Long before the sad and sobering adverts for car insurance, James Osterberg Jr made some very important and very influential records. Particularly two LPs that were released in 1977 – The Idiot and Lust for Life – both partly-written, wholly produced and very heavily influenced by David Bowie.
It was the Bowie connection that led to Mrs V purchasing both albums at the time, and they take a proud place in among the many other bits of plastic that sit within the cupboard just yards from where I’m sitting typing these words.
Its quaint to read the words printed on the back of The Idiot:-
Stereo records give full stereo reproduction when played on a stereo record player. They can be played om most modern mono players fitted with a lightweight tone arm and pick-up head and the sound reproduction will be monoaural. If you have any doubts and wish to avoid damaging your equipment or records, consult your dealer.
Given the prodigious amounts of drugs that were consumed during the course of making these records, I’ve a feeling that Iggy Pop would have been consulting an altogether different type of dealer.
Lust For Life contains one of the greatest songs ever recorded. Fact.
mp3 : Iggy Pop – The Passenger
Hard to believe now that it was passed over as a single and instead relegated to the b-side of Success, which was the only 45 lifted from the LP at the time.
And I wonder how many readers are aware of a very strong Scottish connection with The Passenger…..
Well, the music was written by Ricky Gardiner who first came to prominence in the very early 70s as a founder member of Beggars Opera, a prog rock band from Glasgow (although Gardiner himself was from Edinburgh). They never achieved much as a band, but Gardiner was by the mid 70s part of Bowie’s backing band and part of the entourage that hooked up with Iggy. And its his playing of the distinctive riff that has filled many a floor at an indie disco the world over.
One of the best tracks on The Idiot is this:-
mp3 : Iggy Pop – Nightclubbing
It is highly representative of the dark and raw sound that dominates the LP.
A few years later, Half Man Half Biscuit took the piss out of it somewhat:-
mp3 : Half Man Half Biscuit – Seal Clubbing
Sadly however, the The Idiot is an LP that for many has become synomomous with tragedy, thanks to the fact that it was the last record played by Ian Curtis on the night he hanged himself….whether or not it was actually playing as he took his last breath we will never know.