When The Stooges Opened Up Their 'Fun House'

Iggy Pop greeting fans on stage
Photo Credit
Leee Black Childers/Redferns

James Newell Osterberg Jr. was born in Muskegon, Michigan on April 21, 1947, and while it didn’t happen overnight, Jim - as his friends and family called him - would eventually make the decision to embrace rock and roll, adopt a stage name, and reinvent himself as the one and only Iggy Pop...and since it is the esteemed Mr. Pop’s birthday, we thought we’d commemorate the occasion by taking a look at the second studio album released by his band, The Stooges.

Released on July 7, 1970, only a few short months after being recorded at Elektra Sound Recorders in Los Angeles, Fun House is an LP which - like the Stooges’ self-titled debut or Raw Power, the album that followed this one - helped provide the sonic template for the musical genre now known as punk rock. It definitely wasn’t what you’d call a blockbuster success, and it certainly didn’t shift mass units, but it nonetheless managed to be one of the most influential albums of its day and, indeed, continues to influence new bands even now.

Read More: August 1969: Iggy Pop and the Stooges Release "The Stooges"

Fun House was produced by Don Gallucci, onetime keyboardist for The Kingsmen, and he took the gig despite having seen the Stooges in concert and declaring to Elektra Records’ main man Jac Holzman, “I don’t think you can get this feeling on tape.” Holzman reportedly replied, “It doesn’t matter, I’ve already reserved recording time,” and while we don’t know for sure if it’s apocryphal or not, we do know that it certainly sounds like the head of a label...

Despite his skepticism, Gallucci took a serious stab at making The Stooges sound like they did when he’d seen them in concert, having them record one song a day, but many, many, many different takes of that one song. In addition, with the band’s help, Gallucci removed as much of the studio’s typical gear as possible, in order to make the sound come across the same way it did live. The end result was an album which had zero chance at becoming a big hit, but, boy, did the critics eat it up...

Is it the single best album ever released by the Stooges? That’s a personal call. But it’s damned sure up there, and if you’ve never heard it, then you’d better hit “play” ASAP, because it’s high time you entered the Fun House.

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