Study Guide

Down on the Street Introduction

Down on the Street Introduction

In a Nutshell

White Stripes frontman Jack White professed, "In my mind, Fun House is the greatest rock n' roll record ever made. I'll always feel that." (Source)

Kurt Cobain of Nirvana reminisced, "Iggy Pop, he was my total idol." (Source)

Mike Watt of the Minutemen said, "[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)

And Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth claimed, "[The Stooges] were the perfect embodiment of what music should be." (Source)

These are just a few of the 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, Fun House, and its often heralded as the Stooges' and Iggy's most "super killer jams."

About the Song

ArtistStooges, The
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)
Musician(s)Dave Alexander (bass), Ron Asheton (guitar), Scott Asheton (drums), Iggy Pop (vocals)
Learn to playGuitar
AlbumFun House

Music Video

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Influences on Stooges, The

Paul Butterfield Blues Band
John Lee Hooker
The Rolling Stones
Muddy Waters
The Doors
The Velvet Underground
The Kingsmen
The Kinks
Chuck Berry
Them
The Trashmen

Influenced by Stooges, The

The Minutemen
My Chemical Romance
Sonic Youth
The White Stripes
The Strokes
The Hives
Black Flag
Nirvana
The Ramones
The Clash
The Sex Pistols
The Dead Boys
The Red Hot Chili Peppers
David Bowie
The Fall
Green Day
Pearl Jam
Nine Inch Nails
Jane's Addiction
Nick Cave

Down on the Street Resources

Books

Richard Adams, The Complete Iggy Pop (2006)
Essentially a discography in book form, The Complete Iggy Pop designates at least a paragraph to every song by the Stooges and Iggy Pop, from 1969's The Stooges to 2005's Skull Ring.

Joe Ambrose, Gimme Danger: The Story of Iggy Pop (2009)
This thorough biography does a great job of focusing on Iggy's complex character, complete with great interviews.

Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain, Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk (1996)
Nothing will bring Iggy and the Stooges to life like this oral history of punk music, culled from hundreds of interviews with the people who lived through it.

Iggy Pop and Jeff Gold, Total Chaos: The Story of the Stooges (2016)
Straight from Iggy himself, this book has gotten great reviews for its fresh interviews, photos, and never-before-heard stories of the Stooges.

Paul Trynka, Iggy Pop: Open Up and Bleed (2007)
There's no shortage of books on Iggy Pop, but this one is particularly passionate and comprehensive. It shows great insight into what made Iggy such a powerful figure.

Albums

The Stooges (1969)
Produced by John Cale of the Velvet Underground, the Stooges' eponymous debut is deliberately and deliciously lame-brained, the side of VU that never really developed. It peaked at 106 on the Billboard album charts, but was listed at #185 on Rolling Stone's "500 Greatest Albums of All Time" list.

Fun House (1970)
Though all three of the Stooges records are essential for fans, Fun House perhaps shows best what the Stooges and Iggy brought to the table in terms of attitude, aesthetic, and sheer ferocity. "Down on the Street" is the opening song.

Raw Power (1973)
Released under the name Iggy and the Stooges, as opposed to just the Stooges, which no doubt created tension in the band, this is their last album until 2007's reunion with The Weirdness. The Stooges would later omit these songs from their live repertoire, feeling they didn't represent the real band. Still, Raw Power is arguably the Stooges album that had the biggest influence on what would become punk rock, cited by such notable punk rockers as Steve Jones of the Sex Pistols, Kurt Cobain of Nirvana, and Henry Rollins of Black Flag, who even has the name of one of its songs, "Search and Destroy," tattooed across his back.

Lust for Life (1977)
Iggy Pop's second solo album and second collaboration with David Bowie as producer boasts classics like "Lust for Life" and "The Passenger," songs whose riffs will ring only too familiar for fans of contemporary garage rock bands that derived their sounds from them.

Images

The Stooges
The Stooges were a bunch of bad dudes. Just look at these surly faces from the photo shoot for their first album.

Iggy Pop
Iggy was famous for his on-stage antics.

The Famous Crowd-Walking Photo
Here's Iggy Pop supported by fans at the Cincinnati Pop Festival in 1970.

Iggy Pop and David Bowie
Bowie was a great friend to Iggy during their careers.

Websites

Iggy and the Stooges' Official Site
Founding bassist Dave Alexander died of a pulmonary edema from alcoholism in 1975 at the age of 27. Brothers Ron and Scott Asheton died in 2009 and 2014, respectively, pretty much ending the dwindling, on-and-off career of the Stooges. But here, you can catch merch, news, videos, and more of the punk band.

David Fricke, "Iggy Pop: The Rolling Stone Interview," Rolling Stone (2007)
Iggy Pop answers questions about his childhood, drug use, and appropriate lyrics when you're 60 and still rocking.

Jon Pareles, "Iggy Pop on David Bowie: 'He Resurrected Me,'" The New York Times (2016)
Following David Bowie's 2016 death, Iggy Pop gave a great interview honoring his friend who'd been with him through thick and thin.

Video & Audio

"Down on the Street"
This can't be said for many tracks, but the studio version of this song packs almost as much punch and raw power as a concert version might.

CBC's 90 Minutes Live Interview (1977)
Here's an interview on Canadian television in which Iggy, at his most arrogant, confronts the term "punk" and his self-mutilation, proclaims himself a genius, and says that what he does on stage has no purpose.

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