The "Happy Birthday Iggy Pop" Playlist!

In celebrating the 67th birthday of the godfather of punk, Iggy Pop, we at The Shit have put together the consummate Iggy Pop playlist featuring the ten most pivotal tracks in a career that now spans six decades.

Pop, of course, came bursting forth from the state of Michigan like a stick of dynamite, with ten times the ferocity and desire to escape than most folks from The Mitten State.  He may not have known exactly what he wanted, or where he was going, but he knew that as long as he kept moving, at the very least, it would never be boring.

James Osterberg may not have been born with the most talent, or the greatest voice,  but, from Day One, he was a wily, street smart survivor who thrived on spectacle and pushing the boundaries in search of something visceral, honest, and pure.

I Wanna Be Your Dog from The Stooges (1969)

Lots of folks hail that first Stooges album as some sort of gutteral punk explosion, but those who listen a little closer hear an album as ambitiously sharp and focused as any album by label-mates The Doors, whose Soft Parade album preceded the Stooges debut album by two weeks.  Those two weeks sound like a century, though.

That the music of the Doors went on to shape a generation while the Stooges languished in obscurity is one of life's more brutal coin tosses because anyone who has actually taken the time to listen to the first Stooges album knows that songs like "1969", "I Wanna Be Your Dog" and "No Fun" would have sounded just as great on the radio as "Light My Fire".

"China Girl" from The Idiot (1977)

On one hand, it's easy to see why David Bowie was so enamored by Pop.  There was a child-like quality to Iggy that belied must have been intoxicating to a calculated artist such as Bowie.  His idea to marry musical order to Iggy's unbridled vocal style was a stroke of genius that led to some of Iggy's best work, such as The Idiot album, which featured the original version of "China Girl"; a song Bowie would make famous during his Let's Dance period.

"Lust For Life" from Lust For Life (1977)

Anyone who finds themselves grooving to this gem must surely ask themselves the question "Why did it take a damn cruise line commercal to introduce the world to a song this great?"  The answer, of course, is that radio programmers of the time wanted nothing to do with Iggy Pop in 1977.  In hindsight, their disdain of Pop, and this song, is enough to make one suspect the whole enterprise as a sham and to force us to investigate how much other great stuff was kept from us.

The Passenger from Lust For Life (1977)

This song, also from 1977's Lust For Life, is such an obvious candidate for release as a single that even a label like RCA couldn't fuck that up, right?  Well, sorta.  Turns out the label was so moved by the song that they released it as the B-side to the song "Success", which failed to chart.  What's even more heartbreaking is that the Lust For Life album, which featured both the now-iconic title cut and "The Passenger", only made it as far as #120 on the Billboard charts.  Insert face palm here.

"Sixteen" from TV Eye Live (1978)

This live version, taken from the TV Eye Live album in '78, may boast bootleg-quality sound, but it only serves to heighten the song's sonic punk punch.  Of course, just as punk rock as the music itself was Pop's decision to pocket all but $5,000 of RCA's $90,000 advance to make the record.

"Shades" from Blah Blah Blah (1986)

Pop's reunion with David Bowie yielded the album Blah Blah Blah, which was arguably Pop's most obvious attempt to "play ball", commercially speaking.  The album yielded the dreadfully pandering "Real Wild Child" as well as a few other forgettable moments, but it did give the world this heartfelt paean to then-newlywed wife Suchi Asano.  Despite the dated production, the sentiment of lines like "These shades say somethin'/I'll bet they cost a lot/I hope I don't break 'em/I hope we don't break up" still ring true despite the fact that the marriage was kaput by 1989.  One can't help wonder, though, did he lose the shades?


After the dismal, lunk-headed metal failure of 1988's Instinct as a direct response to the slickness of Blah Blah Blah, Pop was smart enough to keep trying to dial it in.  Brick By Brick was still one tough-mutha of an album, but producer (and fellow Michigan native) Don Was struck gold, literally, by enlisting B-52's singer Kate Pierson on "Candy", a song that stands as rock & roll's answer to all those George Jones and Tammy Wynette duets.  The song itself remains Pop's sole Top 40 hit, peaking at #28 on he

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