IGGY POP TRIBUTE ALBUM
A version of the Stooges’ “No Fun” by the Sex Pistols (1977) was probably the first officially recorded cover of an Iggy Pop song. The most famous was Bowie’s defilement of “China Girl” in 1983. The music of Iggy and the Stooges has transcended three generations. In fact, they’ve been credited for wiping out the sixties entirely! Even George Clinton claims to have transformed Parliament into the wilder, free-form Funkadelic after witnessing a live Stooges performance.
In their day, the Stooges were highly unmarketable and unfashionable. However, the course of history would have been severely altered without the steadfast foundation they built in the late 60’s on solid rock. The Stooges erupted in a loud explosion of raw nerves and energy, similar to the big bang which created the planet earth. You might call it a natural disaster!
Iggy revered Hendrix, Muddy Waters, Bo Diddley and the blues bands of Chicago in the mid 60’s. He tried to convey the passionate style of the blues players to his stoned delinquent Stooges friends. Their interpretation was a strange hybrid of black rooted music merged with the problems, anger and frustrations of five white boys who could barely play their instruments. This wasn’t just another pretty white boy singing the blues like Elvis (although Iggy was kinda charming in his own sick way). This was an ugly, fierce unit – the scum of the earth and proud of it – emerging from the streets of Detroit to perpetrate their own sonic pleasures upon the masses. The Stooges stomped on what we knew as music at the time and brought it back down into the street where it belongs. Their music was indulgent and often violent. It took the glam out of glamour, the pop out of pop, invented heavy metal and revered soul, rhythm and blues.
Representatives spanning three decades have contributed to We Will Fall, a twenty-track Iggy tribute album; from the 70’s (Jayne – formerly Wayne – County, Joey Ramone, Lenny Kaye, Blondie – under the alias Adolf’s Dog, and The Misfits), the 80’s (Joan Jett & The Blackhearts, Bush Tetras), and the 90’s (New York scenemakers DGeneration and NY Loose, Lunachicks, Sugar Ray, Superdrag and more). It is their reverence of the subversive revolutionary music of the 70’s which bonds these artists – from Glam to Punk and most of all, the unique, raw and savage sincerity of the transcendent Iggy Pop.
These hypodermic covers are so true to the originals that should you blink an ear, you’d mistake them for Iggy himself! Every performance shines on this collection. Iggy’s music is in the blood of these artists (after all, it was their youth’s inspiration) right down to their seemingly Ig-possessed yelps and yowls.
The standout cuts are a thrashed-up “Lust For Life” by NY Loose, and an even racier “Funtime” by Blanks 77. DGeneration render a faithfully beautiful “I Got Nothing”. “Sister Midnight” by Bush Tetras features some bone-chilling guitar work. Joey Ramone’s tribal “1969” reverberates through to the 90’s. The most deviant interpretation is Jayne County’s campy “Down On The Street/Little Doll”. Jayne is the only artist who dared to revise the lyrics, but not the spirit. The Red Hot Chili Peppers rip open “Search & Destroy”. Sugar Ray’s “Cold Metal” is their best effort since their version of Howard Stern’s “Psychedelic Bee”!
It’s disappointing that nobody chose to cover “Rich Bitch” but perhaps we can look forward to this in the future. How about it, Madonna? Britney? Anyone? And where’s Snoop’s cover of “I Wanna Be Your Doggy Dog”?
The music of Iggy and the Stooges seduces, assaults and reminds you that you are alive. It’s no surprise that their legacy, and the unstoppable Iggy Pop will continue into the next millenium. Pop maintains his solo career as a living legend, and at age fifty, has successfully expanded into film and TV, attaining the mainstream recognition he deserves.
Turning the tables, some songs Iggy has covered are James Brown’s “Sex Machine” appearing on a 1996 CD single B-side, and he also appears on the James Bond covers album performing “All The Time in the World”. But Iggy’s most magnificent cover is his version of Richard Berry’s “Louie Louie” of course. I especially love the Metallic K.O. version with X-rated lyrics — it’s so romantic!