Encyclopedia Of Detroit

Pop, Iggy

Born James Newell Osterberg, Jr. on April 21, 1947 in Muskegon, Michigan, Iggy Pop is an American singer, songwriter, musician, and actor. He is considered an influential innovator of punk rock, hard rock, and other styles of rock music. 

Pop was raised in a trailer park outside Ypsilanti, Michigan. An only child, his mother worked at a manufacturing plant and his father taught English at a Dearborn high school. He began calling himself "Iggy" after his first band in high school, The Iguanas in which he was the drummer. The band did covers of British groups.

After enrolling at the University of Michigan, joining a band called the Prime Movers, then moving to Chicago to be a drummer for harmonica player Big Walter Horton, Pop returned to Ann Arbor to form the Psychedelic Stooges. Band members were Ron Asheton on guitar, Scott Asheton on drums, and Dave Alexander on bass, with Iggy on vocals. Their first public gig was in 1968 at the Grande Ballroom in Detroit.

Iggy's outrageous persona on stage was inspired by seeing Jim Morrison and the Doors in Ann Arbor in 1967. Pop was one of the first performers to do a stage-dive, which he did at a concert in Detroit. Other stage exploits include rolling around in broken glass and vomiting on stage.

In 1968 the band, which had changed their name to the Stooges, signed with Elektra Records. Their first two albums, The Stooges and Fun House, sold poorly. By 1971 cocaine and heroin use caused discord among band members and the group was dropped by Elektra Records. Iggy set out on a solo career and was helped by David Bowie to get a recording deal with Clive Davis at Columbia Records. Using some of his former band members, the album Raw Powercame out under Iggy and the Stooges in 1973.

The band came to a final breakup in 1976. David Bowie continued to aid in Pop’s career which has ebbed and flowed over the years. His best-known solo songs include "Lust for Life," "Real Wild Child," “Candy" (with vocalist Kate Pierson of the B-52's), "China Girl" (co-written with and later covered by David Bowie) and "The Passenger."

The Stooges reunited in 2003 and the band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2010. Their last performance was in 2013. Pop has appeared in numerous movie and television roles and has a BBC radio show called “Iggy Confidential.” He is married to Nina Alu and lives near Key Biscayne, Florida and continues to perform.



Iggy Pop concert poster, 2001 - 2012.050.010

Iggy Pop and the Stooges concert poster, 2003 - 2012.050.011

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