The Truth About Iggy Pop And David Bowie's Relationship

When David Bowie died on January 10, 2016, Iggy Pop confessed to the New York Times that Bowie had "resurrected" him. They met in 1971, and Bowie produced Raw Power, the third album released by Iggy Pop's band The Stooges. By 1976, though, both were completely addled by their drug addictions — heroin for Iggy Pop, and cocaine for Bowie. After The Stooges fell apart for the second time, due to Pop's abuse of heroin, he entered himself inside a mental institution, and Bowie invited him to tag along on his Isolar tour. They then moved to West Berlin, together, to kick the drugs and revitalize their work. 

While living in West Berlin, sitting on floors because chairs were deemed unnatural, the two musicians traveled to French and German studios to record their albums, with Iggy Pop releasing The Idiot, and Lust for Life, while Bowie composed his famed Berlin Trilogy of Low, Heroes, and Lodger. Each of these albums has attained classic status, and from then on, according to Art-Sheep, the two remained friends.

"Poor Jim, in a way, became a guinea pig"

The first album recorded during this traveling period was Iggy Pop's The Idiot, which now sounds like David Bowie was playing Pop, a fact Bowie would admit later on: "Poor Jim, in a way, became a guinea pig for what I wanted to do with sound. I didn't have the material at the time, and I didn't feel like writing at all. I felt much more like laying back and getting behind someone else's work, so that album was opportune, creatively." This was because, as NME points out, Iggy Pop's solo career was nonexistent, so he could take the risks needed for Bowie to experiment.

While they worked on the song "Nightclubbing," though, the two came to a disagreement. Bowie wanted to replace the Roland synthesizer with a real drummer, while Pop wanted it to stay. Bowie explained he couldn't put out a sound like that, according to U Discover Music. "No," Pop agreed, "but I can." The album exploded, influencing Joy Division, Souxsie and the Banshees, and Nine Inch Nails, prefiguring the Post Punk sound that would emerge in the next couple of years, and letting Bowie experiment further in his own work.

Iggy Pop had learned enough from The Idiot, however, and he recorded his next hit album, Lust for Life, in just eight days, explaining in a later interview "See, Bowie's a hell of a fast guy. I realized I had to be quicker than him — otherwise whose album was it gonna be?" So, both had received their own resurrection.