Iggy Pop celebrates Raw Power at 50

Fifty years since the release of Raw Power, Iggy Pop reflects upon one of the most influential records in rock history

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“All three Stooges albums are equal to me,” says IGGY POP. “But Raw Power, that’s the big one.” Raw Power’s foundational influence – on punk’s lineage in particular – is underscored by the musicians Uncut has assembled to celebrate the record’s eight tracks, including veterans of HÜSKER DÜ, DINOSAUR JR, THE JESUS AND MARY CHAIN, MUDHONEY, L7 and SPACEMEN 3, in the latest issue of Uncut magazine – in UK shops from Thursday, December 8 and available to buy from our online store.

In 1972, The Stooges were on life support. Dropped by Elektra after Fun House flopped, they returned home to Detroit to lick their wounds. There, a new version of the band took shape, with James Williamson, second guitarist since 1970, replacing Ron Asheton at Iggy’s right hand. Invited to London by David Bowie and his MainMan management, Iggy seized the chance to rejuvenate The Stooges. Written while roaming West London’s leafy streets, Raw Power became a blueprint for the city’s punk explosion a few years later. On the 50th anniversary of its release, the album remains a masterpiece of slashing guitars and savage, misanthropic blues.

“I realised that there was almost no-one in the world who wanted to save The Stooges,” Iggy tells Uncut. “I knew that there were a few malcontented, strange people out there who were actually going to like this, but there was no apparatus to gather them up. I knew our management didn’t want it, I knew that radio didn’t understand it and I knew that most people wouldn’t get it. On top of that, we were all one step away from becoming junkies and the ones that weren’t junkies were completely out of touch with reality.
I knew what was going to happen.”


Williamson followed Iggy, then later Ron and Scott Asheton crossed the Atlantic – lured to the UK by the promise of gigs that never materialised – with Ron demoted to bass duties. This reconfigured lineup became Iggy And The Stooges. “I had decided the people from MainMan were our best shot to do something,” Iggy tells us. “At least they would respect art. They did. They put us up in London very well. We didn’t relate to English musicians or producers, and we resolved to do it ourselves. They respected us and left us alone. We were given every artistic requirement – a place to rehearse, and a good studio. The band had a nice house to live in. When I couldn’t come up with the lyrics and live with them at the same time, they put me in the basement of Blakes Hotel. I’d stick my head out and see Lord Snowdon and Princess Margaret. ‘Oh, I say, it’s Iggy Pop!’

“The fact that there was a very competent, well-educated photographer, Mick Rock, to document our rehearsal sessions helps,” Iggy adds. “Because people have heard about all the wild shit going down around those sessions and they can see it on the album sleeve, too. That’s entertainment!”

Prevented from working in the UK after they finished the album, Iggy And The Stooges stumbled back to America, where they imploded in a series of confrontational, deranged gigs. Raw Power, though, lives on. “I had the faith that if we did our best, things would come around,” Iggy says. “Of course, they did. We were very well rewarded for that record, later. “Search And Destroy” has become very popular. My personal favourite, though, is “Shake Appeal”. Because that was the only three minutes of my life when I was ever going to approximate Little Richard. It’s practically impossible for me to hit a sustained high tone like that and scream that sort of hyped-up, crazy hillbilly rock thing that I always liked. But “Search And Destroy” is the record’s masterpiece. I knew it when we did it. I felt a sense of relief that it made me artistically secure. But I knew I was still socially fucked.”


Raw Power’s foundational influence – on punk’s lineage in particular – is underscored by the musicians Uncut has assembled to celebrate the record’s eight tracks, including veterans of Hüsker Dü, Dinosaur Jr, The Jesus And Mary Chain, Mudhoney, L7 and Spacemen 3. Our panel of heads even includes two part-time Stooges

“All three Stooges albums are equal to me,” Iggy concludes. “But Raw Power is the high-priced spread when you’re talking about The Stooges. That’s the big one.”



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