Fifty Years Ago This Month in Music - Part 2 (February 1973) | Norm Rosenfield
Iggy and The Stooges - Raw Power
This is the Stooges third album, and it's a vibrant slab of proto punk. The sound quality is garbage compared to contemporary production standards, but that just adds to its primal grunginess. Recently remastered by Columbia/Legacy with significant results, it warrants a new listen and evaluation. The new version aggressively jumps out of your speakers (or earbuds), now that fifty years of sonic grime have successfully been stripped off.
Foreshadowing the punk movement that would emerge a few years later, Raw Power comes out of the same gene pool that would spawn the Sex Pistols, Ramones, Clash, and Television. It predates Alice Cooper’s Billion Dollar Babies by one month, and David Bowie’s Aladdin Sane by two. Bowie actually produced Raw Power.
A listener hears distorted guitars, dissonant harmonics, screaming banshee vocals, and pounding eighth notes (think head banging). Every song vaguely reminds a person of another great song that would emerge a bit further down the road.
Raw Power pioneers a recipe - that would become a popular format going forward - of mixing taboo topics, herky jerky rhythms, and sloppy fuzzy guitars. “Shake Appeal” stacks up nicely with Nirvana, the Knack, or the Replacements. Almost every track barks and bites like a dog off his leash.
With this 2023 remaster, Iggy and The Stooges’s Raw Power can take its place alongside the landmark punk rock albums of the 1970s.