There’s a warm place in my heart for Iggy Pop. An idiot savant of rock, this never aging man-child full of mischievous humor has a baritone that exudes life experience and pathos. James Newell Osterberg Jr is every bit as iconic as Johnny Cash. His output might be edgier, but he’s as humble and humane as the Man in Black. Iggy is a man who owns his history and has earned his own kind of redemption. I wanted to share some of my favourite Pop collaborations with Iggy on vocals that each speak to an aspect of his inimitable character. Here’s my Top 5 (plus 1):
You can click on the title links below to watch the video for each of the songs. Or see spotify playlist here.
Lust for Life: Iggy Pop & David Bowie
Iggy’s 1977 Albums ‘The Idiot’ and ‘Lust for Life’ were recorded in Berlin during Bowie’s existential drying out phase which made for some acidic and often manic rock and roll. Bowie is in the backseat, happy to produce, co-write and sing back up with his longtime friend and hero Iggy. It’s so hard to pick just one song from the Bowie/Pop canon, but Lust for Life is possibly the most memorable for anyone who grew up in the 90’s. It’s prominence in the soundtrack of Trainspotting made it truly ubiquitous in 1996 and cemented Iggy once and for all firmly in the popular consciousness.
Well Did you Evah?!: Iggy Pop & Deborah Harry
A fun duet recorded in 1990 for a Cole Porter themed AIDS benefit anthology album Red Hot + Blue. I love this so much, I can’t listen to it without laughing along at these two old mates taking the piss. They are perfect together and the lyrics are surprisingly satirical and self referential. You should check out Alex Cox directed video too. I think they should have married!
Candy: Iggy Pop & Kate Pierson
A nostalgic tribute to lost love, written by Iggy in 1990 and featuring the B52’S fabulous female vocalist Kate Pierson as the eponymous ‘Candy’. Maybe a little bit cheesy for some, but for me this is romantic Iggy at his kitschy best.
Aisha: Iggy Pop & Death in Vegas
Aisha is arguably the best track on Death in Vegas’ seminal ‘Contino sessions’ from 1999, released as a single in 2000. This is transcendent dance/rock with a driving guitar hook and Iggy in character as a psycho killer. It’s the first time I’d heard anything with Iggy doing ‘spoken word’ and it’s fantastically effective. I get shivers. Favourite line – “Aisha, I’m vibrating”.
He’s Frank: Iggy Pop & the BPA
If you’re like me you’ll know this song from the Heroes OST 2009. The Brighton Port Authority (BPA) is another incarnation of DJ Norman Cook/Fatboy Slim and ‘He’s Frank’ was originally recorded by The Monochrome set in 1978. The track has a Northern Soul sound emphasized by Cook, and it’s lyrical theme of misspent youth is perfect for Iggy. It’s a total ear worm that will make you want to dance like a rangy puppet.
Punk Rocker: Iggy Pop & Teddybears
This much covered song by Swedish Punk/Hiphop/Electro outfit Teddybears has seen various incarnations (including the 2000 ‘Hiphopper’ send up with Thomas Rusiak). The best version is without a doubt the one featuring Iggy on vocals, singing lyrics that sound like they were written just for him. A joyful anthem to all that is Iggy. Favourite line:”I listen to the music with no fear, you can hear it too if you’re sincere. Cuz I’m a pUnk RocKer yes I am.”
Hope you’ve enjoyed this little Iggy interlude. Are there any great Pop collaborations you think I’ve missed?