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This review is from: A Million In Prizes: The Anthology (Audio CD)
Iggy Pop is one of the legendary characters of rock music. Like Ozzy, Alice Cooper and Keith Richards he is one of the great survivors. Indeed he can even give old Keith a run for his money in the most wrinkly living rocker stakes. Iggy and the Stooges have always been the darlings of the critics, especially post punk. The Stooges together with the MC5 and the New York Dolls were usually thought of as the precursers of punk. This is undoubtedly true, although I believe all three of these bands simply weren't ultimately good enough to be classed as truly great (like most punk bands!) and it's not really surprising that they didn't sell in their lifetimes. Of course all three and the subsequent punk movement itself owed a great deal to a much greater and unsuccessful in their lifetime band - the Velvet Underground. The Velvets were much more original and varied and are probably quite rightly regarded as the most influential rock band this side of the Beatles. I would say that The Stooges were actually better than the New York Dolls and the MC5. Indeed, to me the early MC5 are little more than a tuneless row and Iggy is certainly a more distinctive rock singer than the MC5's Rob Tyner, whilst the Dolls, despite having a few good songs, were very inconsistent. However, I do think the Stooges were also thoroughly inconsistent. The first album has three classics: '1969', 'I Wanna Be Your Dog' and 'No Fun' and all are included here. The rest of that album is much weaker and 'We Will Fall' in particular is a ten minute dirge which is waste of vinyl. The second Stooges album 'Fun House' is the one the critics really rave over, but it's too atonal for me - 'L.A. Blues' in particular is just a noise - and understandably that album is only represented by one track on this compilation: 'Down On The Street'. Although two later live versions of 'Fun House' songs - 'TV Eye' and 'Loose' - do feature on the second disc. For me 'Raw Power', the third and final (original) album by the Stooges (now called Iggy and the Stooges) was their best. Once again three tracks are included here: 'Search and Destroy', 'Gimme Danger' and the title track. The Stooges always had great song titles! There are a couple more 'Raw Power' tracks that I would like to have seen included in 'Penetration' and 'I Need Somebody' but I suppose five of that albums eight tracks would have been too much. There are also a few outakes here by Iggy and The Stooges, none of which are as strong as the songs that made the final albums. Some people would argue that you really need to buy 'Fun House' as well, but I think this anthology pretty much covers everything the Stooges did of note.
Moving on to Iggy's solo material there are nine tracks from his two most famous and best albums 'The Idiot' and 'Lust For Life', including such classics as 'China Girl', 'Nightclubbing' and 'The Passenger'.
The quality of the material dips somewhat on the second disc as it cannot be doubted that Iggy was inconsistent and produced a lot of poor albums in the 80's and 90's. Having said that, there is still a pleasing amount of good stuff even on the second disc such as 'Real Wild Child' which always reminded me of Billy Idol.
The sleeve notes by Lenny Kaye and Danny Fields don't really amount to all that much, but there is comprehensive annotation of each song's recording, personnel and original source which is always nice to have on an anthology.
Whilst it is inconsistent this anthology does contain all that was on the previous Iggy compilation 'Nude and Rude', and much, much more. Therefore it is undoubtedly worth buying as it really contains everything of note by this legendary but inconsistent artist.