Iggy Pop

Active - 1981 - 2019  |   Born - Apr 21, 1947 in Muskegon, Michigan, United States  |   Genres - Music, Comedy, Drama, Science Fiction

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Biography by Sarah Sloboda

Iggy Pop was a punk star long before expanding his credits to include the silver screen. In fact, his musical history dates back to his teenage years in Ypsilanti, MI, influenced by music from blues to rock. Pop performed as a drummer and then lead singer, and his group, the Stooges would become legendary in the history of punk rock. Also involved in collaborations with the likes of David Bowie and Kate Pierson, Pop's image in entertainment spread to cinema in the 1980s, and not just with his tunes gracing film soundtracks.

In the early '80s, Pop performed voices for the animated Rock & Rule, and composed the score for Repo Man. He played numerous bit parts in feature films, including Coffee and Cigarettes, Sid and Nancy, and Martin Scorsese's The Color of Money starring Tom Cruise and Paul Newman, all in 1986. In addition he played small parts in Cry-Baby and Hardware, also appearing as himself in documentaries like Red, Hot and Blue and Kiss My Blood in the very early '90s. He played the role of Sally Jenko in the 1995 Western, Dead Man, starring Johnny Depp, and appeared as Rat Face that same year in the indie film Tank Girl. In 1996, he played Curve in the sequel to The Crow, City of Angels.

Of course, his role as a musician intertwined with his career in the film industry. Aside from Repo Man, he composed for the dramatic French feature Va Mourire in 1995, and Johnny Depp's The Brave in 1997, which screened at Cannes, but was never released.

As the 21st century got under way Pop landed a major role in the family-friendly flick Snow Day, and he went on to appear in the omnibus film Coffee and Cigarettes. His distinctive voice led him to be cast as Lil' Rummy on the short-lived satirical series Lil' Bush, as well as in the award-winning animated film Persepolis. He also reunited with The Stooges in that decade performing a number of well-received concerts.

Pop could also be seen on television with credits to include roles in a 1995 episode of The Adventures of Pete and Pete, an episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine in 1998, as well as an episode of Behind the Music for VH1 centered around his career.

Movie Highlights

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  • Played the drums in his first band, the Iguanas, in the early 1960s. He went on to play in the blues-inspired Prime Movers in 1965 and then became the front man for the Psychedelic Stooges in 1967. Soon afterward, the band's name was shortened to the Stooges and he officially adopted the moniker of Iggy Pop.
  • Landed first record deal with the Stooges with Elektra in 1968. The band released a self-titled debut in 1969, Fun House in 1970 and Raw Power in 1973. Though all sold poorly, the albums are now considered rock classics. (Rocker Jack White calls Fun House "the definitive rock album of America.") The band broke up in 1971, reunited briefly and then broke up again in 1974.
  • Formed a close friendship with David Bowie, one of Pop's most notable fans, in the 1970s. Bowie helped Pop land a solo-record deal in 1976, produced several Iggy Pop records and even played the keyboards in Pop's 1977 world tour. Pop also composed "China Girl" with Bowie, who had a hit single with the song in 1983, and he and Bowie penned Pop's best-known song, 1977's pulsating "Lust for Life," since used in TV and on film. 
  • Penned the autobiography I Need More in 1982.
  • Has appeared in numerous movies starting in the 1980s, including two acclaimed 1986 films, Sid and Nancy and The Color of Money. He also landed a semi-regular TV role on Nickelodeon's The Adventures of Pete & Pete.
  • Said to be an inspiration for the character of Curt Wild, played by Ewan McGregor, in the 1998 glam-rock film Velvet Goldmine.
  • Put together a Stooges reunion in 2003 when he and Ron and Scott Asheton collaborated to write and record four songs for Pop's solo album Skull Ring.