The Stooges – Raw Power – YES

I don’t listen to the Stooges that often any more. I have never spent much time with Iggy’s solo work. I’m currently reading a book on the Stooges (a pretty damn average book, but the subject matter carries it).

I have this theory. One sign of a truly great band is – if you were to get a big group of their fans together in a room – there’d be a massive debate over which of their first three or four albums were the best. Each one has significant merit, they may be different, fans might like them all, but some people will swear the first, others the second, etc.

Manic Street Preachers, Pet Shop Boys, Stooges, Stranglers, Velvet Underground spring to mind. (I accept Stranglers is a controversial one, and maybe the numbers of people like me who are massive Gold Against The Soul fans is pretty limited. And VU fans perhaps do gravitate towatds the first one much more than they – in my factually correct opinion – should.)

Contrast this with a band like Oasis where every single person on the planet agrees that Definitely Maybe was great, but beyond that they really aren’t worth 4 seconds of anyone’s time.

Or a band like Radiohead – clearly the first album was crap, and everyone knows that a band’s first album is up there amongst the best stuff they will ever do, thus proving conclusively that I am right not to have a clue what Radiohead have released over the last 24 or whatever years because by definition it must be shit.

Anyway, Stooges. Back in the day, before I bought Raw Power, I was a Fun House kinda guy. I really don’t much like brass on records (hence why I pretty much take the view that jazz is shit) / (Snuff being an obvious exception) but the album has a groove that I really like.

The Stooges was a great debut, maybe more influential than Fun House, but perhaps that’s because The Stooges is a basic template for how things could be for years to come, whereas Fun House was a more fully realised work of genius. But if you reckon The Stooges was better, fair play, can’t argue.

Then you get to Raw Power.

I believe in the (Raw) Power of rock n roll. But when it comes down to it how much decent rock n roll has ever been made?

WTF even is RnR? Take the wiki definition, continue through Satisfaction and Helter Skelter, Raw Power, Sex Pistols, Clash, Guns n Roses… get much beyond that and it has to fall into a myriad of sub-genres which might carry the spirit, but it ain’t RnR.

Clearly all RnR pre-Statisfaction was shit. Satisfaction ain’t all that. Raw Power was fucking genius, Sex Pistols were brilliant, but not for the music, Clash were what the Sex Pistols could have been if the Pistols had been as far up their own arses as their manager was up his, then you get to Guns n Roses who were alright for about 5 minutes, not that I noticed at the time.

In other words Raw Power is, basically, the only rock n roll record worth listening to. Period. Absolute genius, start to finish. I agree with Heylin – they’d become a tradtional band by then. That’s a tad harsh, they were still influential in the history of punk, they were still interesting, but they were not ground-breaking any longer = they were just doing it better than anyone was doing it before or since. My head says Fun House, The Stooges, Raw Power, in that order (or in date order). My head likes things to be groundbreaking and interesting. But I just can’t do it. I fucking love RnR and there’s only one RnR record worth sticking on, that’s it, Raw Power,and however fucking great the other two were, and however much more interesting they were, they were not Raw Power.

[This post might overlook some Rolling Stones stuff from the 70s, but if it does, fuck it. Those stupid lips and that stupid “Taxman” song, fuck ’em.]


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