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Although the Detroit-based Stooges were not alone in creating music like this at the close of the 60s, they were the best. It certainly wasn’t fashionable; regressive three-chord rock that looked back to the swamp sound of gritty rhythm and blues, and, in leader Iggy Stooge, they had one of the ultimate non-singers – yet his sheer force of personality wrests control of the record, like it did the group’s fabled live appearances.
The Stooges were signed to the peace-and-love promoting Elektra Records when A&R man Danny Fields caught them in concert as he was signing the MC5. After being forced by label boss Jac Holzman to write more material, The Stooges was produced by John Cale immediately after leaving the Velvet Underground. Cale’s all-faders-open production is one of the most exciting captured on record. This is rock at its most primordial. Ron Asheton’s guitar solo on “I Wanna Be Your Dog” has absolutely nothing to do with virtuoso grandstanding – it’s played as if his whole life depends on it. “No Fun” dispels any notion that the 60s were all about hippie harmony
The Stooges’ debut album is the original punk rock rush on record, a long-held well-kept secret by those in the know. The influence on John Lydon and Mark E. Smith in particular is immense. Rolling Stone said in 1992 that “there’s a finely honed metal-edge to the Stooges' Motor City psychedelia that keeps it from sounded dated.” This is absolutely true; it sounds like it’s been recorded in a garage this very morning. --Daryl Easlea
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