Iggy Pop - The Idiot
"Calling Sister Midnight - well I'm an idiot for you"
The Idiot was Iggy Pop's solo debut album, released in 1977. After the break-up of The Stooges in 1974, Iggy spent some time in Hollywood, trying to form a band with ex Doors keyboard-player Ray Manzarek. When this came to nothing, Iggy checked into the Neuropsychiatric Institute in L.A.. While there, he tried writing and recording new material with James Williamson, who played guitar with the Stooges last incarnation (on Raw Power), but a lack of label interest put paid to that. During his stay, he was also visited by David Bowie, who offered to bring Iggy with him on the Station To Station tour.
The pair got on well together, and they both decamped to Berlin in 1976; Bowie then helped Iggy get a deal with the Virgin label, and they started writing songs together. The result was, obviously, The Idiot. Inspired by the likes of Can and Kraftwerk, Bowie admits that he used Iggy as a kind of musical guinea-pig; The Idiot is packed with the kind of electronic art-rock that Bowie would soon perfect on Low and Heroes. The Idiot was a huge success, and along with Lust For Life, Iggy's second album with Bowie, proved to be a huge influence on the burgeoning punk scene.
- Sister Midnight
- China Girl
- Dum Dum Boys
- Tiny Girls
- Mass Production
All selections written by Iggy Pop and David Bowie
Except "Sister Midnight", written by Iggy Pop, David Bowie and Carlos Alomar
Produced by David Bowie
Mixed by Tony Visconti
The Idiot is miles away from what most would have expected from an Iggy Pop solo album. His last release with the Stooges, Raw Power, also involved David Bowie; but it was a mass of snarling guitars and screamed vocals. The Idiot features quite a lot of electronic keyboard sound, and more subdued, distorted guitar. It also features Iggy actually singing.
The Idiot is probably my favourite Iggy Pop album, a view that is shared by quite a number of critics and fans. Nearly everybody knows Nightclubbing, due to its inclusion on the Trainspotting soundtrack. The version of China Girl here is the original, although the version Bowie recorded for his 1983 album Let's Dance is much more well known; Iggy's version isn't as deliberately poppy as Bowies, IMHO. Funtime is probably the closest to a Stooges song here, and was later covered by R.E.M.; I *think* that a demo version of it may have been recorded by the Stooges. Dum Dum Boys is Iggy's wry tribute to his old band - "I was most impressed/No one else was impressed, not at all". Overall, the tone of the album is pretty dark; most of the songs relate to Iggy's coming to terms with his life and his past; it's probably worth noting that Iggy was trying to dry out at the time.
The Idiot was also the last album that Ian Curtis listened to before he hung himself.
"Calling Sister Midnight - What can I do about my dreams?"