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Down on the Street

Down on the Street

by The Stooges

Down on the Street Introduction

Jack White (The White Stripes): "In my mind Fun House is the greatest rock n' roll record ever made" (Paul Trynka, Iggy Pop: Open Up and Bleed, 128).

Kurt Cobain (Nirvana): "Iggy Pop was my total idol." (source)

Mike Watt (The Minutemen): "[Iggy Pop] is timeless and eternal for me. He writes great words and does the best gigs, he makes things jump out and come alive for me. I dig it much." (source)

Thurston Moore (Sonic Youth): "[The Stooges] were the perfect embodiment of what music should be." (source)

These are a few of the literally thousands of artists who cite The Stooges as a major influence on the way they play, perform, write, listen to, and think about music. "Down on the Street" is the opening song from The Stooges' most definitive album, and Iggy Pop calls it his best song ever. Read on to find out why it's such a good introduction to one of the most influential bands of all time.

About the Song

ArtistThe Stooges Musician(s)Dave Alexander (bass), Ron Asheton (guitar), Scott Asheton (drums), Iggy Pop (vocals)
AlbumFun House
Year1970
LabelElektra Records
Writer(s)Dave Alexander, Ron Asheton, Scott Asheton, Jim Osterberg (Iggy Pop)
Producer(s)Don Galucci, (former keyboard player for The Kingsmen)
Learn to play: Tablature
Buy this song: Amazon iTunes
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Shmoop Connections

Explore the ways this song connects with the world and with other topics on Shmoop
The "street" is an important metaphor in poetry, literature, and especially music. Don't get it confused with the "road," another heavily used metaphor in Western culture, which is very, very different. The road leads somewhere, and takes you on a physical and emotional journey, as in Cormac McCarthy's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Road, or Jack Kerouac's On The Road, to name only two. The choice of which road to pursue is also, of course, what "has made all the difference" in Robert Frost's poem "The Road Not Taken."

The street, on the other hand, doesn't take you anywhere. In fact, it's a very different metaphorical setting, with darker and grittier connotations. The street is a scene of urban blight, boredom, poverty, and crime. It's the street, rather than the road, that figures so importantly in Martin Scorsese's Taxi Driver and T.S. Eliot's "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock."

"Down on the Street" by The Stooges is a song that renders this oft-used metaphor particularly dark and strange.

On the Charts

"Down on the Street," from the album Fun House, didn't make a dent in the Billboard Charts when it was released in 1970, but many would argue that the endless stream of shout outs it's gotten from some of the world's most influential rock musicians more than makes up for it.

The album has also received unanimously stellar reviews from contemporary publications and critics, including Robert Christgau, Spin, Pitchfork Media, Q Magazine, and Entertainment Weekly. It received a 5/5 star rating from Allmusic.com, Mojo Magazine, Punknews.org, Uncut Magazine, and more. It has been cited on a ton of "greatest albums ever" lists, including Rolling Stone's in 2003. Perhaps even more awesomely, it was named "Loudest Album Ever" by Q Magazine.

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