Iggy Pop Biography
Sun Sign: Taurus
Also Known As: James Newell Osterberg Jr.
Born in: Muskegon
Famous as: Singer
Spouse/Ex-: Nina Alu (2008- present), Suchi Asano (1984-999), Wendy Weissberg (1968-1968)
father: James Newell Osterberg, Sr.
mother: Louella Christensen
children: Eric Benson
U.S. State: Michigan
Founder/Co-Founder: Bewlay Bros.
education: University of Michigan
James Newell Osterberg Jr., better known as Iggy Pop, is an American proto-punk rock musician, singer, songwriter, producer, and actor. He has been regarded as the ‘Godfather of Punk’ in the music industry since his influential days with the proto-punk band ‘The Stooges.’ The southpaw guitarist is especially known for his outrageous antics on stage like rolling on peanut butter or broken glass, jumping from the stage, insulting the audience and bending his body like a pretzel. During the 1960s and the early 1970s, he promoted punk music to the audience through ‘The Stooges’; however, the band could never achieve the commercial success it deserved. But the band’s music was critically appreciated and Iggy Pop’s contribution to the punk genre is regarded very highly. The music fraternity holds him responsible for the rise of punk rock over the years. Over the course of his career, he has also mastered the musical genres of new wave, jazz, garage rock, hard rock, and art rock in addition to punk rock. He has worked mostly as a solo artist after ‘The Stooges’ disbanded during the 1970s, only to reunite for in 2003. His most popular songs include ‘I Wanna Be Your Dog’, ‘Search and Destroy’, ‘Lust for Life’, ‘Real Wild Child’, and ‘The Passenger’.
- Iggy Pop was born in Muskegon, Michigan, on April 21, 1947 to James Newell Osterberg, Sr. and Louella. His father was a former high school English teacher and baseball coach at Fordson High School.
- He was raised by supportive parents who encouraged him to explore his interests. On realizing that he was musically inclined, they motivated him to pursue his dreams. He grew up in a trailer park in Ypsilanti, Michigan, and his parents let him use the master bedroom, as it was the only room in that trailer that was big enough to accommodate his drum kit.
- As a student, he didn’t let go of any opportunity to perform and played with various high school bands in Ann Arbor, Michigan. During this time he came in touch with ‘The Iguanas’, an American garage rock band formed in Ann Arbor, with whom he performed for several years. Inspired by the band, he took the stage name of Iggy Pop.
- He studied at the University of Michigan for a short while before dropping out to pursue a career in music. He moved to Chicago where he played drums in blues clubs and came in touch with musician Sam Lay who connected him with many other like-minded musicians. Iggy Pop was heavily inspired by the likes of ‘Chicago blues’, ‘The Doors’, and ‘MC5’.
- In 1967, Iggy Pop became the lead vocalist of the newly formed band ‘The Stooges’ with Ron Asheton on guitar, Dave Alexander on bass, and Scott Asheton (Ron Asheton’s brother) on drums, alongside him. They first played at a Halloween party with the members of MC5 in attendance.
- Iggy Pop was deeply influenced by the stage presence of Jim Morrison which drove him to build his own outrageous stage persona. He would perform bare-chested and often throw himself off the stage, rolling over peanut butter and broken glass, exposing himself to the audience and even insulting them. This was the beginning of a new ‘Iggy culture’ that would be remembered in the coming decades.
- ’The Stooges’ followed in the footsteps of ‘The Doors’ and signed with Elektra Records and released their eponymous debut album under John Cale’s production in New York in 1969. The album didn’t do well commercially and the members of the band drifted apart.
- Some of the members, including Iggy, continued to perform together even after the disbanding. They became associated with David Bowie who helped them gather pace. Thus, they decided to bring back ‘The Stooges’. They released their studio album ‘Raw Power’ in 1973 and it received a cult following in the coming years.
- Around this time, Iggy Pop was struggling with the persistent problem of drug addiction. He made the headlines for all the wrong reasons after he became involved in a brawl with a group of bikers. The Stooges disbanded once again.
- In the coming years, Iggy Pop often toured with Bowie and released several solo albums including ‘The Idiot’ and ‘Lust for Life.’ Both of these albums featured Bowie’s lyrics and were released under his production during the late 1970s.
- In the 1980s, he released the studio album ‘Blah-Blah-Blah’ which became his first commercially successful work. Later, he released two more very successful albums, ‘Instinct’ and ‘Brick by Brick’ in 1988 and 1990 respectively.
- During the early 2000s, Iggy Pop continued performing live shows. Around this time, the Stooges reunited and began performing together again, much to the joy of their old fans. They released the album ‘The Weirdness’ in 2007 and ‘Ready to Die’ in 2013. Iggy Pop’s solo studio album ‘Post-Pop Depression’ was released in 2016.
- Iggy Pop’s work in the punk rock genre has been regarded as revolutionary; however, it took him a long time to taste commercial success. His tenth studio album ‘Brick by Brick’ earned him the commercial success that had been eluding him for long. The album received a ‘four and a half’ star rating from ‘AllMusic’ and a four-star rating from Rolling Stone. It had several hit songs including the popular ‘Candy’ with Kate Pierson of ‘The B-52’ fame.
- His eighteenth studio album ‘Post-Pop Depression’ was a major success, with the critics and audience from all over the world giving it positive reviews. It received four-star ratings from ‘Rolling Stone’, ‘Mojo’, and ‘AllMusic’ as well as a four-and-half star rating from ‘GIGsoup’. It peaked at number 17 on the Billboard 200 and also charted in many other nations.
- Iggy Pop married Wendy Weissberg in 1968 but the marriage was annulled in November 1969.
- His second marriage to Suchi Asano in 1984 lasted for almost fourteen years before ending in a divorce in 1998.
- He married Nina Alu in November 2008 and is presently living in Florida with her. He also has a son with Paulette Benson.
- Iggy was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with ‘The Stooges’ in 2010.
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