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The early 1980s were rough for Iggy Pop (as they were for many people). Addicted to heroin and floundering commercially now a decade on from his Stooges peak, he might have been down for the count had it not been for his patron saint. David Bowie had been there for Pop in the past—supporting him through his struggle with heroin in the 1970s, co-writing and producing Pop’s solo landmarks The Idiot and Lust for Life, and then lining Pop’s pockets by recording his own versions of some of those songs. Now Pop was nearing bottom, but he had a batch of new music (written with ex-Sex Pistols guitarist Steve Jones) and, once again, his old friend was there to help produce and record them. The result was 1986’s Blah-Blah-Blah, a new-wave record with a straight rock sound catchy enough to grace the soundtracks of ‘80s teen movies. Suddenly Iggy was on his way up again, with an all-American greaser look that appeared almost halfway respectable compared to the bleeding anarchy of the ‘70s.
On Nov. 14, 1986, Pop performed at the Ritz in New York City, about three weeks after the release of Blah-Blah-Blah. His set covered the span of his career to that point, with Stooges classics (“I Got a Right,” “Gimme Danger”), solo highs (“Lust for Life,” “China Girl”) and new songs. Let’s watch him to do one of each.
Here’s “Gimme Danger,” from the The Stooges’ 1973 milestone Raw Power.
Here’s “Lust for Life,” Pop’s biggest hit, from 1977’s Lust for Life.
And here’s “Real Wild One,” a bona fide chart hit in late 1986 that folks of a certain vintage will also remember from Adventures in Babysitting.