The Stooges may have only released a handful of albums while they were together, but without a doubt, they left their mark and were very influential to countless bands that followed. The Stooges, led by eccentric front man Iggy Pop (Then called Iggy Stooge-b. James Osterberg), are often credited as being one of the first punk rock bands (along with the MC5). Not just in the style of music, but in the attitude, as well as simplicity with instruments, raw vocals and distorted guitars. Taking influences from The Rolling Stones and The Doors, they add The Stones' sleaze combined with The Doors' on stage acts. Iggy Pop was famous for his on stage antics which range from covering himself with peanut butter to getting cut with glass and bleeding on stage. The Stooges (Then called The Psychedelic Stooges
) sighed to Elektra Records after the MC5 suggested them to a scout in 1967. When the scout (Danny Fields) saw their live show, they were sighed and then released this self titled debut in 1969. Produced by The Velvet Underground's John Cale, the album was released in 1969, the end of a decade dominated mostly (not all) by pop tunes and the peace/love era, this album was the complete opposite to all of that as it is darker, raunchier and vulgar. For some extra information, this album is listed at # 185 on Rolling Stone Top 500 albums of all time list
The Stooges debut opens up with a classic tune. 1969
pretty much sets the tone for the album with its distorted guitar over some pounding drumming. The song then kicks into a similar sounding beat to The Who's 'My Generation', but once Iggy's signature voice comes in, you can easily tell the difference. This song is a perfect example of how a simple beat and nothing instrumentally spectacular can make an effective song. 1969 is a great way to open up the record. Track number two is another one of my favorites on the album and also the first Stooges song I heard. After some distortion, I Wanna Be Your Dog
goes into a heavy riff followed by some tambourine jingle which is used in the song and quite effectively too. The song does contain some dirty lyrics, though that is nothing that The Stooges aren't familiar with. Following I Wanna Be Your Dog is the epic song of the album. Clocking in at over ten minutes, We Will Fall
is by far the longest on the album, though that doesn't make it the best. The song is very calm and remains that way the whole song. It contains no drums, just Iggy's monotone voice, with some haunting backing vocals. If you listen closely, you can faintly hear the guitar in the background. John Cale plays violin in this song as well. Although the song is ten minutes long, it is nothing groundbreaking, as it basically repeats itself. I wouldn't say it's a bad song, just very dark. Now we are back on track with this next tune. No Fun
is a classic Stooges song with its simple but very catchy beat with the hand clapping effects. Lyrically the song is nothing too special, but Iggy sings the song very well, making up for it. The song is also quite long too at over five minutes.
The second half of the album begins with Real Cool Time
. The song is good, but nothing in particular stands out. Musically, it's one of the more heavy songs on the album, but Iggy still sings his same tone of voice. The song really only has one line with Iggy repeating: "I say we will have a real cool time tonight"
. I can probably guess what he's talking about there, but I won't. After a harder song, Anne
slows things down a bit. It is a very soft song, but does get a little messy towards the end. The song has little to no guitar, and keeps a very simple drum beat throughout the song. Iggy does however, explore different vocal ranges on the song as he changes his tone various times. The song has no guitar until the end where Ron starts to randomly play different distorted solos. Not Right
picks up the pace with its fast drumming and guitar. This song does feature some decent guitar playing. Rob plays some cool little solos from time to time in the song and does them quite well. They are not too complex, but suit the song perfectly. The last half of the song is instrumental but well done. The eighth and last song on the album is Little Doll
. After a nice, but simple bassline from Dave, Iggy starts singing the verses with his signature raw vocals. The song features some heavily distorted guitars, especially towards the end of the song. Not much else to say about the song, other then that is a good way to end a good album.
The Stooges' debut has nothing lyrically or musically amazing and not much diversity, but that's not what The Stooges were known for. They are known for putting together raw rock and roll songs, and that's exactly what they do here on this fine debut. The album blends garage rock, psychedelic, and punk rock very nicely. This record however, may not be for everyone as it may take some getting used to. If you are just getting into the Stooges, I would recommend getting Raw Power
first and then this or Fun House
. But either way, this is a solid album as there are really no bad tracks. I would give it a 3.5-4/5 for the music, but a 5/5 for being hugely influential to many bands to come.
I Wanna Be Your Dog