James Newell Osterberg, Jr., known professionally as Iggy Pop (born April 21, 1947), is an American singer-songwriter, musician and actor. He was the vocalist of influential proto-punk band The Stooges from 1969 to 1974 and from their reunion in 2003 until their final dissolution in 2016. A compelling and charismatic performer, Iggy Pop is famous for his outrageous and unpredictable stage antics.
Iggy Pop’s music has embraced a number of styles over the course of his career, including garage rock, punk rock, hard rock, art rock, new wave, jazz and blues. However, it is as the “godfather of punk” that Iggy is best know. Though his popularity has fluctuated through the years, many of Pop’s songs have become famous, including “Lust for Life“, “The Passenger”, “Real Wild Child (Wild One)”, “Candy” (a duet with Kate Pierson of The B-52’s), “China Girl”, “Nightclubbing”, “Search and Destroy” and “I Wanna Be Your Dog”.
Pop’s career received a welcome boost in the 1980s with David Bowie’s cover of “China Girl”, originally included on Iggy Pop’s album The Idiot in 1977. The royalties generated from Bowie’s hit gave Iggy some financial security an enabled him to kick drugs and launch a comeback in 1986. In the 1990s the film Trainspotting featured “Lust for Life” in the opening sequence and introduced a new wave of fans to Pop’s music. The film also featured “Nightclubbing” in its soundtrack.
After the second breakup of The Stooges , Iggy Pop recorded some music with James Williamson, but these were not released until 1977 (as Kill City, credited jointly to Iggy Pop and Williamson). This album was remastered and re-released in 2011 in a vastly superior version.
Iggy Pop was unable to give up his drug habit and checked himself into a mental institution, UCLA’s neuropsychiatric institute, in an attempt to sort his life out. David Bowie was one of his few visitors. In 1976, Pop accompanied Bowie 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. In spite of Iggy’s attempts to put his drug habit behind him, he was arrested on March 21, 1976, with David Bowie for marijuana possession in Rochester, New York, although charges were later dropped.
Feeling the effects of their addictions, Bowie and Iggy Pop relocated to West Berlin to wean themselves off their respective drug problem. In 1977,Iggy 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 featured one of Iggy Pop’s most famous songs “The Passenger”. As with the Stooges, Lust for Life also featured a 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). David Bowie also provided keyboards and backing vocals on Iggy Pop’s live performances, some of which are featured on the live album TV Eye, released in 1978. In return, Pop contributed backing vocals on Bowie’s Low.
Iggy suffered some loss of credibility after a series of life insurance adverts but recovered to release the critically acclaimed Post Pop Depression, a collaboration with Josh Homme.