Iggy Stooge...err...Pop and the Stooges and “No Fun”

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Have you ever seen one of those movie moments where the band is playing behind chicken wire and the audience is throwing beer bottles? Iggy Pop and the Stooges had those kinds of experiences. I didn’t hear him for the first time until he released Soldier in 1980, but then I immediately sought out his back catalogue and soon discovered punk had been coexistent with flower power back in 1969 with the release of The Stooges.

Where do the Stooges sit?

The Stooges is unlike any other release of its era and and yet it is somewhat overlooked,  overshadowed by 1973’s Raw Power.  In 1969 Iggy was going by the stage name Iggy Stooge and his name and some of the music on the album were out of step with the era. It is punk and a full eight years before the landmark year in punk’s history, 1977. 

To hear The Stooges in 1980 and try to place it on the graph of rock was a perplexing undertaking.  Songs like “Dog Food” from Soldier were offensive enough in 1980, like a Gene Genet song, but The Stooges from 1969 seemed unimaginably harsh for its time. It was meant to offend and some of its songs seemed to retch toward the beads and paisley of the era, though not all the songs are punk worthy. Songs like “We Will Fall,” which lasts for 10:19, and “Ann” and “1969” are of their time. “Little Doll” is a moment from the Rolling Stones. Some others, though, may go so far as to seemingly prophesize the breakup of The Sex Pistols.

From Punk Prototype to the Sex Pistols’ Final Encore

“No Fun” and “Not Right” are those prophetic songs.  The Stooges is certainly a mixed up album, part 1969 and part 1977.  “No Fun” has to be one of the first true notes of the punk movement though.  

The Sex Pistols called it all off at the Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco in 1978 with “No Fun,” doing a cover for their encore that night.   “You’ll get one number and one number only, ‘cause I’m a lazy bastard,” says Johnny Rotten when he grabs the microphone for that encore. Punk may not have ended that night but one of its best bands did with one of punk’s first real tunes. Otherwise, 1969’s The Stooges is interesting for other reasons, including its straddling of two wildly distinct eras.

Check out our upcoming review of 2013’s Ready to Die by the current version of Iggy Pop and the Stooges.



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