The Passenger - Iggy Pop
IGGY POP – “THE PASSENGER”
September 25, 1977 Manchester, England
Iggy Pop’s notorious 1977 performance of "The Passenger", as well as the TV interview that caused the controversy and shut down a TV show, is now available for purchase and download on iTunes stores worldwide. Iggy Pop’s appearance on the Manchester-based TV Show, "So It Goes", is a larger-than-life event that has been memorialized in the feature film: 24-Hour Party People. Tony Wilson, an ex-News reporter and future music mogul, created the show for Granada’s regional broadcast as an alternative to the BBC’s Top of the Pops.
From it’s start, the show was under attack for its introductions of surging British bands like The Clash and The Sex Pistols, but it was the Iggy Pop performance and interview that ended the show after two tumultuous years.
In an 1986 New Music Express interview with Tony Smith, he recounted the confrontation with the broadcasters: “They’d had enough of me, and I can’t blame them. My boss said, ‘I don’t need any more guys with horse’s tails sticking out of their asses’."
"When we filmed Iggy (aka James Osterberg) – and a wonderful show it was too – Jimmy had this horse’s tail sticking out of his ass. Plus, in the middle of ‘The Passenger’ he yells out ‘fucking’, as in ‘fucking cars’. So there’s a week’s debate over this one word, right? And I’m screaming 'ART, ART, this is fucking ART'.”
“After this I wanted to film the Pistols’ Anarchy Tour, but someone got cold feet. A memo arrived in the office saying, ‘There will be no mention of the Sex Pistols on this programme for the next month’. Of course I started waving my arms a lot and said, 'I’m leaving, how dare you, etcetera etcetera,' and I find myself hauled up to the big boss, where we came to a stalemate.”
“By the way, the Iggy show was eventually aired, but we had to dub some loud clapping over the ‘fucking’ bit. So we did this, but then somehow we finished ten seconds too early. Everyone’s clapping, the tape rolls on, and over the credits you can hear Jimmy shouting, ‘Clap your fucking hands’.”
This release is one of the more significant artifacts in the archives of music history, and it gets us back to a moment when rock was dangerous, unsettling, and irresistible.
Today, Iggy Pop is recognized as “The Godfather of Punk,” and just about every rock band from the 1990s on has cited him as a major influence. His songs have been covered by bands ranging from REM to Guns ‘N Roses to Duran Duran, and his on-stage persona was credited by Brandon Lee as the source of his look for the movie, The Crow. But there was a time when this was all new, and when a sound emerged from the creative genius of Iggy Pop.
This release of "The Passenger" has been re-mastered from the original film elements, and will feature the complete, un-edited interview between Iggy Pop and Tony Wilson. The video is released under license from ITN Source.