James Newell Osterberg Jr., more commonly known by his stage name “Iggy Pop,” is often dubbed the “Godfather of Punk.” He was the frontman for the proto-punk band “the Stooges.” Initially, they performed a raw, primal style of rock and roll. Although they didn’t sell many records, they gained a reputation for their extreme live shows, often featuring self-mutilation by Iggy Pop himself.
Iggy Pop had a close friendship with David Bowie. Both musicians moved to West Berlin to escape their drug addictions. Pop kicked off his solo career by collaborating with Bowie on the 1977 albums The Idiot and Lust for Life.
Throughout his career, Iggy Pop has been known for unpredictable antics on stage. He was one of the first artists to popularize stage diving. However, this is tame compared to his other escapades, like rolling in broken glass and exposing himself to the audience.
Iggy Pop has explored many musical styles, including garage rock, punk rock, hard rock, art rock, new wave, jazz, blues, and electronic music. Despite not always achieving commercial success, he is a true pop icon who has influenced many artists, including the Sex Pistols, the Smiths, the Sisters of Mercy, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Nirvana.
Time to listen to Iggy Pop’s best tracks!
10. I Wanna Be Your Dog
A rough gem from the Stooges era. “I Wanna Be Your Dog” is a provocative tribute to submission, infused with raw electric guitars. The song has influenced numerous punk and grunge bands over the years, cementing its place in Iggy’s legacy.
9. Real Wild Child (Wild One)
This track showcases Iggy Pop’s versatility. “Real Wild Child” is a cover, but he makes it his own to the point where it almost feels original. Its energetic beat and raw vocals make this a timeless hit, often featured in movies and commercials.
8. Bang Bang
In “Bang Bang,” we get a glimpse of a smoother, more polished side of Iggy. The song is a fusion of punk rock and new wave, with lyrics delving into the social and political issues of the time. It stands out for its compelling rhythm and Iggy’s signature voice.
Taken from the “Lust For Life” album, “Sixteen” is a raw expression of adolescence and the search for identity. Its simple yet effective guitar riff and lyrical self-exploration make it one of Iggy’s most authentic and memorable tracks.
“Funtime” is driven by a fast beat and feels like a wild night out. The song explores the concept of escapism and the need to break free from daily life’s conventions, which is a recurring theme in much of Iggy’s work.
5. Kill City
“Kill City” shows a darker, more nihilistic side of Iggy. The song has a more complex musical structure compared to his other tracks and delves deeply into the urban desolation and socio-political issues of the time.
With “Nightclubbing,” Iggy Pop steps into another dimension, offering a dark and brooding song enhanced by synthesizers. It pays homage to nightlife but hints at something more sinister underneath.
Here, Iggy shows a softer side in a duet with Kate Pierson of The B-52’s. Their combined voices and the melodic guitar create a cross-over hit that resonated with both rock and pop audiences.
2. The Passenger
Featuring an infectious guitar riff and the unmistakable “la la la” chorus, “The Passenger” is perhaps one of Iggy Pop’s most accessible songs. It celebrates life “on the road” while also harboring deep existential undertones that have touched many generations.
1. Lust For Life
The undisputed number one. “Lust For Life” encapsulates everything that makes Iggy Pop a great artist: the energy, the rawness, and an insatiable zest for life. The iconic drumbeat and profound lyrics make it not just a punk rock classic, but a landmark in music history as a whole.