The Raw Power in “Raw Power”: The Ultimate Proto-Punk adventure by Iggy and The Stooges

Revisiting the historical 1973 album produced by David Bowie and Iggy Pop

The Raw Power in “Raw Power”: The Ultimate Proto-Punk adventure by Iggy and The Stooges

“Raw Power” is the ultimate definition of Proto-Punk Rock. This Stooges classic was released on February 7, 1973, and became quickly one of the main catalysts for the Punk Rock era to come. The songs are good, and the production, by Iggy Pop and his best buddy back then, David Bowie himself, gives that touch of Glam Rock that is just enough to blend in naturally with the roughness of the guitars and crude vocals. “Search And Destroy” is one of the best Rock songs ever, there’s no before on this song, there’s no other song to be compared to, the way Punk Rock should sound, no more, no less. “Gimme Danger”, reminiscent of The Stooges 1969 debut album featuring the perfect acoustic guitar contrasting with the lyrical violence of the song, “Your Pretty Face Is Going To Hell”, it’s classic Stooges Punk and what can be more Punk than this “menacing” title? “Penetration” features a Psychedelic touch that the band tried to emulate during their early songs (after all, Iggy and Bowie were the product of the Psychedelic 1960’s that they generously shaped into a new form of music during the 1970’s). “Raw Power”, the long lyrical electrical poem that features one of the most famous and repeated lines in Punk Rock history: “Raw Power Raw Power Raw Power Raw Power”. “I Need Somebody” can be best defined as Acid Blues, sharp and straight to the point. In “Shake Appeal”, we can listen to David Bowie’s ears all over this song, (this was the period Bowie was also making “Aladdin Sane” that featured songs such as “Cracked Actor” and “Panic In Detroit”). The album closes with “Death Trip”, classic Iggy and The Stooges, raw, crude, fast, involving. “Raw Power” is not only a Punk Rock reference, it’s a historical album that influenced many generations of Rock musicians such as Kurt Cobain from Nirvana, that listed it as his favorite album of all time. David Bowie and Iggy Pop always worked well together, their formula always worked, being during this Proto-Punk/Glam Rock period of the early 70’s or during their Berlin experimental trip of the late 70’s. The cover of “Raw Power” became also one of the most iconic images ever, the shirtless Iggy Pop holding his microphone stand, makeup on his face, that indispensable touch of Glam, in a photo taken by Mick Rock (who also shot a lot of the Bowie photos taken during that period). “Raw Power” it’s an album that will not disappoint you, it’s going to be exactly what you expect it to be. As the song goes: “Raw power, it’s more than soul / Got a son called rock and roll / Raw power, honey, just won’t quit / Raw power, I can feel it / Raw power, honey, can’t be beat”

Side 1
1 “Search and Destroy”
2 “Gimme Danger”
3 “Your Pretty Face Is Going to Hell”
4 “Penetration”

Side 2
6 “Raw Power”
7 “I Need Somebody”
8 “Shake Appeal”
9 “Death Trip”

Iggy Pop: lead vocals, celesta on “Penetration”
James Williamson: guitar
Ron Asheton: bass guitar, backing vocals
Scott Asheton: drums
David Bowie: piano, percussion

Produced and Mixed by: Iggy Pop and David Bowie
Executive Production:Bruce Dickinson (on 1997 reissue)
Recorded during: 1975–1977
Released: September 10–October 6, 1972 at CBS Studios, Whitfield Street, London
Label: Columbia

Strongest tracks:
Search and Destroy”, “Gimme Danger”, “Penetration”, “Raw Power”, “I Need Somebody”, “Death Trip”

Watch some footage from 1972 of The Stooges live backed by “Search And Destroy”

Listen to the album “Raw Power” on Spotify

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David Warren

David Warren is editor and author for Pop Expresso reach out at

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