In brief

The electrifying career of Iggy Pop

Iggy Pop Grimaldi Forum Monaco
Rob Baker Ashton

Fifty years ago, his first album with The Stooges was released. Today, Iggy Pop is still on stage and will be gracing the stage at Monaco’s Grimaldi Forum next April, after the cancellation of his concert earlier this year. Before his return, Monaco Tribune decided to take a look back at his electrifying career.

When someone mentions Iggy Pop, the words grunge, rock and undoubtedly eccentricity come to mind. His affinity for standing out from the crowd was apparent at a young age. Born in April 1947, his father, an English teacher, James Newell Osterberg, his real name, spent his childhood and teen years in a caravan in the suburbs of Detroit, in the United States.

A fan of music, he started out as a drummer with a local group, The Iguanas, which inspired his stage name and gave him his nickname, the Iguana. A few years later, while working in a record store, he met the Asheton brothers and Dave Alexander. Together, they formed the Psychedelic Stooges, later becoming The Stooges.

Original masterpieces of punk music

After their first album in 1969, the band released Fun House in 1970, an album considered to be one of the original masterpieces of punk music. Despite the success, their label Elektra broke their contract after some shocking concerts and even more shocking times battling drug addiction. Iggy Pop dropped out and moved to Florida where he became a golf course keeper.

Golf course management was not Iggy’s destiny. Sometime after, his friend David Bowie signed Iggy Pop to CBS and reunited The Stooges for the album Raw Poser. But the drug use took over once again, and Iggy was fired from the label, leading to the band breaking up, and pushing the singer into the street.

First solo album The Idiot

Still addicted to heroin, Iggy Pop decided to check himself into a psychiatric hospital for rehab. Fortunately, David Bowie remained at his side. It was he who found him a new label, RCA, and pushed him to record his first solo album The Idiot in 1976.

Iggy Pop moved to Europe and lived with Bowie. In France, he rose to notoriety when he appeared on the 1 pm news, dressed in nothing but shorts, and went on to give a bodybuilding demonstration to the presenter Yves Mourousi. It caused an outcry for thousands of TV viewers at the time, but it would allow Iggy Pop to become a punk legend he is known for being today.

The king of unforgettable concerts

His career would experience some poignant highs and lows. During the 80s and 90s, Iggy Pop became the king of unforgettable concerts, despite very mixed commercial success for his albums. His first film appearances took place during this time.

At the end of the 90s, still very popular in France, he then declared his love for the country by doing a duet with Françoise Hardy and eventually releasing an album inspired by jazz and French song in 2009, entitled Préliminaires. Iggy Pop recently accompanied the singer Jane Birkin on stage, performing songs by Serge Gainsbourg.

The provocative frontman is not to be missed under any circumstances when he returns to Monaco’s Grimaldi Forum on April 1st, 2021. For more information, please visit Iggy Pop Concert in Monaco 

By Claire Guillou