I bought the Iggy Pop anthology ” A Million in Prizes” a few years back. I wanted a good introduction to his career, and I only had the Stooges albums at that point. The only solo song I knew by Iggy was “Lust for Life”, which I loved. I expected most of the set to be hard rock, and in the vein of either “Lust for Life” or the Stooges.
The last thing I expected to hear on this set was electronic, Kraftwerk-inspired, sounding funk. Pop sang into a distorted almost, monotone voice, that recalled little of his Stooges’ days. With any given Stooges song, you felt as if the earth might fall beneath you. Anything could happen. “Sister Midnight” on the other hand, was tied together tightly, and well constructed. Yet, the song gave Iggy enough room to breathe something that was rare in a Stooges’ song. (The only major exception is “We Will Fall”, a slow-burn of a song, but not representative of the band’s output.)
Bowie co-wrote The Idiot (on which “Sister Midnight”appears) with Pop. The Idiot is generally regarded as one of Pop’s best albums, and would have an enormous influence on punk and post-punk. The Edge has cited it as major influence in interviews, and Ian Curtis of Joy Division was found dead with The Idiot spinning on his turn-table.
For Bowie, this collaboration was important in many ways. Having been strung out on coke during the making of his last album, Station to Station, Bowie moved to Berlin with Pop to begin work on The Idiot, and its follow-up Lust for Life, and what would become known for Bowie as the Berlin Trilogy. Taking the helm for The Idiot, allowed Bowie to experiment and find out what sounds he wanted for his own albums. As Bowie himself says about The Idiot:
Poor Jim, in a way, became a guinea pig for what I wanted to do with sound. I didn’t have the material at the time, and I didn’t feel like writing at all. I felt much more like laying back and getting behind someone else’s work, so that album was opportune, creatively.