Tuesday Night Music Byte
Lynnrockets recently watched the film Julie & Julia about a thirty year old New Yorker who decided to cook every dish in one of Julia Childs’ cookbooks and to blog about it. It was a novel idea so we decided to copy it. No, we will not be cooking in the usual sense (that could start a fire). Rather, we will adapt the recipe a day concept to our nightly music bytes. From now to infinity (didn’t somebody else coin that phrase?) we will post a music video and brief description of the artist or song in a sort of alphabetical order as culled from Tom Moon’s wonderful reference book, 1,000 Recordings To Hear Before You Die (A Listener’s Life List). The book describes both whole albums (remember those) and individual songs from all music genres that are essential listening. Do yourselves a favor and purchase this book. Where the book deals with an individual song, we will post that song, but when an entire album is the subject, we will exercise judicial discretion and post a single song therefrom. So what do you say, let’s get cooking…
Iggy Pop and the Stooges Raw Power – “Search and Destroy” (1973)
This album, the third from Detroit rockers Iggy Pop and the Stooges, was released in 1973. Hardly a commercial success at the time, it has nonetheless, had an extraordinarily active afterlife. It was a primary inspiration for the punk rockers in London and New York who were just starting to make noise in 1975 and the West coast punks who followed a few years later.
The album has curious origin stories. Plagued by various addictions, the Stooges lapsed into an extended limbo after the band’s second album, Funhouse, flopped in 1970. David Bowie, then flying high in his Ziggy Stardust guise, encouraged Iggy Pop to try again. Pop-known to New York Times readers as Mr. Pop and to his mom as James Newell Osterberg-agreed to a deal brokered by Bowie, which gave the star control over the final product. (Bowie mixed most of the album, attempting to correct what he heard as sonic flaws; Pop did the wilder mix on “Search and Destroy”).
To most rock ears, the initial version was plenty edgy for a rock record in 1973-its torrents of distorted buzzsaw guitar, from newest Stooge James Williamson, proved the perfect counterpoint to Pop’s howling, proudly lewd declarations. But Pop and the Stooges knew that the original tracks held more sonic mayhem – elements Bowie’s mix didn’t exactly optimize. Fans of the record knew it too, as bootlegged versions of pop’s original mixes circulated widely.
So, when Columbia invited Pop to remix Raw Power in 1997, he seized the chance to right an old wrong. Sure enough, the new version expands the smudgy guitar distortion into an enveloping roar, and ramps up the rhythm section so that even when it is playing things straight, on a genius song like “Shake Appeal”, it sounds like it’s blowing rock convention to bits. This, of course, was Pop’s guiding vision all along – music so brutal, it carries a physical jolt. Mission accomplished, Mr. Pop.
“Search and Destroy”