Iggy Pop

Also Credited As:

James Newell Osterberg
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Biography

A dynamic and shocking performer, Iggy Pop sang, stage-dived, and even bled in the name of rock-n-roll. As the front man for seminal punk group The Stooges, the skeletal-framed rocker incorporated outrageous stage antics while performing tracks off classic albums like Fun House (1970) and Raw Power (1973). His life was marred by a longtime battle with heroin, yet Pop revived his career numerous times with the help of friend and frequent …
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Job Title

Actor, Music

Born

James Newell Osterberg on April 21, 1947 in Muskegon, Michigan, USA

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About

A dynamic and shocking performer, Iggy Pop sang, stage-dived, and even bled in the name of rock-n-roll. As the front man for seminal punk group The Stooges, the skeletal-framed rocker incorporated outrageous stage antics while performing tracks off classic albums like Fun House (1970) and Raw Power (1973). His life was marred by a longtime battle with heroin, yet Pop revived his career numerous times with the help of friend and frequent collaborator, David Bowie. The duo's partnership resulted in rock anthems such as "Lust for Life" (1977) and "Real Wild Child (Wild One)" (1986). With an illustrious career that included writing a candid autobiography and acting in critically acclaimed films, Pop transcended the tumultuous rock star lifestyle and emerged as a prolific and pioneering force in music.

James Newell Osterberg was born on April 21, 1947 in Muskegon, MI. Raised in a trailer park near Ann Arbor, the future rock star played drums as a teen in a local garage band called the Iguanas. After graduating from high school in 1965, Osterberg attended the University of Michigan, but dropped out a year later. He moved to Chicago, IL and discovered his love for urban blues music while living on the city's south side. Shortly after returning to Ann Arbor, Osterberg adopted the name Iggy Stooge and formed a rock band inspired by two of his idols, the Velvet Underground's Lou Reed and the Doors' Jim Morrison. Made up of Iggy Stooge, guitarist Ron Asheton, drummer Scott Asheton, and bassist Dave Alexander, they called themselves the Psychedelic Stooges and experimented with non-traditional instruments such as empty oil drums and vacuums to create a unique, aggressive rock sound. The group shortened its name to the Stooges shortly after, while their front man changed his to Iggy Pop.

The Stooges debuted in October 1967 and featured the outrageously skinny front man contorting and mutilating his body on stage, screaming profanities, and stage-diving onto the crowd. Such wild antics would remain a part of Pop's live performances, which later on included rubbing raw meat and peanut butter all over his body, and rolling around in broken glass. The band signed with Elektra in 1968 and released its self-titled debut the following year to less-than-stellar sales. Their sophomore release Fun House did not do any better than its predecessor on the charts. Even though both albums flopped at the time of their release, critics and fans later acknowledged the impact The Stooges and Fun House had on punk music. Battling drug addiction and conflicts between members, The Stooges were dropped by Elektra in 1971 and disbanded soon after.

After taking a year off to kick his heroin addiction, Pop met with "glam rock" artist and Stooges fan David Bowie, who wanted to revive the former's career. Bowie signed Pop to his management company and enlisted the Ashteton brothers to rejoin the group. The reunited band released its third album, Raw Power in 1973 as Iggy and The Stooges, earning critical praise for proto-punk tracks such as "Search and Destroy" and "Shake Appeal." The album still failed commercially, yet its influence on rock music resonated for years. In his Journals (2002), Kurt Cobain of Nirvana repeatedly called Raw Power his favorite album of all time, and in 2003, Rolling Stone magazine ranked it No. 125 on the list of the "500 Greatest Albums of All Time." Unfortunately, drugs and constant bickering caused The Stooges to disband a second time in 1974.

Bowie proved to be a savior for the troubled Pop, both personally and professionally. Even the song "Jean Genie" on Bowie's 1973 album Aladdin Sane was reportedly about the former Stooges front man. Bowie took his friend on the road with him during a European tour before the pair settled in Berlin, Germany in 1976 to work on Pop's solo career and personal rehabilitation. Their collaboration resulted in two of Pop's most critically acclaimed albums, The Idiot and Lust For Life, both released in 1977. Fusing rock, funk, and electronic influences, the albums yielded classic punk tracks such as "China Girl," "The Passenger," and "Lust for Life." Pop and Bowie parted ways in the late 1970s, but the former continued to release albums well into the next decade, although he was not able to match the success of his first two solo releases. In 1980, Pop penned his autobiography, I Need More, which chronicled his early years with The Stooges, bouts with drug addiction, and his struggles as an artist. Reteaming with Bowie for the album Blah Blah Blah (1986) proved to be commercial gold for Pop. The album spawned the singer's first mainstream rock hit, a cover of Johnny O'Keefe's "Wild One" (1958) that was renamed "Real Wild Child (Wild One)." The song went on to be featured in several film soundtracks, including "Adventures in Babysitting" (1987) and "Pretty Woman" (1990). Pop released another mainstream gem with "Candy," an upbeat duet with the B-52's Kate Pierson that was featured on his ninth album, Brick by Brick (1990).

Pop dabbled in acting throughout his career, landing minor roles in "The Color of Money" (1986) opposite Paul Newman and Tom Cruise, and "Cry-Baby" (1990) alongside Johnny Depp. A bit of a head-scratcher, the rocker landed an unlikely recurring role on the family comedy series "The Adventures of Pete & Pete" (Nickelodeon, 1993-96). In 2003, he appeared in the Jim Jarmusch-directed "Coffee and Cigarettes," a film made up of 11 vignettes. The singer co-starred with fellow musician Tom Waits in the third segment titled "Somewhere in California," which was originally released as a short film in 1993 and won the Short Film Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival that year. Pop's acting résumé included voiceover work for various animated projects, including "The Rugrats Movie" (1998) "Lil' Bush: Resident of the United States" (Comedy Central, 2007). In 2003, Pop reunited with former Stooges band mates Ron and Scott Asheton on several tracks for his album Skull Ring. After extensively touring the U.S. and Europe, the group re-formed and produced the fourth Stooges studio album, The Weirdness (2007). In 2010, Iggy Pop and The Stooges were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

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