Greatest Songs, #438: “I Wanna Be Your Dog” by The Stooges

Album: The Stooges (Elektra Records)
Year: 1969
Written by: Dave Alexander, Ron Asheton, Scott Asheton, & Iggy Pop

 From Rolling Stone:

These Detroit punks tapped into the brutal side of the blues for this primitive classic. They also give a one-note piano tribute to the Kinks‘ “You Really Got Me.” Over the ultimate bone-crunching three-chord guitar riff, Iggy Pop screams about the agony of teenage hormones the way only Iggy Pop can.

From Wikipedia:

Its memorable riff, composed of only three chords (G, F# and E), is played continuously throughout the song (excepting a brief 4-bar bridge). The 3-minute-and-9-second long song, with its raucous, distortion-heavy guitar intro, pounding, single-note piano riff played by producer John Cale and steady, driving beat, is a canonical example of The Stooges‘ heavy metal and punk sound.

From allmusic, reviewing the album:

While the Stooges had a few obvious points of influence — the swagger of the early Rolling Stones, the horny pound of the Troggs, the fuzztone sneer of a thousand teenage garage bands, and the Velvet Underground‘s experimental eagerness to leap into the void — they didn’t really sound like anyone else around when their first album hit the streets in 1969. It’s hard to say if Ron Asheton, Scott Asheton, Dave Alexander, and the man then known as Iggy Stooge were capable of making anything more sophisticated than this, but if they were, they weren’t letting on, and the best moments of this record document the blithering inarticulate fury of the post-adolescent id. Ron Asheton’s guitar runs (fortified with bracing use of fuzztone and wah-wah) are so brutal and concise they achieve a naïve genius, while Scott Asheton’s proto-Bo Diddley drums and Dave Alexander’s solid bass stomp these tunes into submission with a force that inspires awe. And Iggy’s vividly blank vocals fill the “so what?” shrug of a thousand teenagers with a wealth of palpable arrogance and wondrous confusion. One of the problems with being a trailblazing pioneer is making yourself understood to others, and while John Cale seemed sympathetic to what the band was doing, he didn’t appear to quite get it, and as a result he made a physically powerful band sound a bit sluggish on tape.

From Pitchfork Media, reviewing the album:

James Osterburg was a man you might not look at twice on the street. Iggy Pop was his animal soul, and when Iggy got loose on a stage just about anything could happen. With the Stooges he was the mesmerizing center of a maelstrom that helped to invent a whole host of rock’s musical clichés, a group that spun primal fury and young adult frustration into some of the ugliest, most brutal, most alive music of its era.

There were other subversive, confrontational rock acts before the Stooges…but nobody before them had the good sense to take it as far over the top as they did. Even the band’s sturdiest compositions have a feeling of instability about them, like they might collapse or fly asunder at any moment, and there are moments when Iggy can’t help screaming and grunting as if he’s trying to challenge Ron Asheton’s guitar to some nihilistic duel. In the middle of the hippie era, their grimy, depraved, and violent take on love and life had no natural place, which is perhaps why it holds up so well.