Pop (born James Newell Osterberg,
Jr. on April
21, 1947 in Muskegon, Michigan) is an American
he has had only limited commercial success, Pop is considered one of the
most important innovators of punk rock and related styles.
Pop was the lead singer of The Stooges,
a late 1960s/early
1970s band that
was highly influential in the development of hard rock. The
Stooges became infamous for their live performances in which Pop
leapt off the stage (thus inventing the “stage dive”),
smeared raw meat and peanut butter over his chest and cut himself with broken
bottles. Many subsequent performers have imitated Pop’s antics.
he would never reach the vitality of his days with the Stooges, Pop
has had varying degrees of success in his 25 years as a solo artist. His
best-known songs include “Lust for Life” and “Candy”. He has also worked as an
actor. He played Yelgrun in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
in Muskegon, Michigan, he began his musical career
as a drummer
in different high school bands.
One band was The Iguanas, where he acquired the name Iggy. After
exploring local blues-style
bands he eventually dropped out of the University of Michigan and moved to Chicago to learn more about blues. Inspired by Chicago
blues, as well as bands like The Doors,
he formed The Psychedelic Stooges and adapted his name to Iggy Stooge,
then Iggy Pop. The band was composed of Pop on vocals, Ron Asheton
on guitar, Ron’s
brother Scotty Asheton on drums, and Dave Alexander on bass.
After almost two years they made their debut in Ann Arbor, Michigan (where Pop grew up).
year after their debut, and now dubbed The Stooges, the band were signed
to Elektra Records in 1968. The Stooges’
first two albums, The Stooges and Fun House,
sold poorly, although they had a lasting influence on the burgeoning punk rock
movement. Shortly after the new members joined the band broke up because of
Pop's growing drug addiction.
salvaged Pop's career by producing an album with him in England. With
James Williamson signed on as guitarist, the search began for a rhythm section.
However, since neither Iggy nor Bowie were satisfied with any players to
be found in England, eventually the decision was made to re-unite The
Stooges. It would not be a true reunion, technically, in the sense that
Dave Alexander would not play on the album. He had become a full-on alcoholic
and would be unable to play on the record. He died from his alcoholism in 1975.
Also, Ron Asheton moved from guitar to the bass to make way for Williamson to
play guitar. The recording sessions produced the punk rock landmark, Raw Power,
in 1973. After the
release of the album a new member was added to the band and Bowie continued his
support, but Pop's drug problem persisted. The Stooges' last show
ended in a fight between the band and a group of bikers, documented on the
album Metallic KO. Drug abuse put his career on hold for
a couple of years.
Pop's lingering drug problems, Bowie continued his support. Bowie and Pop
relocated to Berlin.
Pop signed to RCA and Bowie helped write and produce The Idiot and Lust For Life, Pop's two most
acclaimed albums as a solo artist. Among songs they wrote together were “China
Girl” and “Tonight”, both of which Bowie performed on his own albums. Bowie
also played keyboards
in Pop's live performances, some of which are featured on the album TV Eye, and helped Pop focus on his career.
Another live album featuring Bowie on keyboards is 1977's Sister Midnight. Pop was signed to Arista
Records and released more solo albums, such as New Values,
Soldier, and Party.
His drug habit varied in intensity, but remained, during this period.
1983 Pop took
a three-year break, during which he overcame his drug addiction and got
married. He returned to music in 1986 with the new wave-influenced Blah Blah Blah, featuring the single
“Real Wild Child”.
1995 he remixed Raw
Power to give it a rougher, more hard-edged sound; fans had complained for
years that Bowie’s production was too slick and generic. He co-produced 1999’s Avenue B with Don Was, and produced 2001’s Beat 'Em Up, with members of Guns ‘n’
Roses and The B-52s. Pop’s latest album, 2003’s Skull Ring,
features collaborations with Sum 41 and Green Day,
as well as the Asheton brothers. He also made a guest appearance in electroclash
artist Peaches’s song, “Kick It”.
Pop has had limited presence as an actor. To date, Pop
has been in fifteen movies,
including Sid and Nancy, The Color of Money, Hardware , The
Rugrats Movie, Snow Day, Coffee and Cigarettes—Somewhere in California,
Man. He has been featured in five television
series, including Miami Vice, Tales from the Crypt, The Adventures of Pete & Pete,
and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
Pop had nothing to do with the movie, Ewan
McGregor’s sexually ambiguous, drug-fueled character in Velvet
Goldmine is considered by most critics to be modeled on him.
Pop has been profiled in four rockumentaries
and composed songs for eighteen soundtracks,
including Crocodile Dundee and Trainspotting.
Pop earned a place in punk rock history by popularizing
many of the stage routines that are now commonplace among musicians: He was
among the first to stage dive and crowd walk, for example. Some of his stage antics have
yet to have been topped by even the most “outrageous” of contemporary bands.
has never had a Top Ten album or best-selling single, his impact on rock
music is immense; musicians who have claimed him as an influence include The
, The Ramones