13. The Stooges Raw Power

(Columbia, 1973)

Raw Power is an ugly, grimy and relentlessly bleak record. It is also an incredibly brilliant one.

The Stooges, like their contemporaries The Velvet Underground, were gloriously out of step with the prominent musical and cultural trends of the late 1960s and early 1970s, but their raw, hard rock sound would be hugely influential on the emerging punk rock movement.

On Raw Power, James Williamson’s brutal guitar, brothers Ron and Scott Asheton’s primitive bass and drums, and Iggy Pop’s deranged and sleazy vocals established that the rock underground was alive and well.

The tunes here are uniformly strong, certainly stronger than David Bowie’s notoriously thin production. The barnstorming opener ‘Search And Destroy’, defiantly vulgar ‘Penetration’ and the title track ooze menace and danger.

Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain would write in his journals that Raw Power was his favourite ever record. If you want a dirty and loud rock ‘n’ roll record for your road trip, then follow Cobain’s glowing recommendation and take this one.

Try also: The Stooges Funhouse (Elektra, 1970).