocodile Dundee II; Trainspotting; Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels; Haggard; Arizona Dream; Repo Man; Black Rain; Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare; Shocker; and Kurt Cobain: About a Son.

Iggy Pop worked with Johnny Depp on several films: they appeared together in Cry-Baby and Dead Man. Iggy Pop provided the soundtrack for The Brave, which was directed by and starred Depp, and music for Depp's 1993 film Arizona Dream.

Iggy Pop also voiced a cameo in the American Dad! episode "American Dream Factory" as Jerry, the drummer, in Steve Smith's band. He makes an appearance in FLicKeR, a 2008 feature documentary by Nik Sheehan about Brion Gysin and the Dreamachine. Iggy Pop played himself as the DJ of the fictional rock station Liberty Rock Radio 97. 8 in the video game Grand Theft Auto IV. The Stooges song "I Wanna Be Your Dog" was featured on the same station. Iggy Pop also featured as a voice talent in the 2004 ATARI video game DRIV3R, which was produced by Reflections Interactive. Iggy Pop appears as a character in the Adult Swim animated comedy/adventure series The Venture Bros.. He is one of the bodyguards, along with Klaus Nomi, of David Bowie, who is "The Sovereign" of the Guild of Calamitous Intent. Iggy Pop has some unclear super-powers, which he uses when he and Nomi turn against Bowie.

In 2012, Iggy Pop played the conscience of a clown named Elliot (Denis Lavant) in the French film L'Étoile du jour (Morning Star) directed by Sophie Blondy.

In 2013, Iggy Pop appeared shortly in the French film Les gamins then he voiced The Caterpillar in the television series Once Upon a Time in Wonderland.

In 2014, Iggy Pop presented (narrated) the BBC documentary "Burroughs at 100".[61] William Burroughs profoundly affected Iggy Pop's writing, inspiring lyrics in the famous "Lust for Life". It was aired in the US on This American Life on January 30, 2015 in the episode "Burroughs 101", commemorating his 101st birthday.

Iggy Pop hosts a weekly radio show and podcast titled "Iggy Confidential" on BBC 6 Music every Friday at 19.00 UK time.[62]

Based on Kai Grehn's German translation of Walt Whitman's poetry cycle in 2005, a radio drama and bilingual double-CD audio book "Kinder Adams/Children of Adam" was released by Hörbuch Hamburg in 2014, including a complete reading by Iggy Pop.

In 2015, Iggy Pop had a starring role as Vicious in the Björn Tagemose-directed silent film Gutterdämmerung opposite Grace Jones, Henry Rollins and Lemmy.[63] Iggy Pop was featured in the Rammstein DVD Rammstein in Amerika.

In 2016, Iggy Pop was featured as a main subject in the documentary Danny Says starring alongside Danny Fields, Alice Cooper, Judy Collins, Wayne Kramer, Jac Holzman and more.[64] In the same year, Iggy Pop starred in Toby Tobias' thriller Blood Orange in which he plays an ageing rock star.[65] Also during 2016, Jim Jarmusch directed Gimme Danger, a documentary movie about the band.[66] On June 22, 2016, Stooges guitarist James Williamson made an official statement saying that the Stooges are no more:

The Stooges is over. Basically, everybody's dead except Iggy and I. So it would be sort-of ludicrous to try and tour as Iggy and the Stooges when there's only one Stooge in the band and then you have side guys. That doesn't make any sense to me.

Williamson also added that touring had become boring, and trying to balance the band's career as well as Iggy Pop's was a difficult task.[67] Also in 2016, he participated, with Michel Houellebecq and others, in Erik Lieshout's documentary To Stay Alive: A Method.

In 2017, Iggy Pop appeared in Song to Song directed by Terrence Malick, opposite Michael Fassbender.[68][69]

Iggy Pop is filming The Sandman with Italian director Dario Argento. It is scheduled for release in November 2018.


The Passenger was the putative name for a biographical film about Iggy Pop's early career with the Stooges. The film was to be directed by Nick Gomez and Elijah Wood was to play Iggy Pop.[70][71][72] As of 2010, the project appears to have been shelved.[73]

Iggy Pop liked the script but refused to take part in the film. He said:

The script ain't chopped liver ... It was a work of art. But subjectively, I don't want to be involved in any way. A producer and the writer sent me a very decent letter and asked me to write back if I didn't want them to do it ... I don't feel negative about it at all.

He also called Wood "a very poised and talented actor".[74]

Classical scholarship

In 1995, an established journal of classical scholarship, Classics Ireland, published Iggy Pop's reflections on the applicability of Edward Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire to the modern world in a short article, Caesar Lives, (Vol. 2, 1995).[75][76] Iggy Pop also relates how reading Gibbon while on tour in the Southern United States inspired him to a spontaneous soliloquy he called "Caesar".

Personal life

Pop lives near Miami, Florida.[77] He has been married three times: to Wendy Weissberg (for several weeks in 1968 before the marriage was annulled shortly thereafter),[78] to Suchi Asano (from 1984 until their divorce in 1999),[79] and most recently to his longtime partner Nina Alu, whom he married in 2008. He has a son, Eric Benson, born in 1970 from a relationship with Paulette Benson.[80]

In the 1990s, Pop developed a friendship with Johnny Depp, Jim Jarmusch, and tattoo artist Jonathan Shaw. According to Shaw, the four wore matching rings depicting a skull, and all but Pop received a similar skull-and-crossbones tattoo.[81]


In the movie Velvet Goldmine, Ewan McGregor portrays Curt Wilde, a character loosely based on Iggy Pop. McGregor performs the Stooges songs "TV Eye" and "Gimme Danger" in the film. In the 2013 film CBGB, Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins portrays Iggy Pop in the late 1970s. In the Super Mario Bros. video game series, the character Iggy Koopa was named after him.[82] In the game Yoshi's New Island, for the Nintendo 3DS, the minigame "Eggy Iggy Pop" is also named after him. The late 1970s punk and Iggy Pop influenced Dunedin band The Enemy recorded Iggy Told Me. The character Iggy from the Japanese manga and anime series JoJo's Bizarre Adventure is named after him. James O'Barr fashioned the character Funboy in The Crow after Iggy Pop.


Studio albums

with the Stooges

with James Williamson


Awards and nominations

Year Awards Work Category Result
1977 Creem Magazine Awards Lust for Life Top Album - #24 Nominated
Raw Power Best Reissue - #5 Nominated
Himself Best New Wave Group/Performer - #3 Nominated
Punk of the Year - #2 Nominated
Comeback of the Year - #1 Won
1980 Punk of the Year - #1 Won
1989 Grammy Awards "Cold Metal" Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance Nominated
1992 Razzie Awards "Why Was I Born (Freddy's Dead)" Worst Original Song Nominated
1997 MTV Video Music Awards "Lust for Life" Best Video from a Film Nominated
2004 D&AD Awards "Kick It" (with Peaches) Direction Wood Pencil
2009 Classic Rock Roll of Honour Awards Himself Living Legend Won
2010 D&AD Awards Together Incredible (with Orcon) Integrated Wood Pencil
2014 GQ Men of the Year Awards Himself Icon Award Won
2016 Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards Gimme Danger Most Compelling Living Subject of a Documentary Won
2017 Grammy Awards[83] Post Pop Depression Best Alternative Music Album Nominated
Golden Globe Awards[84] "Gold" (with Danger Mouse) Best Original Song Nominated
A2IM Libera Awards Himself Best Live Act Nominated
Q Awards "American Valhalla" (with Josh Homme) Best Video Nominated
2018 "Bells & Circles" (with Underworld) Won
2019 Sweden GAFFA Awards Teatime Dub Encounters (with Underworld) Best International Album Pending

Orders conferred

In 2017, shortly after his 70th birthday, Iggy Pop was made a Commander of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Consul general in Miami on behalf of the French government.[85]


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Further reading

  • Logan, Nick; Woffinden, Bob (1977). The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Rock (1st ed.). New York: Harmony Books. ISBN 0-517-52852-5.
  • Trynka, Paul (2007). Iggy Pop: Open Up and Bleed. London: Little, Brown Book Group. ISBN 1-84744-019-3.

External links

Blah-Blah-Blah (Iggy Pop album)

Blah-Blah-Blah is the seventh studio album by Iggy Pop. Originally released in October 1986, on the label A&M, it remains his most commercially successful album to date. Blah-Blah-Blah appeared after a four-year hiatus for Pop, with David Bowie serving as his prime collaborator. It would be their final collaboration. A successful tour followed the album's release.

Candy (Iggy Pop song)

"Candy" is a song from Iggy Pop's ninth solo album, Brick by Brick. A duet with Kate Pierson of The B-52's, it was the album's second single, in September 1990.It became the biggest mainstream hit of Pop's career, as he reached the US Top 40 for the first and only time. "I've written one good pop song: 'Candy'," he noted. "It's a very decent, proper pop song, but that's as far as that went."The cover was drawn by American cartoonist Charles Burns.

"Candy" reappeared on the 1996 compilation Nude & Rude: The Best of Iggy Pop and the 2005 two-disc collection, A Million in Prizes: The Anthology.

China Girl (song)

"China Girl" is a song written by Iggy Pop and David Bowie during their years in Berlin, first appearing on Pop's debut solo album The Idiot (1977). The song became more widely known when it was re-recorded by Bowie, who released it as the second single from his most commercially successful album, Let's Dance (1983). The UK single release of Bowie's version reached No. 2 for one week on 14 June 1983, while the US release reached No. 10.

Funtime (Iggy Pop song)

"Funtime" is a song written by David Bowie and Iggy Pop, first released by Iggy Pop on his 1977 album entitled The Idiot.

It reflects Iggy and Bowie's growing fascination with the German music scene, and bears marked similarities to "Lila Engel" by Neu!. It has since been covered by multiple artists including Blondie, Boy George, Bebe Buell, R.E.M. and The Cars.

Gardenia (Iggy Pop song)

"Gardenia" is a song by American musician Iggy Pop. It was released as the lead single from his 17th studio album, Post Pop Depression (2016), on January 22, 2016. The song was premiered live on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on the day of the song's release. The song received positive reception from music critics and peaked at number 136 on the French Singles Chart and number 26 on the Billboard Adult Alternative Songs chart.

Instinct (Iggy Pop album)

Instinct is the eighth studio album by American singer Iggy Pop, released in June 1988 by record label A&M.

Kill City

Kill City is a studio album by Iggy Pop and James Williamson, both ex-members of the Stooges. It was recorded as a demo in 1975 but released in altered form in November 1977 by record label Bomp!.

Lust for Life (Iggy Pop album)

Lust for Life is the second studio album by Iggy Pop, his second solo release and his second collaboration with David Bowie, following The Idiot earlier in the year. As well as achieving critical success, it was Pop's most commercially popular album to date, and remains his only Gold-certified release in the UK.

Lust for Life (Iggy Pop song)

"Lust for Life" is a 1977 song performed by Iggy Pop and co-written by David Bowie, featured on the album of the same name. In 2004, Rolling Stone ranked it No. 149 on their list of "The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time".

New Values

New Values is the third studio album by Iggy Pop and his first record since The Stooges' Funhouse and post-Stooges Kill City not to have any involvement from David Bowie. It was released in April 1979 by record label Arista.

Party (Iggy Pop album)

Party is the fifth solo studio album by American rock singer Iggy Pop. It was released in June 1981 by record label Arista. For this record, Pop collaborated with Ivan Kral, who is best known as the guitar and bass player for Patti Smith in the 1970s.

Post Pop Depression

Post Pop Depression is the seventeenth studio album by American rock singer Iggy Pop, released on March 18, 2016, by Loma Vista Recordings. Produced by Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age, the album was recorded in secrecy and features contributions from Queens of the Stone Age's Dean Fertita and Arctic Monkeys drummer Matt Helders.On both sides of the Atlantic, the album set a new high water mark of commercial success for Iggy Pop (at age 68), becoming his first ever US Top 20 album and first ever UK Top 5 album.. His previous peaks were both in 1977 when The Idiot reached US #72 and Lust for Life reached UK #28.


Préliminaires is the fifteenth studio album by American rock singer Iggy Pop, released on May 25, 2009 by record label Astralwerks. It was inspired by the singer's reading of Michel Houellebecq's novel La Possibilité d'une île (The Possibility of an Island).

Skull Ring

Skull Ring is the fourteenth studio album by American rock singer Iggy Pop, released in November 2003. Every track on the album features guest performers. The performers are The Stooges, The Trolls, Green Day, Sum 41, and Peaches.

The Idiot (album)

The Idiot is the debut solo album by American rock singer Iggy Pop. It was the first of two LPs released in 1977 which Pop wrote and recorded in collaboration with David Bowie, who is credited as producer. Because sessions for the album began before the recording of Bowie's Low (1977), The Idiot has been called the unofficial beginning of Bowie's Berlin period.Described by Pop as musically "a cross between James Brown and Kraftwerk," The Idiot is a departure from the guitar-based proto-punk of his former band the Stooges, and has been compared with Bowie's "Berlin Trilogy" of albums in its electronic sounds and introspective atmosphere. Its title was inspired by Dostoyevsky's novel The Idiot, three of the participants in the recording—Bowie, Pop and Tony Visconti—being familiar with the book.The album received critical praise upon release and is regarded by critics as one of Pop's best works, but is not generally considered representative of his output. The Idiot has been characterized as a major influence on subsequent post-punk, industrial, and gothic artists.

The Passenger (song)

"The Passenger" is a song by Iggy Pop and Ricky Gardiner, recorded and released by Iggy Pop on the Lust for Life album in 1977. It was also released as the B-side of the album's only single, "Success". It was released as a single in its own right in March 1998, reaching number 22 in the UK Charts.

The lyrics, written by Iggy Pop allegedly aboard Berlin's S-Bahn, have been interpreted as embodying the nomadic spirit of the punk outcast. Guitarist Ricky Gardiner composed the music. The song is loosely based on a poem by Jim Morrison.

The Stooges

The Stooges, also known as Iggy and the Stooges, were an American rock band formed in Ann Arbor, Michigan in 1967 by singer Iggy Pop, guitarist Ron Asheton, drummer Scott Asheton, and bassist Dave Alexander. Playing a raw, primitive style of rock and roll, the band sold few records in their original incarnation and gained a reputation for their confrontational performances, which often involved acts of self-mutilation by Iggy Pop.After releasing two albums—The Stooges (1969) and Fun House (1970)—the group disbanded briefly, and reformed with a different lineup to release Raw Power (1973) before breaking up again in 1974. The band reunited in 2003 until dissolving in 2016 following the deaths of Scott Asheton and saxophonist Steve Mackay. Ron Asheton participated in the reunion until his death in 2009.

The Stooges are widely regarded as a seminal proto-punk act. The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2010. In 2004, Rolling Stone ranked them 78th on their list of the 100 greatest artists of all time.

Toby Dammit

Toby Dammit (born Lawrence Edward Crooke, December 13, 1966, Knoxville, Tennessee), is an American producer, composer and percussionist. He has often been credited as Larry Mullins, his adopted name. He is mostly known for his work with Iggy Pop, Swans, The Residents, Iggy and The Stooges and Silver Apples. In 2015 he began performing live as multi-keyboardist with Nick Cave and continues performing with Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds during their world tour for the album Skeleton Tree. He stars as the big band drummer Willy Schuricke in the German cable series Babylon Berlin .

Tonight (Iggy Pop song)

"Tonight" is a song written by David Bowie and Iggy Pop for the latter's second solo studio album, Lust for Life, released in 1977. The song was later made into the title-track for Bowie's own album Tonight.

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