Hey all, I'm back! I spent the month of October wrapping up my Daily 45 site with a massive 'best of", and was just too wrapped up in that to write here. what used to be the Daily 45 is now the Occasional 45, but the URL has stayed the same.
One of the fun things about collecting 45's is hunting down rarities from bands that are far better known as album acts. Needless to say, these records were usually pressed in VERY limited quantities, and can be very difficult to find! When it comes to a seminal band such as The Stooges, lots of folks are looking for them; it took me a while to track down these discs!
I'll assume that most Bedazzled! readers know most of The Stooges story, so I'll keep the biographical info at a minimum here.
The Stooges debut LP was released in August 1969, and for the most part critics panned it, and it was a slow seller. Of course the primitive grooves found within snowballed over the years and through word of mouth and discovery from every other possible angle over the years, the band became far more famous after the fact. However, Elektra released "I Wanna Be Your Dog" as a 45, and it *did* bubble under the Hot 100 , clocking in at 106 in Billboard Magazine (so it did sell a bit and get some radio play in some markets). The 45 chops off the dramtic intro and launches right into Ron Ashton's classic riff, and the mono mix is VERy powerful stuff. If there's an "anthem" from the group, then it's undoubtedly "I Wanna Be Your Dog"; as I worked for the group for several years, I witnessed firsthand that no matter where in the world this song was performed, pure pandemonium ensued. It took a few years, but this song is a bona fide WORLDWIDE smash!
The French have been enamored of all things Iggy seemingly since the beginning of his career, and this amazingly cool French issue picture sleeve is lovely stuff indeed. The graphic design is spectacular, and it kinda shows that the French branch of Elektra Records "got" the group early on. It's all their; the Stooges (badass) logo, a nice little bio on the back, an alternate group photo from the shoot that yielded the first album cover, and a super cool font for the a-side, "1969". I have many French picture sleeves from the '60's in my collection, and many songs are labelled as "jerk". No, it's not an insult, but shows how popular it was to dance the jerk in France, and the mental picture of a French teenybopper dancing the jerk to her "1969" 45 is quite the mental picture, right? "1969" seems to be a fold down mono mix (stereo turned into "fake" mono), but "Real Cool Time sounds like a dedicated mono mix to my ears. Over course "1969" also became a smash hit when it was used in a widely seen commercial a few years back.
In a fateful move, Elektra records chief Jac Holzman enlisted Don Galluci to produce the Stooges second LP, the immortal Funhouse. Galluci was no stranger to primitive rock n roll, as he played keyboards for The Kingsmen, whose recording of richard Berry's "Louie Louie" was not only a stepping stone sound-wise that led to The Stooges blueprint, but also a track that was infamously covered by the group. Galluci stripped away the baffles and isolation of the studio and created an atmosphere that was more like a live gig. It's normal procedure to seperate instruments and vocals in the studio to get a "clean" sound, which in some cases neuters the (raw) power; Funhouse thumbs its nose to this technique and as a result is one of the greatest sounding, energetic, and downright most ass kicking LP's ever cut to wax. Too bad more rock n roll isn't cut this way. Whoever mastered the (dedicated mono mixes) of "Down On The Street" and "1970" (here re-titled "I Feel Alright (1970)") REALLY got it; this 45 is one of the most incredible sounding records I've ever heard. The volume and clarity are penetrating, and the low end is unbelievable. "Down On The Street" fades out at a snappy 3:10; perhaps I'm biased, but this song has always seemed to me to have hit potential that could have been achieved in 1970; it's catchy, has a driving Motown-like beat, and has lyrics that the kids could relate to. Unfortunately, the album and single tanked commercially, but of course today Funhouse is regarded as an undisputed masterpiece and highly influential. "1970" has no commercial potential whatsoever, but this pummeling, primitive, and downright sexually deviant groove is another one that whips modern day crowds into a frenzy.
The Stooges disintigrated not long after the release of Funhouse, in a haze of drug abuse and lack of commercial success. Before the band imploded, though, Iggy recruited a guitarist into the fold named James Williamson that had developed his own style of guitar playing that was akin to either a machine gun (for his rhythm work) or a razor blade against the strings for his blazing lead guitar work. for a brief period, both Ron Asheton and James Williamson played dual lead guitar for a short tour in 1971. This band was ill fated, but in 1972 (at the insistence of David Bowie), Iggy was on his way to england to be made into a star by Bowie's management team, and Iggy, who is on record as saying that no one understands his music as well as James williamson, insisted that the guitarist was part of the package. Pop-Williamson collaborated on the songs that made up the highly influential and ahead-of-its-time Raw Power LP, and left behind dozens of other songs in various stages of completion in their wake. After numerous auditions, it was decided that the Asheton brothers needed to be their as well, and Scott was back behind the drum kit, and Ron was now on bass. The Asheton brothers were a virtual bulldozer of a rhythm section, but unfortunately, the recording of Raw Power buries the rhythm section, but the fold-down mono mix on the 'Search & Destroy' 45 somehow brings bass and drums a little closer to the surface. Of course, "Search" has also gone on to hit status, and literally became the bluepring for bands such as The Damned, inspiring a whole musical revolution.
'I Got A Right" was one of the songs left behind in the wake of the Raw Power sessions, and the band had even played it at those '71 gigs before the (first) split. Just as punk rock was in its earliest stages of world domination, James Williamson dusted off the tapes and partnered with French fan Phillipe Mogane released this punk masterpiece as a white hot 45, creating a legendary epitaph for The Stooges. Of course the phoenix rose again....