Happy Birthday Iggy Pop: Performing Live On ‘Austin City Limits’ In 2016
Iggy Pop celebrates his birthday today. Iggy was born James Newell Osterberg Jr. in Muskegon, Michigan on April 21, 1947. But the legendary frontman has another fitting moniker, The Godfather of Punk.
Pop co-founded proto-punk band The Stooges in 1967. The term proto-punk is fascinating as a number bands in the 1960s have had the description tagged to their names, like The Who, The Kinks and more. But Iggy was also heavily influenced by Jim Morrison and The Doors. While The Doors aren’t often called a proto-punk band, nobody at the time was more punk rock than Jim Morrison. Pop would attend a pair of Doors concerts in his formative years and was inspired by Morrison’s wild stage performance.
One of the early tenets of punk rock, if there ever were such things, was existing outside the mainstream and The Stooges certainly experienced their share of that. The Stooges’ 1969 self-titled debut and their now celebrated, seminal 1970 LP Fun House, did not do well commercially. But this was perhaps largely due to the band being ahead of its time as well as inner turmoils within the group. After The Stooges broke up for the first time in 1971, Iggy met another highly influential figure, David Bowie. Bowie, no stranger to subverting norms himself, would oversee the reunification of The Stooges and helped produce their 1973 album, Raw Power.
But The Stooges reunion was short-lived and Pop was struggling with heroin addiction. Iggy, however, continued his collaborative relationship with Bowie and both artists relocated to West Berlin in the mid-1970s, which was a productive time for Pop and Bowie and also saw them cleaning up. In 1977, Pop signed to RCA and Bowie helped him write and produce two albums that launched Iggy’s solo career in earnest, The Idiot and Lust For Life. Both albums arrived in 1977 in the height of punk rock’s heyday and were well-recieved. It seemed that the music world had finally caught up with Iggy Pop. Iggy also co-wrote a song Bowie would have a hit with in 1983, “China Girl.”
Pop went on to become a highly influential, iconic artist in his own right and performed a number of songs from those fruitful days in Berlin during his 2016 Austin City Limits debut. Iggy’s performance included The Idiot’s “Funtime,” the title track from Lust For Life as well as “China Girl.” Ever the collaborator, Pop had also recently released another album, Post Pop Depression, with Queens Of The Stone Age frontman Josh Homme. Homme, along with members of Queens Of The Stone Age and Arctic Monkeys backed up Pop for the performance. The ACL sessions also saw Iggy performing Post Pop Depression’s closing track, “Paraguay.”
To celebrate Iggy Pop’s birthday, watch the Godfather Of Punk perform on Austin City Limits in 2016 below via the JamBase Live Video Archive: