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Amazing photos of Iggy Pop taken by his girlfriend Esther Friedman from 1976 – 1982

Ian Smith

Iggy Pop born James Newell Osterberg,  is one of the pioneers of punk rock in the U.S.A. Pop is top notch American singer-songwriter, musician, and actor. He is the vocalist of influential proto-punk band The Stooges, who reunited in 2003, and has been known for his outrageous and unpredictable stage antics.

Began calling himself Iggy while working with his first high school band, “The Iguanas.”

Now famous for his crazed behavior in the late 60s and 70s, much of Iggy’s craziness was fueled by his addiction to heroin. Iggy would often mutilate himself, roll around in peanut butter or broken glass, throw himself offstage (and once down a flight of stairs), bend his body like a pretzel, hump his amps, go naked, and insult the audience. Offstage, he did little else other shoot heroin and have promiscuous sex. In the late 70s, he quit heroin to save his own life and lost interest in sleeping around.

Iggy Pop met Esther Friedman while he was living in West Berlin with David Bowie, where the two Rock Stars, were supposed to rehabilitate, after a period of heavy drug use. Esher Friedman was Pop’s girlfriend for seven years. She took this amazing and candid photos of the famous rock star.

Iggy Pop photographed by Esther Friedman (2)

Iggy Pop photographed by Esther Friedman (1)

Iggy Pop photographed by Esther Friedman (3)

Bowie and Pop relocated to West Berlin to wean themselves off their respective drug addictions. In 1977, Pop signed with RCA and Bowie helped write and produce The Idiot and Lust for Life, Pop’s two most acclaimed albums as a solo artist, the latter featuring one of Pop’s best-known songs “The Passenger”. Lust for Life also featured another team of brothers, Hunt and Tony Sales, sons of comedian Soupy Sales. Among the songs Bowie and Pop wrote together were “China Girl”, “Tonight”, and “Sister Midnight”, all of which Bowie performed on his own albums later on (the last being recorded with different lyrics as “Red Money” on the album Lodger). Bowie also played keyboards in Pop’s live performances, some of which are featured on the album TV Eye Live in 1978. In return, Pop contributed backing vocals on Bowie’s Low.

Iggy Pop photographed by Esther Friedman (4)

Iggy Pop photographed by Esther Friedman (5)

Iggy Pop photographed by Esther Friedman (6)

Iggy Pop photographed by Esther Friedman (7)

Iggy Pop photographed by Esther Friedman (8)

After the second breakup of The Stooges, Pop made some recordings with James Williamson, but these were not released until 1977 (as Kill City, credited jointly to Pop and Williamson). Pop was unable to control his drug use and checked himself into a mental institution, UCLA’s neuropsychiatric institute, to try to clean up. Bowie was one of his few visitors there, and he continued to support his friend and collaborator. In 1976, Bowie took him along as his companion on the Station to Station tour. This was Pop’s first exposure to large-scale professional touring and he was impressed, particularly with Bowie’s work rate.

Iggy Pop photographed by Esther Friedman (9)

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