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Shane’s Rock Challenge: IGGY & THE STOOGES – 1973 – Raw Power

| 23 April 2014 | Reply

IGGY & THE STOOGES – 1973 – Raw Power

Iggy & The Stooges - Raw Power cover

“I’m a street walkin’ cheetah with a heart full of napalm,” sang lggy Pop on opener Search & Destroy, a song so junk-sick and full of piss & vinegar that it’s impossible to ignore.

But, astonishing as it seems these 4 decades later, ignore they did: The Stooges were simply TOO MUCH, man. Audiences of 1973 simply hadn’t a clue how to process the noise they were making.

Speaking with guitarist James Williamson a couple of weeks ago, he laughed that, “We didn’t have a producer – that was one of the problems! David Bowie wanted to produce it, but we wouldn’t let him, so we produced that ourselves. Iggy was in charge because he had actually been in the studio before which is more than I had been.
“That’s one of the problems with that record – there are some technical issues that we didn’t know anything about. We made the engineer do stuff he shouldn’t have done, and so at the end of the project we had Bowie mix it because we couldn’t mix it properly. Anyway, he did get involved in the end, but to his credit he didn’t have much to work with. We gave him some tracks that had some real, real technical problems. Anyway, he made me sound good so I guess I am forever indebted!”

Williamson’s guitars sound mightily in your face, there’s no denying that, and for all the talk of bad production, or whatever – it’s aptly titled: it is both Raw and Powerful, and that, coupled with the simple efficiency of the songwriting, is the key to the album’s massive cult appeal/

Yeah it almost sounds like a live bootleg or a demo, but The Stooges weren’t built to sound produced or polished and Raw Power sounds exactly how it should. If it had been produced more… would it have the same electricity, sandpaper rawness and cult influence? Probably not.

40 Years later Raw Power’s influence continues to spread – it’s possibly the high point of pre-punk musical nihilism, a collection of counter-culture anthems that still sound dangerous today – songs even a mother would struggle to love.

Search & Destroy
Gimme Danger
Your Pretty Face Is Going To Hell
Raw Power
I Need Somebody
Shake Appeal
Death Trip

It’s a masterpiece of underground, damaged genius. Danger, addiction, desperation, paranoia and civil disobedience all distilled into it’s most simplistic, immediate, rabblerousing form.

40 years after it’s release, Raw Power is still a knife whose edge and shine have never dulled.


By Shane Pinnegar

Category: Shane's Rock Challenge

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Editor, 100% ROCK MAGAZINE

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