IGGY AND THE STOOGES
I shouldn’t really have to tell anyone about this album, but I’m going to talk about it anyway because this is the 5th anniversary of my music blogging activities, and I always use this date because today was the day I witnessed Iggy and the Stooges perform in Philadelphia in 2007. The original start date of my original music blog is lost to the ether, but it did start in April of 2007 so I adopted this day as the anniversary.
This forthcoming Record Store Day, Columbia is reissuing a special double-vinyl edition of Raw Power to commemorate, with one record containing the original and controversial David Bowie mix that was firt released in 1974, and the second containing Iggy’s equally controversial 1998 remix. Now, there is no doubt that every music lover should have a copy of this album (either store-bought or legally downloaded from someplace like iTunes or Amazon – fuck that torrent shit). If you don’t have a copy, which version should you get? Both versions are in print and easily found.
For those unfamiliar with the situation behind the two mixes: Iggy had already done a final mix of the album in London after the band finished recording there, but either Columbia or his management rejected it (stories vary but I understand it to be the latter) and insisted that it be remixed… preferably by the management’s golden boy, Bowie. Apparently, Bowie’s management didn’t like the idea of Bowie, who was one of the Stooges’s biggest fans, insisting on their handling the Stooges in the first place, so they played some serious mind games with both Iggy and Dave – the aforementioned insistence to Iggy that someone else remix the album or else it wouldn’t come out, and then the same management’s insistence to Bowie, “You foisted this asshole on us, Mr. Bowie – now you can remix his album if you’re such a big supporter of him.”
Bowie’s mix, done in a day in a cheap Hollywood studio, did enable the album to come out… but, probably because of how the mixes sound, they didn’t exactly set the mainstream music world on fire. Not yet anyway… The future members of the Ramones, Sex Pistols, and Clash – and their peers and immediate descendants – would proceed to recover this particular fumble and run with it.
Raw Power first came out on CD around 1989… I have this original CD release, and to be honest, the sound SUCKS. Which is where Iggy come back in. He didn’t like very much how the album first sounded when it was released with Bowie’s mix (probably because of an average at best mastering and pressing job on Columbia’s part at the time), and he hated the original CD even more, stating “It sounded worse when it got to CD.” That, plus the fact that Columbia was releasing the new mix on its reissue label Legacy (Iggy liked it because it was dealing with an important part of the Stooges’s legacy) spurred Iggy to revisit the taps and deliver a mix that lived up to the title.
Not long afterward, a 180gram edition of Raw Power came out using the original Bowie mix… while this was a somewhat disappointing development for me when I bought my copy, it actually made sense to me at the time: the original Bowie mix seemed to be more vinyl-friendly, and more importantly, a new master had been cut for the vinyl version, giving the mix a little more detail and warmth.
Not counting the forthcoming double album reissue and the aforementioned early 2000′s heavy vinyl release (now presumably out of print), the original David Bowie mix is only available on the 2-CD Legacy Edition (released in 2010 and containing on the second disc a live concert from this era and a couple of outtakes) and on a four-disc special edition (same as the Legacy Edition, but with a bunch of other cuts from the same period on the third disc, and a documentary DVD on the fourth disc, plus a reproduction 45 of the Japanese “Raw Power”/”Search and Destroy” 45. Iggy’s remix was issued as a single disc only in 1999. (Why Columbia didn’t include Iggy’s mix on that box set edition in its entirety is beyond me…) Quite honestly, those two CD editions are the best the original Bowie mix is ever going to sound.
But supposing you’ve never heard this album, ever? What version do you get, then? Simply up, go for the Iggy mix (single CD, 1999 copyright date, Iggy quote on the back cover) first. It lives up to the album’s title. If you fall head over heels in love with the album and you get curious, then go for the 2CD Legacy Edition. Or, if you have a turntable, you could wait until Record Store Day next Saturday and get both versions.
Just this one Stooges fan’s opinion.