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The Stooges - Raw Power

Kurt Cobain said it's his "favorite album of all time. In his list of the top 50 albums he thought were most influential to Nirvana's sound".


Thurston Moore of "Sonic Youth" noted "that record sliced my head off... In a way, it brought me into all those other aspects of music and literature.


Johnny Marr of "The Smiths" said: "It gave me a path to follow as a guitar player. It was an opening into a world of rock & roll.."


"Guns N' Roses", "Def Leppard" and the "Red Hot Chili Peppers" performed songs from it.


Ladies and gentlemen, let's read about one of Rock's most influential albums, let's listen to how history is produced in 30 minutes.


"Raw Power" is the third studio album by "The Stooges" (titled "Iggy and the Stooges"), which was released on February 7, 1973.


The story of this album begins from the ruins of a band whose bassist Dave Alexander is addicted to alcohol. A band whose lead and charismatic singer struggles with heroin addiction. A band whose record company decided not to renew its contract, after two unsuccessful albums. Under these circumstances, music critics and fans wondered if the band would continue to exist at all.


But then, a miraculous thing happens. David Bowie, who saw the band live during a visit to the US in 1971, was very impressed with them and especially of Iggy Pop's abilities. He took Iggy Pop under his wings, helps him recover and make sure he signs a new recording contract with a company owned by Tony Defries - his manager.


In 1972 Iggy moves to England and begins to form the new band that will accompany him. He takes guitarist James Williamson who from 1970 served as a second guitarist in the band's live shows and drummer Scott Asheton, with him. After a long search for a bass player, Iggy decided, on Williamson's advice, to move guitarist Ron Asheton to the bass player position, thus completing the lineup that would record the masterpiece "Raw Power".


The people in charge of writing the materials for the album are Iggy Pop and James Williamson, who shared the creation process.


The album title - "Raw Power", simply represents in the best way what's happening inside. A display of immature, powerful and rough power, which will lay, among other things, the cornerstones for the establishment of Punk and Grunge genres.


The theme song "Raw Power" describes the rock 'n' roll ethos of "Sex, Drugs and Rock 'n' Roll" as "raw power". Iggy referred to this "raw power" as something that can lift a man from the deepest places, but can also ruin and destroy. The simple rock 'n' roll piano riff is played by Iggy, who also opens the song with a burp, yes, yes. A burp accidentally recorded and did not edit out.


The powerful opening song "Search and Destroy", was written following an article Iggy Pop have read in "Time" magazine, about the Vietnam War. And as in war, James Williamson's guitar firing in bundles, Ron Asheton's bass rolls towards us like a hand grenade, Scott Asheton's drums drop napalm bombs upon us from the sky and Iggy Pop's singing rushes forward in full force. Not for nothing has singer and creator Henry Rollis tattooed the title of the opening song on his arm, not for nothing this song included in the "Rolling Stone" magazine's list of the 500 greatest songs of all time.


The second track "Gimme Danger" is one of two "ballads" that the record company "Columbia" demanded that the band include on the album, one on each side of the vinyl. The lyrics were written by Iggy Pop on one of his walks at the Hyde Park, London. He wrote it about the girl he feared would just ruin him - Johanna. He also wrote the song "Johanna" from the album "Kill City" from 1977 on the same girl. Williamson wrote the music on an acoustic guitar that also rarely stars here alongside the rough electric guitar.

(Photo: Mick Rock, Sony Music)


The second "ballad" that the record company demanded to be included on the album is "I Need Somebody" and it is located as the second song on the other side of the vinyl. It's a slow, rough blues piece, that features chilling and mesmerizing Iggy's singing.


Beyond the two "ballads" mentioned above, this album is a ticking time bomb. "Shake Appeal" initially called "Hard to Beat", is a vicious and cruel rock 'n' roll piece. "Penetration" is a dark and menacing piece with psychedelic touches. "The Shake Appeal" could have been written by the "Rolling Stones" after swallowing a stimulant drug cocktail and "Death Trip" is indeed one long "killer trip" that takes us on a 6 minutes "trip" accompanied by sawing guitars up until the end of the album.


Even though David Bowie got the credit for producing the album, the one who actually produced it was Iggy Pop. At the end of the recordings, the record company thought it would be appropriate to transfer the recordings to David Bowie so he can handle them. Eventually David Bowie, who was then in Los Angeles, got 7 of the album's eight songs for production. He had a very hard time getting his job done since the album was primitively recorded on a number of individual channels. The result was disastrous for Iggy and Williamson, who really did not like it. But who cares if the record company is happy? They made sure to mention Bowie's name prominently as the one who co-produced the album with Iggy Pop.


Eventually justice was done with the recordings years later, when in 1997 a remix of the album was released and includes the original production of Iggy Pop.


It is interesting to note that singer Bruce Dickinson was also credited as an executive producer of the 1997 reissue.


For Listening to the album with the Iggy Pop production: Spotify


For Listening to the album with the David Bowie production: Spotify


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