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c. 1966

Introducing Iggy Pop

Early on he provided rhythm for an outfit called The Iguanas — hence his stage-name.

The young man playing drums in these pictures is James Osterberg Jr. That may not be a name you immediately recognize, and you may also be confused because the gentleman in question has kept his shirt on. Something which his alter-ego — Iggy Pop — rarely does when on-stage.

966: Jimmy Osterberg plays drums with The Prime Movers
Tom Copi/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

But back in 1966, Iggy had yet to appear, and Jimmy (as he is still known to his friends to this day) was still stuck behind the drum kit. Jimmy grew up in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and played drums with a bunch of high school bands. Crucially, he provided rhythm for an outfit called The Iguanas — hence his stage-name.

1969: Iggy on stage with the Stooges, bare chested
Michael Ochs Archive / Getty Images

Jimmy was not just your average drummer, however. His parents wholeheartedly supported all his musical endeavors and gave up the master bedroom in their family trailer so Jimmy could accommodate his drum kit. So committed was he to the beat that he dropped out of college and moved to Chicago to study blues drumming. 

1966: Jimmy Osterberg plays drums with The Prime Movers
Tom Copi/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

The band Jimmy is backing here, in the front yard of a house in Ann Arbor, is The Prime Movers, a blues band. Post-Iggy, The Prime Movers played with Jerry Garcia of The Grateful Dead, the MC5 and even, in San Francisco, opened for Cream. In total, before it split in 1970, 37 people had been members of The Prime Movers. Meanwhile, Jimmy Osterberg Jr. had set aside his drumsticks in 1967 and quit The Prime Movers to form seminal proto-punks The Stooges. He was credited on his first record as “Iggy Stooge.”

1966: Jimmy Osterberg plays drums with The Prime Movers
Tom Copi/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
1966: Jimmy Osterberg plays drums with The Prime Movers
Tom Copi/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
1966: Jimmy Osterberg plays drums with The Prime Movers
Tom Copi/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
1966: Jimmy Osterberg plays drums with The Prime Movers
Tom Copi/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
1966: Jimmy Osterberg plays drums with The Prime Movers
Tom Copi/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
1966: Jimmy Osterberg plays drums with The Prime Movers
Tom Copi/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
1970: Iggy rides the crowd during a concert at Crosley Field, Cincinnati, Ohio
Tom Copi/Michael Ochs Archive/Getty Images


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