Features

From Bowie to Slash: Iggy Pop’s 12 finest collaborations

The godfather of punk has created a hell of a lot of quality music throughout his life. He’s also frequently flirting with death and insanity like they are his most prized dates. From The Stooges to Lust For Life, Iggy Pop’s done some magnificent work.

In remembrance of his prolific output and inherent profligacy we are counting down the 12 best Iggy Pop collaborations.

Iggy Pop

Iggy Pop is an icon. The man has lived a thousand lifetimes through a thousand projects and today we celebrate 12 of his finest.

12. Iggy Pop – Sonali (directed by Mac DeMarco)

A week before Iggy Pop dropped his latest album Free we were treated to the meditative, jazzy lounge number Sonali, and a perfect new accompaniment to Pop’s eternal croon.

Just yesterday we were treated to a highly hallucinogenic inducing video directed by none other than Mac DeMarco. Featuring Mac’s girlfriend Kiera McNally and their pal Tommy Midnight as lizard people, much like the video for Nobodyit’s about as weird as you would expect with a collab from these two.

11. Slash – We’re All Gonna Die

Slash’s solo debut featured a pretty eclectic guest list. Ozzy Osbourne, Adam Levine, Fergie, Kid Rock, Dave Grohl and Iggy Pop. Lending vocals to the albums final track, We’re All Gonna Die.

Pop’s deep, gruff croon is the perfect counter balance to Slash’s screeching lead breaks and is probably the strongest song on the record.

10. New Order – Stray Dog

At a Carnegie Hall benefit concert in 2014, Iggy Pop sang Joy Division‘s Love Will Tear Us Apart with New Order‘s Bernard Sumner. After the duet, Sumner began jotting down lyrics between gigs and emailed Iggy when he had a full song together.

The result is a powerful collaboration between two of music’s great innovators.

9. Josh Homme – Post Pop Depression

Josh Homme received a text message last year that basically read ‘Hey, it would be great if we got together and maybe write something sometime – Iggy.’ With no label support the Queens of the Stone Age frontman began recording Iggy Pop’s first rock record in 13 years.

As Pop recalls with fond weariness, Homme “took me to a place I’d never been,” and Homme resounded: “This was to go where neither of us had gone before. That was the agreement. And to go all the way.”

8. Alva Noto / Tarwater / Iggy Pop  – Leaves Of Grass

German post-rock outfit Tarwater and their minimalist companion Alva Noto stuck a copy of Walt Whitman’s Leaves Of Grass in Iggy Pop’s hands and said ‘read’.

As you can expect Pop read with ferocity and coolness only deserving of a masterpiece of literature. We can’t wait for some Iggy Pop potential audiobooks in the future.

7. Alice Cooper – Love Transfusion

Pop met Alice Cooper back in the Stooges days when they were fronting two of the most outrageous bands in the world. In the late eighties the two rock veterans teamed up to create a combustible hard rock album of ’80s destruction.

While Love Transfusion was not a hit it’s certainly an interesting snapshot of Iggy Pop doing his thing.

6. Iggy Pop – Repo Man

Even though Iggy Pop doesn’t actually appear in Alex Cox’s B-Grade sci-fi comedy, boy does he sell it. His theme is so integral to the films legacy that he may as well have cameoed.

Pop’s psychedelic lyrics, “Infinity throws you a curve/Dumps you in shit you don’t deserve”  as he plays a drug addled shaman “teenage dinosaur/Stoned and obsolete,” are unquestionably perfect for the film of cosmic proportions.

5. Cat Power – Nothing But Time

This eleven minute two chord vamp doesn’t shy from it’s Bowie influences. Thus it makes perfect sense that Bowie’s long time friend and collaborator should be hired for the job.

Cat Power‘s uplifting build Pop’s forlorn back up vocals elevate the track to new heights as Iggy acts as a living conduit to the past.

4. Songhoy Blues – Sahara

With so much insanely good guitar music coming out of Mali it’s no wonder Iggy embraced his blues root and teamed up with Songhoy Blues. If you’re a fan of Tinariwen or Mdou Moctar, then this is right up your alley.

While it’s not necessarily Iggy’s most lyrically poignant writing it’s certainly a collaboration that is one of a kind.

3. The Stooges – I Wanna Be Your Dog ft. John Cale

Stooges manager Danny Fields hired John Cale to produce their debut album. It turned out to be a brilliant choice with Cale lending some inspired touches to the album.

Those are John Cale’s sleigh bells you can hear as well as his thunking single note piano drive which almost makes the song in many ways.

2. Ryuichi Sakamoto – Risky

Ryuichi Sakamoto was still drenched in ’80s synth when he recorded with Iggy Pop. Everything from the flanged guitars to the gated synths it’s another collision of two greats meeting of the minds.

Once again Pop’s baritone croon is a sure thing. Veiled in erotic imagery and whispered warnings about corporate consumption Pop intones “Born in a corporate dungeon/Where people are cheated of life/I knew I could never stay home”.

1. David Bowie – Lust For Life

Following Bowie’s death in 2016 Pop described their relationship as,“The friendship was basically that this guy salvaged me from certain professional and maybe personal annihilation – simple as that.” Bowie met Iggy in 1971 and a year later he produced the Stooges final album Raw Power. 

In ’76 the Stooges broke up and Pop spiralled out of control, checking himself into UCLA mental hospital. Bowie visited him and invited him on tour to get clean together in West Berlin. It was in Germany that Bowie produced two of Iggy Pop’s landmark albums The Idiot and Lust For Life. 

“He resurrected me” recalls Pop and considering the circumstances he’s probably right.