IGGY POP’S JACKET
By Madeline Bocaro ©
© Madeline Bocaro, 2019. No part of this site may be reproduced in whole or in part in any manner without the permission of the copyright owner.
The vicious animal on the back of Iggy Pop’s jacket is a strange animal. It inspired one of the greatest opening lines of a song ever, “I’m a street walking cheetah with a heart full of napalm.” The song is The Stooges’ “Search and Destroy” and the album is the legendary Raw Power, released in 1973.
As David Bowie has his own traveling exhibit featuring his stage costumes, it is fitting that we show appreciation for the rock n’ roll Shroud of Turin – Iggy’s jacket!
(See photos below).
So, who designed the jacket, and where is it now? The faux-leather jacket’s designers were John Dove and Molly White. In 1968 the media began to feature the work of John, the painter/sculptor and Molly a textile printer. Soon their items were selling. Molly’s furnishing fabrics were being launched by Hull Traders and her original printed silks sold well at Liberty’s and at the Mr. Fish boutique (the designer of David Bowie’s infamous man’s dresses). In the summer, they designed some DIY pieces based on the American baseball with all the sections ready to cut and sew together.
Their ‘Wild Thing’ T-shirt (in tribute to Jimi Hendrix) featured a roaring cheetah (acutally, a leopard) head with the words ‘WILD THING’ beneath it. The shirt was pirated from America to Brazil to become the first global T-shirt hit. Its success launched rhinestones as a major T-shirt fashion and by 1973 John & Molly were selling thousands of shirts under their Wonder Workshop label.”
Their ‘Wild Thing’ jacket with green satin leopard print lining appeared in L’Uomo Vogue magazine in 1971. Only five jackets were made. Now represented by Bowie’s management company, Iggy bought one with his generous MainMan management stipend while the Stooges were in London recording Raw Power.
The same image also adorned T-shirts. The shirt was worn by Brian Connolly of The Sweet, and one by Marc Bolan as seen in the Sukita photographs.
Iggy later traded his jacket for $2,000 to Stan Lee, guitarist of the Dickies for drugs. He later tried to buy it back from Lee, who steadfastly refused his offer.
Many years later, in 1998 Lee sold the jacket to Long Gone John, the head of the label Sympathy for the Record Industry for $2,000.
From the Wonder Workshop website…
The saga of IGGY POP’S JACKET returns 18 years later when Iggy’s Jacket turns up on the back of Stan Lee, lead guitarist of the Dickies in the pages of Rolling Stone. Ruby Ray’s picture shows Stan half-heartedly assuming the Raw Power stance. The interview starts with Vale’s recognition, “The jacket looks like the one Iggy wore on Raw Power!”
“It IS Iggy’s jacket – I got it in a dope deal a few years ago. He didn’t have the bucks so I took that for collateral. For a while, he couldn’t afford it back, and now he’s a rich bitchin’ Iggy, he tried to buy it back and I said NO!.”
Excerpt from: The Flesh Machine / Vice.com
by Jon Savage – Feb. 9. 2012
Where did you get the now-iconic leather leopard jacket featured on the back cover of Raw Power?
Iggy: “James Williamson and I were staying in Kensington, and there was a market. I went over there and, it was like Steve Martin in The Jerk or something, you know? Like, “Hey, it’s me! It’s who I am.” I bought it that day, and I bought a man purse, like a shoulder bag made out of—honestly it looked like it was made out of a black-and-white chinchilla cat. So I had that, I would walk around Kensington, Hyde Park, Mayfair, and Bayswater in my dressed-down leather pants. I had two pairs of leather pants—silver glitter leather, which were for, like, special state occasions like a Stooges gig or going out to a really big gig, and black leather pants, but instead of stitches there were rivets; they were heavy duty. And by this point I’d been to Anello & Davide and bought a new pair of Beatle boots because they still had some left over. I would sort of mince or trundle or slink around those neighborhoods, going on long walks, trying to figure out what I was doing, wearing the cheetah jacket, leather pants, and Beatle boots. [laughs]”
At age 63, do you still relate to that destructive forgotten boy in “Search and Destroy”?
Well, yeah, sure. I’m the same person. I’m like a small house that has add-ons, a historic hotel that has a new wing and now has spawned franchises.
But the original is still there.”
– Iggy to Jim Sullivan, Boston 2010
Iggy Pop Jacket Reissue Project
Trading Museum / COMME des GARÇONS / Tokyo
Iggy Pop, the icon of punk rock. “RAW POWER’ the seminal album by his band THE STOOGES, celebrates its 40th anniversary in 2013. At the time of its release in 1973, the jacket of Iggy, photographed by Mick Rock for the back cover of the album, became much talked about. The jacket was made by the U.K. punk label ‘WONDER WORKSHOP’ which was founded by artists JOHN DOVE & MOLLY WHITE. Gradually the jacket became an icon of RAW POWER, later called ‘the Iggy Pop Jacket’. To celebrate the 40th Anniversary of RAW POWER, John Dove & Molly White have reissued the jacket, with Lewis Leathers London.
In July 2013, when the Stooges performed at Yoko Ono’s Meltdown concert at Royal Festival Hall, Iggy left the stage during an instrumental break, quickly dyed his hair brown and emerged wearing the Lewis Leathers edition of his old cheetah jacket . He joyfully screamed out, ‘I feel better!’ So, in the end, Iggy got his jacket back!
Read about the Lewis Leathers of London limited edition of 26 jackets, printed using the original screens in 2013 for the 40th anniversary of Raw Power.
Also see my story:
Hey Baby – We Like Your Pants! Iggy Pop’s Style
© Madeline Bocaro 2019. No part of the text written by Madeline Bocaro may be copied, photocopied, reproduced, translated or reduced to any electronic medium or machine-readable form, in whole or in part, without prior written consent. Any reproduction without permission is prohibited. All text contained on this site is protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission.
Brian Connolly – The Sweet
Overend Watts, Mott The Hoople:
Ron Asheton wearing Iggy’s silver pants:
April 6, 2019:
5 thoughts on “THE STREETWALKIN’ CHEETAH – IGGY POP’S JACKET”
Hey Madeline, We like the opening to your piece “The vicious cheetah on the back of Iggy Pop’s jacket is a strange animal. It inspired one of the greatest opening lines of a song ever, “I’m a street walking cheetah with a heart full of napalm”. The song is The Stooges’ “Search and Destroy” and the album is the legendary Raw Power, released on February 7, 1973”. We never thought of that – but guess it’s true. Many thanks and all best wishes,
John & Molly
Hi John & Molly!
So nice to hear from you! Yes, you truly inspired a great song! I am happy to have enlightened you on your great achievement! And thank you!!!
All the best,
Thanks from ‘Stooges ’68~’74 I Got A Nothin, Right?’ fanpage for your multi-rockin’ writeups on the Stooges, Ig and his chameleon~iconic stage looks. And big ups to John/Molly of Paradise Garage fame for creating the jacket the Igster wore (and sang!?}so well on Raw Power LP;