April 21, 1947

On this day in 1947, Iggy Pop was born James Newell Osterberg in Muskegon, Michigan.

He was raised in a trailer park just off of U.S. Route 23 in Ypsilanti, Michigan. His mother was an English teacher and his father a baseball coach at Fordson High School in Dearborn, Michigan.

Iggy is a singer-songwriter and front-man for the punk group The Stooges. Considered by many to be one of the pioneers of punk music, he listened rock and roll while growing up. He formed his first band in the early 1960s, went through several bands and musical styles before forming the Psychedelic Stooges in 1967 (later known as The Stooges).

Osterberg became the band’s lead singer and soon renamed himself Iggy Pop. During live performances, Pop is known for his insanely outrageous showmanship, being habitually shirtless, and, by the second song, is covered in his own blood – sometimes from cutting himself in front of the audience or from injuries sustained from headbutting an instrument or another random act of physical endangerment. He started jumping into the crowd from the stage, now known as stage diving.

The Stooges released their first self-titled album in 1969. After the group’s second album, Fun House in 1970, the members of the band had started to struggle with drug abuse, and even though today these records are considered punk classics, they were not selling at the time and the band ultimately fell apart.

Pop met David Bowie in September 1971 and the two became close friends. Bowie took Pop to the U.K. and, by the end of the trip, he was singed to Columbia Records. Bowie helped Pop rebuilt The Stooges, now calling themselves Iggy & the Stooges.

Bowie also produced their third album, Raw Power in 1973. The album was well received but the band broke up again. Pop went on to tour with Bowie several times during the 1970s and released several solo albums, including The Idiot in 1977 and Lust for Life in 1977, with Bowie helping to write and produce those as well.

Pop had his first real taste of mainstream success with his 1986 release Blah Blah Blah; the song ‘Real Wild Child’ was a hit. He went on to release the heavy metal album Instinct in 1988. His next album, Brick by Brick, released in 1990, would include the song ‘Candy’, which reached the Top 30 Billboard chart in 1991.

Pop has continued recording music and performing live. He released Skull Ring in 2003 and Penetration and A Million in Prizes: The Anthology in 2005. Last year, he self-released an album of French pop classics. He also has a new album due out on April 30, titled Ready To Die.

He has married twice and has one son.

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