Lust for Life (Iggy Pop album)

Lust for Life is the second solo album by American musician Iggy Pop, released on August 29, 1977 by RCA Records. It was his second collaboration with David Bowie after The Idiot, released earlier in the year. The album achieved critical acclaim and became Pop's most commercially successful album to date; it also remains his only gold-certified release in the United Kingdom.

Lust for Life
Studio album by
ReleasedAugust 29, 1977 (1977-08-29)
RecordedApril–June 1977
StudioHansa Studio by the Wall, West Berlin
LabelRCA Records
Iggy Pop chronology
The Idiot
Lust for Life
Kill City
Singles from Lust for Life
  1. "Success" / "The Passenger"
    Released: 30 September 1977
  2. "Lust for Life" / "Success"
    Released: November 1977
  3. "Some Weird Sin" / "Tonight"
    Released: 1977[citation needed]


The Lust for Life sessions took place soon after the completion of a concert tour in support of The Idiot, the tour ending on 16 April 1977.[4][5] Pop has stated, "David and I had determined that we would record that album very quickly, which we wrote, recorded, and mixed in eight days, and because we had done it so quickly, we had a lot of money left over from the advance, which we split."[6] The singer slept little during its making, commenting "See, Bowie's a hell of a fast guy ... I realized I had to be quicker than him, otherwise whose album was it gonna be?"[4] Pop prepared only fragments of lyrics before singing, and essentially improvised at the microphone. This spontaneous lyrical method inspired Bowie to improvise his own words on his next project, "Heroes".[5]

Bowie, Pop and engineer Colin Thurston produced Lust for Life under the pseudonym "Bewlay Bros.", named after the final track on Bowie's 1971 album Hunky Dory.[4] The recording was made at Hansa Studio by the Wall in Berlin and featured Ricky Gardiner and Carlos Alomar on guitars with Hunt and Tony Sales on drums and bass, respectively. With Bowie on keyboards and backing vocals, the team included three-quarters of the future Tin Machine line-up;[4] the Sales brothers' "gale-force" contribution to this album led Bowie to invite them to join his new band twelve years later ("Check out Lust for Life," he told guitarist Reeves Gabrels, "I've found the rhythm section!").[7] The sleeve photo was taken by Andy Kent, who also shot the cover for The Idiot.[4]

Music and themesEdit

Lust for Life is generally considered to be more of an Iggy Pop record than the Bowie-dominated The Idiot, being less experimental and having more of a rock and roll flavor.[8][9][1] However, some of its themes were similarly dark, as in "The Passenger", cited by NME editors Roy Carr and Charles Shaar Murray as one of Pop's "most haunting" tracks,[8] and "Tonight" and "Turn Blue", both of which dealt with heroin abuse.[10] In contrast were more upbeat songs such as "Success" and "Lust for Life", the latter of which described by Rolling Stone as Pop's "survivor message to the masses".[1][11][12]

According to Pop, Bowie's celebrated riff on "Lust for Life" was inspired by the morse code opening to the American Forces Network News in Berlin.[13] At various points in the song, the melody is doubled by the entire band; in Carlos Alomar's words, "You can't play a counter-rhythm to that, you just had to follow".[5][14] Joy Division and New Order drummer Stephen Morris declared, "On Lust for Life the drums sound not huge but massive! The loudest cymbals known to man, that riff! I wanted to sound like that, still do."[9]

"The Passenger" was inspired by a Jim Morrison poem that saw "modern life as a journey by car", as well as rides on the Berlin S-Bahn, according to Pop's former girlfriend Esther Friedmann.[15][16] The lyrics have also been interpreted as "Iggy's knowing commentary on Bowie's cultural vampirism".[9] The music, a "laid-back ... springy groove", was composed by guitarist Ricky Gardiner.[17] It was released as the B-side of the album's first single "Success". Characterized by AllMusic as "a glorious throwaway" and by Rolling Stone as "an infectious throwaway", "Success" was a light-hearted track of the call and response variety.[12][18]

At just under seven minutes, "Turn Blue", the longest song on the album, was a sprawling confessional that dated back to an abortive recording session by Bowie and Pop in May 1975, when the latter was in the depths of his drug addiction. Originally titled "Moving On", it was composed by Bowie, Pop, Walter Lacey, and Warren Peace.[11][19] It was the only set of lyrics that did not appear on the original vinyl record sleeve. The album's remaining tracks included "Sixteen", the only piece written entirely by Iggy Pop, "Some Weird Sin", a hard rock number featuring a "lost-boy lyric",[20] the "neo-punk" "Neighborhood Threat",[1] and "Fall in Love with Me", which grew from an impromptu jam by the band to which Pop composed lyrics apparently evoking his then-girlfriend Esther Friedmann.[5]


Original editionEdit

"Success", backed with "The Passenger", was released on 30 September 1977 as a single from the album.[8]

2020 Deluxe editionEdit

On April 10, 2020, Pop released an alternate mix of his hit song "China Girl" as part of the forthcoming release on May 29 of The Bowie Years, a new seven-disc Deluxe box set due to feature expanded remastered versions of his David Bowie-produced albums The Idiot and Lust for Life, both originally released in 1977. The box set is due to include remastered versions of both 1977 studio projects along with outtakes, alternate mixes and a 40-page book. As well, the two original albums are due to be paired with an additional album of live material to create separate stand-alone two-disc Deluxe editions.[21]


Critical receptionEdit

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic     [1]
Blender     [22]
Chicago Tribune    [23]
Christgau's Record GuideA–[24]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music     [25]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide     [26]
The Village VoiceA−[27]

Rolling Stone's contemporary review considered that "purely on its own terms, Lust for Life is a successful album", but complained that Pop's "new stance is so utterly unchallenging and cautious".[12]


Lust for Life reached number 28 on the UK Albums Chart, making it Pop's second highest-performing release in that country after 2016's Post Pop Depression.[28] Initially the album sold well in the US but the death of Elvis Presley caused RCA to quickly reissue Presley's catalogue and any promotional focus for Pop's album was lost.[5] It eventually performed well in the United States, although it only reached number 120 on the Billboard charts at the time of release.

Covers and live versionsEdit

"Lust for Life" and "Sixteen" appeared the following year on the live set TV Eye. Bowie covered "Tonight" (minus the opening lines referencing drugs) with Tina Turner, along with "Neighborhood Threat", on his 1984 release Tonight. Siouxsie and the Banshees recorded a cover of "The Passenger" with brass instruments on their 1987 album Through the Looking Glass. Pop praised it commmenting: "she threw a little note in when she sings it, that I wish I had thought of, it's kind of improved it [...] The horn thing is good."[29] "The Passenger" has also been performed by Nick Cave, R.E.M., Bauhaus, The Lunachicks, Michael Hutchence (on the Batman Forever soundtrack), amongst others (Brazilian band Capital Inicial has recorded a version in Portuguese which is called "O Passageiro"). Duran Duran covered "Success" on the favorites collection Thank You. "Lust for Life" has been played by artists including Yo La Tengo, The Damned, The Smithereens, Tom Jones and The Pretenders, and David Bowie live, and is used as bumper music on The Jim Rome Show; it is also used as the theme music for the ongoing advertising campaign for Royal Caribbean International. Its distinctive riff is commonly cited as inspiring Australian band Jet for their song "Are You Gonna Be My Girl",[30][31] while the drum riff was sampled by Welsh band Manic Street Preachers for the outro of their song "You Love Us" and by Scottish band Travis for the intro to their single "Selfish Jean". The main riff was interpolated into the break section of "What Is Happening" by Alphabeat.

Track listingEdit

All lyrics are written by Iggy Pop except "Turn Blue" by Pop and Walter Lacey; music composers are listed below.

Side one
No.TitleMusic composer(s)Length
1."Lust for Life"David Bowie5:13
3."Some Weird Sin"Bowie3:42
4."The Passenger"Ricky Gardiner4:44
Side two
No.TitleMusic composer(s)Length
6."Success"Bowie, Gardiner4:25
7."Turn Blue"Bowie, Warren Peace6:56
8."Neighborhood Threat"Bowie, Gardiner3:25
9."Fall in Love with Me"Bowie, Hunt Sales, Tony Sales6:30



  1. ^ a b c d e Deming, Mark. "Lust for Life - Iggy Pop | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic.
  2. ^ Wilkinson, Matt (11 March 2016). "Iggy Pop - 'Post Pop Depression' - The NME Verdict". NME. Retrieved 1 August 2016.
  3. ^ "Gig Highlight: Iggy Pop". Totally Stockholm. 4 May 2016. Retrieved 26 January 2020.
  4. ^ a b c d e Nicholas Pegg (2000). The Complete David Bowie: pp. 383–384
  5. ^ a b c d e Paul Trynka (2007). Iggy Pop: Open Up and Bleed: pp. 263–272
  6. ^ Joe Ambrose (2004). Gimme Danger: The Story of Iggy Pop: p.173
  7. ^ David Buckley (1999). Strange Fascination - David Bowie: The Definitive Story: p.451
  8. ^ a b c Roy Carr & Charles Shaar Murray (1981). Bowie: An Illustrated Record: p.118
  9. ^ a b c Joe Ambrose (2004). Op Cit: pp. 185–186
  10. ^ Joe Ambrose Gimme Danger: The Story Of Iggy Pop 2007 "two other songs 'Drink To Me' and 'Turn Blue' which, with a new lyric, featured on Iggy's 1977 solo tour and in much altered form on Lust For Life"
  11. ^ a b Allmusic song review: "Turn Blue"
  12. ^ a b c Billy Altman (12 January 1978). "Lust for Life". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 20 April 2008.
  13. ^ Nicholas Pegg (2000). Op Cit: p.137
  14. ^ Allmusic song review: "Lust for Life"
  15. ^ Nicholas Pegg (2000). Op Cit: p.160
  16. ^ "S-Bahn brachte Iggy Pop auf "The Passenger"". Die Welt. 21 February 2013.
  17. ^ Allmusic song review: "The Passenger"
  18. ^ Allmusic song review: "Success"
  19. ^ Nicholas Pegg (2000). Op Cit: p.223
  20. ^ Allmusic review: "Some Weird Sin"
  21. ^ Ultimate Classic Rock > Iggy Pop Box Set to Focus on First Two David Bowie-Produced LPs (by Nick Deriso, April 10, 2020)
  22. ^ Smith, RJ (September 2004). "Iggy Pop: Lust for Life". Blender. Archived from the original on June 30, 2006. Retrieved 11 August 2016.
  23. ^ Kot, Greg (22 July 1990). "Pop On Pop: Iggy Rates His Own Music (and So Do We)". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 11 August 2016.
  24. ^ Christgau, Robert (1981). "Consumer Guide '70s: P". Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies. Ticknor & Fields. ISBN 089919026X. Retrieved March 10, 2019 – via
  25. ^ Larkin, Colin (2011). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th concise ed.). Omnibus Press. ISBN 0-85712-595-8.
  26. ^ Coleman, Mark; Kemp, Rob (2004). "Iggy Pop". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian (eds.). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. pp. 645–46. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  27. ^ Christgau, Robert (3 October 1977). "Christgau's Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. Retrieved 11 August 2016.
  28. ^ Paul Trynka (2007). Op Cit: pp. 417–426
  29. ^ "120 Minutes" Iggy Pop interview. MTV. June 1990. Excerpt about Siouxsie and the Banshees' version of The Passenger from 08:38
  30. ^ Jenny Eliscu (8 April 2004). "Jet's High Times". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on December 2, 2006.
  31. ^ single review Archived 2007-08-06 at the Wayback Machine