The Stooges

The Stooges were an American hard-rock/punk band fronted by singer Iggy Pop. They released two albums on Elektra: The Stooges (1969) and Fun House (1970). After a brief split, they returned with the 1973 Columbia release Raw Power, produced by David Bowie. Pop reemerged as a solo artist, starting with the 1977 Bowie-produced albums The Idiot and Lust for Life.

Members: Iggy Pop (vocals), Scott Asheton (drums), Ron Asheton (guitar, bass), Dave Alexander (bass, 1967-70), Steve Mackay (tenor saxophone, 1970-71), Zeke Zettner (bass, 1970-71), Bill Cheatham (guitar, 1970), James Williamson (guitar), Jimmy Recca (bass, 1971), Bob Sheff (piano, 1973), Tornado Turner [Warren Klein], (guitar, 1973), Scott Thurston (piano, harmonica, 1973-74)


The Stooges formed in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in 1967 when guitarist Ron Asheton (1948–2009) and his drummer brother Scott Asheton (1949–2014) met drummer-turned-singer James Osterberg (b. 1947). Ron hailed from a string of unrecorded local garage bands, including The Chosen Few.

Osterberg had drummed in the R&B/beat acts The Iguanas and The Prime Movers. Inspired by the stage antics of Doors frontman Jim Morrison, he decided to be a singer. He adopted the stagename Iggy Pop: “Iggy” derived from the first two letters in “Iguanas”; “Pop” a nickname given by his bandmates.

Pop and the Asheton’s formed The Psychedelic Stooges with Dave Alexander (1947–1975), a friend of the brothers who took up bass at the time of the band’s formation. They played their first show on Halloween 1967 and gigged throughout the following year at famed local haunts like Detroit’s Grande Ballroom.

Notable Grande dates include opening slots for Blood, Sweat & Tears (3/3/68), Frank Zappa & the Mothers of Invention (4/28/68), Fleetwood Mac (12/27/68), and multi-bills with Love and the Crazy World of Arthur Brown (6/1/68), and The Who and Pink Floyd (7/13/68). Pop gained notoriety for his wild stage antics, which involved food-smearing, stage-diving, and self-mutilation.

In late 1968, they got signed as The Stooges to Elektra Records by label publicist Danny Fields, who included them as part of a deal centered on fellow Detroit hard-rockers the MC5. 

1969: The Stooges

The Stooges released their self-titled debut album on August 5, 1969, on Elektra. It features eight group-written originals, starting with “1969” and the band-anthem “I Wanna Be Your Dog,” both issued as singles, backed by the side-two numbers “Real Cool Time” and “Ann.” The album’s centerpiece, “We Will Fall” (10:15), features viola by producer John Cale. Side two opens with “No Fun,” a signature number later covered by the Sex Pistols. The side closes with “Not Right” and “Little Doll.”

The Stooges marked Cale’s debut as a producer, months after his exit from the Velvet Underground and arrangement work on Nico‘s 1968 second solo album The Marble Index. He plays piano and sleigh bell on “I Wanna Be Your Dog.” Stooges sessions took place at the Hit Factory, NYC, in April 1969. Pop is credited here as “Iggy Stooge.”

Elektra photographer Joel Brodsky arranged the members for a vertical headshot (front cover) and a side-to-side lineup (back cover). His photography also appears on 1968–70 albums by Ars Nova, Clarence Carter, Earth Opera, Elephant’s Memory, Lothar and the Hand People, Nazz, Roy Ayers, and Victor Brady. The art director, William S. Harvey, notched more than 600 visual credits, including 1968/69 Elektra titles by the British folk-rockers Methuselah and the Incredible String Band. The graphic designer on The Stooges, Robert L. Heimall, also designed covers for the US Elektra versions of the debut albums by Lindisfarne and Renaissance (both different from their UK counterparts).

The Stooges gigged vigorously in the months that followed the album’s release. On August 31, they played the Rock & Roll Picnic at Benedectine Stadium, Detroit, with Keef Hartley, Lighthouse, Savage Grace, and The Third Power. Notable Sept.–Oct. stops include the Boston Tea Party (9/9/69, with Ten Years After), the Electric Factory, Philadelphia (9/19/69, with Buddy Miles Express), and a homecoming show at the Grande Ballroom (10/3/69, with The Move).

The Stooges almost played A Day of Peace, slated for November 11 at Detroit’s Olympia Stadium with MC5, SRC, The Frost, The Parliaments (with Funkadelic), and Frijid Pink. However, the show was canceled in light of a riot that occurred the prior week at Olympia.

The Stooges closed out 1969 with after-Christmas shows at Detroit’s Eastown Theatre (12/26/69, with Flock) and the Toledo Sports Arena (12/28/69, with Love Sculpture). On December 29, they played at the Aragon Ballroom, Chicago, as part of the Chicago Pop Festival, which also featured sets by Alice Cooper, Baby Huey, Bangor Flying CircusCoven, and Rotary Connection.


  • The Stooges (1969)
  • Fun House (1970)
  • Raw Power (1973 • Iggy and The Stooges)
  • Metallic K.O. (1976 • Iggy and The Stooges)


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