Many consider Iggy Pop the godfather of punk rock music and one of the most scandalous figures in the modern culture and there are many reasons why. He was born in Michigan under the real name of James Newell Osterberg, Jr. in 1947 to a family of a teacher. James studied at a prestigious school and then entered a college. As a student there, he discovered to rock-n-roll and free jazz together with the beatnik poetry. In 1963 the young man joined the rock band The Iguanas that gave him his long remaining pseudonym Iggy. In the second half of the sixties Iggy Pop united his efforts with Ron and Scott Ashton to form the legendary group The Stooges. The musicians made their material as simple as possible emphasizing dirty powerful guitar riffs. Iggy’s singing bore a strong resemblance to Jim Morrison’s one. The group’s live shows were true scenes of self-destruction and mutilation. The musicians abused substances and used to come onto the stage half-conscious. Iggy traded curses with the crowd and damaged his body heavily, which made many people later call him the first punk musician. Meanwhile, the studio productivity of The Stooges was miserable. The first two albums appeared lame efforts to reach a unique sound and crashed down commercially. This made Elektra cancel the contract prematurely. The person who saved Iggy’s career at that time was David Bowie. He took the similarly sounding moniker Ziggy Stardust and executed the functions of the producer for the band’s third and last album. Even that did not help the band carry on as their pro-punk music was too far from the format of the then popular psychedelic rock.
The failures coming one after another pushed Iggy Pop to the limit. In 1976, he was taking in drugs so much that eventually almost killed himself. Once again, he was dragged out of despair by David Bowie who still sought cooperation with Iggy. Together, they agreed to make another album, The Idiot (1977). Bowie co-wrote the largest part of the material and played piano and guitar for several songs. The record carried a strong impact of The Doors music. The release of this work coincided with the dawn of the punk rock revolution and rise of the interest to The Stooges, already nonexistent. The same year, Pop made an unexpectedly huge step forward in with his subsequent album, Lust For Life, considered by many English critics his best work ever. The promo tour for this record gathered immense crowds who liked Iggy performing some of his old songs. Inspired by the last success, Pop found himself new musicians and signed a contract with Arista. Yet again, after the sequence of too poor sellers, Soldier (1980) and Party (1981), Iggy was forced to part ways with his label. Blown away by another wave of drug abuse, he released the subsequent album, Zombie Birdhouse, the most desperate and non-commercial work.
One more time supported by David Bowie as a producer, Iggy Pop finally released the long player that elevated him to the heights of stardom. That was the 1986 Blah Blah Blah album that brought the singer many times more funds than he had collected with all his previous works. At last, Iggy’s music views matched the priorities of the contemporary youth as the grunge occupied the leading positions. The up-coming albums, Brick By Brick, and American Caesar, released in 1990 and 1993 respectively, consolidated Iggy’s status as one of the most influential figure of the alternative rock stage. His 1996 album, Naughty Little Doggie, unexpectedly marked a return to The Stooges ear with garage sound and strong language dominating the lyrics. In the nineties, Iggy Pop tried his skills in cinematography. His first move there was the recording of the soundtrack to Arizona Dream (1993). Later, the singer made his acting debut in Jim Jarmush’s monumental The Dead Man along with his old time friend Johny Depp. As time went by, Iggy remained the same and always faithful to his rock-n-roll essence. In 2005 he released a massive 38-track anthology recapitulating his achievements for forty years spent on the stage and in the studio. A Million In Prizes: Anthology (2005) was another brilliant proof of this man’s uniqueness and talent. The album titled Preliminaires released in 2009 also showed the originality of the singer: Iggy said that the sound of Preliminaires was influenced by New Orleans jazz.