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

UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 08: Photo of Iggy Pop. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
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(Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

In the summer of 1969, most of the world simply didn't know what to make of Iggy Pop and the Stooges. The brash and abrasive band blasted out of the Detroit underground with a seething vengeance, armed with caustic songs laced with bracing titles, like "I Wanna Be Your Dog."

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The album wasn't much of a chart performer. Released on August 5, 1969, The Stooges peaked at #106 for the week of October 4, 1969. The #1 album in America that week: Creedence Clearwater Revival's Green River.

For those who did tune in and pick up on what the Stooges were laying down, the album was like a clarion call. The Stooges essentially laid out the blueprint for punk rock to generations of noisemakers eager to plug in and turn it up to 11. The album's brutal and violent approach was reflective of the mood of a nation dealing with the atrocities of the Vietnam War, and civil unrest bubbling up across the country.

"My memory of the original years was a transfixed, frozen attention," Iggy Pop told Rolling Stone in 2007. "Few people wanted to be anywhere near the stage. They would just stare. It was as if the audience was a gigantic cardboard cutout, a diorama. Nobody moved. Nobody went to the bathroom," he cracked. 

"Little by little, people started liking it. It was mostly high school kids — tenth graders," Pop continued. "What we did didn’t bother them. They thought the riffs were cool. The songs said something to them. And then there were the Ramones, sitting in Queens, going, 'I can get with that. It’s kind of simple.' It didn’t bother them at all."

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