The Stooges made only three official releases, containing only 23 songs, over a five-year career. A fourth album's-worth of songs have come out on various bootleg
s. With this very small output, the Stooges somehow became one of rock's most influential
bands. Echoes of their simple yet powerful style can be heard in punk
(not hair metal
), and grunge
, and in garage bands
Their first record, The Stooges was released in 1969 and produced by former Velvet Underground violist John Cale, who appears on one track, the 10-minute vaguely Eastern-sounding drone, "We Will Fall". The rest of the record sounds NOTHING LIKE THIS. Guitarist Ron Asheton (whose haircut gave him the high school nickname "The Fat Beatle") plays brutal and repetitive riffs, while Iggy screams the simple yet strangely meaningful lyrics at the top of his leather lungs. Classic Stooges cuts on this record include "No Fun", "1969", and "I Wanna Be Your Dog".
Their second record, "Fun House", came out a year later. The title refers to the house in which the band members were all living at the time. Nico slept there, by the way. The songs were longer, with more instrumental jamming, and a saxophone was added on some tracks.
The Stooges were dropped from Elektra Records after "Fun House", and went their separate ways. Iggy was befriended by David Bowie, who produced a third Stooges record, "Raw Power", in 1973. "Raw Power" had a different lineup. The lead guitarist was James Williamson, and Ron Asheton switched to bass. The songs on "Raw Power" are among some of the best Iggy ever wrote, including "Search and Destroy", "I Need Somebody", and "Raw Power", but the final mix was done by Bowie. Many years later a re-issued version came out, mixed by Iggy. This is far superior. The main difference seems to be that the Iggy mix turns up the guitars ALOT.
The Stooges toured after the release of "Raw Power", but internal tensions between Iggy and James Williamson, and also Iggy's drug habits, broke up the band for good soon after. Iggy checked into a Los Angeles mental hospital, and disappeared from the music scene for several years. Iggy and James Williamson made a record together in 1976 called "Kill City", which featured several previously unreleased Stooges songs.
The Stooges Discography (Major label only):
Ron Asheton--Guitar and Bass
James Williamson--Guitar, 1971-73
Dave Alexander--Bass, 1969-70
Scott "Rock Action" Asheton--Drums
Steve Mackay--Saxophone on "Fun House" album
Scott Thurston--Organ, Guitar, and Harmonica (touring only)
The Stooges got back together in the spring of 2003, after a hiatus of nearly 30 years. Iggy was joined by the Asheton brothers, and punk uber-bassist Mike Watt. They toured the U.S. in the spring and summer of 2003, playing ONLY songs from their first two albums, pretending the David Bowie days never happened. Surprisingly, they still had it. Iggy seemed more energized than he had been in twenty-five years, and, while the old tricks of onstage self-mutilation had fallen by the wayside, remained a frighteningly intense performer. He even sang the old songs in a way that you could tell what the lyrics were.
The re-formed Stooges are recording a new album, slated for a 2004 release, called Skull Ring. He debuted the title track on tour, and it sounded like a much harder-rocking solo Iggy cut from 1977-78, which is by no means a bad thing.