Today in rock history: on this date in 1977, Michigan native and former Stooges lead singer Iggy Pop released his second solo album, the classic Lust For Life. Following his incredibly unexpected and groundbreaking debut solo album (The Idiot, which was released only five months prior to this one), Pop had begun a brand new chapter of his colorful career. Working with friend and fellow musician David Bowie, Iggy captured a brand new sound and feel while recording in Berlin, Germany. More upbeat and more of a rock album than its darker, moodier predecessor, Lust For Life features Iggy classics like “The Passenger” (later covered and made into a hit by Siouxsie and the Banshees), “Success” and the frantic, rocking, pulsing title track. With production duties being handled by Bowie (along with co-producer Colin Thurston) and some of the songwriting being handled by Bowie as well, the collaboration of these two visionaries resulted in some of the most challenging and highly influential work either one had ever partaken in.
Bowie also toured with Pop at the time as a member of his band although strictly as a keyboardist and not as the focal point at center stage like he was more accustomed to doing. The record sold well and received lots of positive press and reviews but, unfortunately, its success was hampered by the recent death of rock and roll king Elvis Presley upon its release. Presley’s death caused the record label both he and Iggy recorded for, RCA Records, to focus strictly on the mad dash of pressing as many Elvis records as possible to keep up with the demand. As a result, the promotion for Lust For Life suffered and caused it to not perform as well as it could have. Jeff Gold did a beautiful capturing Pop in his latest book, Total Chaos (via Third Man Books).
Today in rock history: on this date in 1958, Michael Joseph Jackson was born in Gary, Indiana. The eighth child born into the Jackson family, Michael and his older musically inclined brothers formed the Jackson 5 in the mid-1960s and became pop superstars almost overnight by having all four of the band's first singles consecutively reach the coveted no. 1 spot on U.S. singles charts. Later, after a stint as The Jacksons, Michael went solo and became the single artist who’d record the best-selling album of all time, 1983’s blockbuster Thriller. Jackson was soon dubbed “The King Of Pop” and continued to sell albums in record numbers right up until his untimely death in 2009 at age 50.
Today in rock history: on this date in 1966, The Beatles performed their very last live concert at San Francisco’s outdoor stadium, Candlestick Park. Although the band would perform live again on the rooftop of the Apple Records building in 1969, this was the last time the band would perform together as a touring act in front of a paying audience.
Today in rock history: on this date in 1989, The Rolling Stones released their twenty-first album in America, Steel Wheels. The album was regarded as a comeback of sorts for the band who’d released a pair of poorly-performing albums throughout the 1980s. The record ushered in the largest and most elaborate world tour the band had embarked on until that point and helped to repair the frayed relationship the two key members of the band, singer Mick Jagger and guitarist Keith Richards, were embroiled in. The album was also the final release on which original bassist Bill Wyman would appear before his departure from the band in 1993. Steel Wheels was a huge success, cracking the Top 10 in just about every major country around the globe while producing four hit singles : “Mixed Emotions,” “Almost Hear You Sigh,” “Rock and a Hard Place” and “Terrifying.”