The Stooges classic 'Raw Power' was released on the seventh of February 1973. The game-changer. In 1997 Iggy Pop remixed the album, making it sound like a war of noise and aggression.
Some said there was no need to overhaul the original Bowie mix of this incendiary album, after all, it was that which caused such a huge influence on Punk in the 70s. Probably Pop did do a remix at the request of CBS, more than likely to stop anyone else from doing it.
'Raw Power' is a beautiful album of destruction.
Recorded in the autumn of '72 in London, with a new guitarist in James Williamson. He brought the extra cutting guitar licks into all this. When a suitable rhythm section could not be found, the Asheton brothers were brought back into the frame. Ron, being the original guitarist and core songwriter for the first two Stooges albums, this time switched to bass and the line-up was complete.
Pop produced and mixed the original sessions, but Bowie took the masters to remix them again. Several of the tracks were remixed in one day, another reason why Iggy may have felt in 1997 that he wanted to leave his stamp on it. Willamson and the late Ron Asheton had both publicly stated they preferred Bowie's mix of the album.
All this talk of remixes, does it really make a difference? In this case yes! On Iggy Pop's version, there is a lot more distortion in the mix, especially on the guitar lines, probably down to Pop keeping all the levels in the red and turning them up full for the remix. The noticeable difference is that the Asheton brothers are much more prevalent in the mix, unlike before. Ron proved he was handy enough with the bass, this seems closer to Pop's original vision for the album. Feedback and distortion over the loud mixes are the hallmark of Iggy Pop and The Stooges.
Ironically it was Bowie who pushed to get Pop back on the scene in the early 70s, due to Iggys spiralling heroin problem. What happened with the two gentlemen and their relocation to Berlin in the years that followed makes that effort by Bowie seem a slight contradiction.
Distortion and feedback and talk of remixes to one side, it is Iggy Pop at his finest. His vocal delivery is faultless, snarling, convincing and perhaps his best, from the 'Search And Destroy' opening line:
"I'm a streetwalking cheetah with a heart full of napalm
I'm a runaway son of the nuclear A-bomb"
to the closer -‘Death Trip', all is remarkably well delivered, like the collision of two nuclear warheads.
The argument will always be there surrounding this album. Which is the better version, the true version? That is whichever you personally like the most. The argument is there for both sides, but don't turn the attention away from the fine album it is and what it did for punk- rock, not only in the 70s but in general.
Raw Power (1973 LP Tracklist)
|Search And Destroy||3:26|
|Your Pretty Face Is Going To Hell (Originally Titled "Hard To Beat")||4:52|
|I Need Somebody||4:50|