Iggy Pop’s Lust for Life Song Meaning

Iggy Pop’s most commercially successful and critically acclaimed album was Lust for Life, which he recorded with David Bowie in 1977.

Earlier on the pages of Blimey an article was published about how the song The Passenger from this disc was born, and now we will talk about the history of the creation of the title track.

The history and meaning of the song Lust for Life – Iggy Pop

Iggy wrote it with Bowie. He wrote the lyrics and David wrote the music.

In an interview with Q magazine, Pop said that they were inspired by their American Military Information Service (AFN) call signs:

Once a week, Starsky & Hutch aired on the Armed Forces Network, which was our little ritual to watch. When AFN went on the air, a radio tower banner would play and the beep-beep-beep, beep-beep-ba-beep signal sounded. And we thought, “Yeah, we’re taking this!” David grabbed a ukulele, concocted the chords, and it went.

“Q”, April 2013

The name “Lust for Life” was borrowed from the film of the same name, based on Irving Stone’s novel about the life of Vincent van Gogh. The song is about Iggy Pop’s crazy lifestyle, which was full of drugs, alcohol, and much more.

It is believed that some lines of the lyrics of the song Lust for Life refer the listener to the novel “The Ticket That Bursted” by William Burroughs. Allegedly, the phrase about hypnotized chickens was taken from there, as well as the image of Johnny Yen. On the other hand, Ray Manzarek and Danny Sugarman of The Doors claimed that Iggy was referring to a mutual acquaintance, a drug dealer nicknamed “Johnny Gypsy”, who came to visit them on Wonderland Avenue with heroin and dildos (which is apparently what is hiding behind the “flesh machine”).

Release and achievements

Lust for Life became the title track of Iggy Pop’s 1977 album. Then it did not hit the charts, but over time it turned into one of the most famous compositions of the “grandfather of punk rock”. Rolling Stone magazine included it in their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

In 1996, Lust for Life sounded in the movie Trainspotting (“Trainspotting”), after which there was a new wave of interest in the song. It was again released as a single and peaked at number 26 on the UK Singles Chart.

Lust for Life has been covered by Motley Crue, Tom Jones, Henley Kay and even Bruce Willis (for the Rugrats Go Wild cartoon).

Interesting Facts

  • Danny Sugarman has stated that the Lust for Life riff was “ripped off” from The Doors’ Touch Me.
  • The famous drum part that begins Lust for Life was used in the songs You Can’t Hurry Love The Supremes and I’m Ready For Love Martha and the Vandellas back in the sixties.
  • Despite the theme of the song Lust for Life, it is often used in commercials even by large and reputable companies. Lines about drugs and alcohol are usually dropped or replaced.

Lust for Life Lyrics

Here comes Johnny Yen again
With the liquor and drugs
And the flesh machine
He’s gonna do another striptease
Hey man where’d you get
That lotion? I’ve been hurting
Since I bought the gimmick
About something called love
Yeah something called love
That’s like hypnotizing chickens
Well I am just a modern guy
Of course I’ve had it in the ear before
‘Cause of a lust for life
‘Cause of a lust for life

I’m worth a million in prizes
With my torture film
Drive a GTO
Wear a uniform
All on a government loan
I’m worth a million in prizes
Yeah I’m through with sleeping on the
Sidewalk – no more beating my brains
With the liquor and drugs
With the liquor and drugs
Well I am just a modern guy
Of course I’ve had it in the ear before
‘Cause of a lust for life
‘Cause of a lust for life
I got a lust for life
Got a lust for life
Oh a lust for life
Oh a lust for life
A lust for life
I got a lust for life
I got a lust for life
Well I am just a modern guy
Of course I’ve had it in the ear before
‘Cause of a lust for life
‘Cause of a lust for life
‘Cause of a lust for life

Here comes Johnny Yen again
With the liquor and drugs
And the flesh machine
He’s gonna do another striptease
Hey man where’d you get
That lotion? Your skin starts
Itching once you buy the gimmick
About something called love
Oh love love love
That’s like hypnotizing chickens
Well I am just a modern guy
Of course I’ve had it in the ear before
‘Cause of a lust for life
‘Cause of a lust for life
Got a lust for life
Yeah a lust for life
I got a lust for life
Oh a lust for life
I got a lust for life
Yeah a lust for life
I got a lust for life
A lust for life
Lust for life, lust for life

Lust for Life Lyrics – Iggy Pop

Here comes Johnny Yen again
With alcohol and drugs
And the flesh machine
He is going to dance again
Hey man, where are you?
Booze? It hurted me
Ever since I got divorced
About what is called love
Yes, about what is called love
It’s like hypnotized chickens
And I’m just a modern guy
Of course, I’ve had it before
Because of the lust for life
Because of the lust for life

I deserve a million prize
For your painful film
I drive a racing car
I wear a uniform
And it’s all on a government loan.
Yes, I don’t sleep anymore
Pavement, no more killing
Alcohol and drugs
Alcohol and drugs
And I’m just a modern guy
Of course, I’ve had it before
Because of the lust for life
Because of the lust for life
I am full of lust for life
Full of lust for life
Oh lust for life
Oh lust for life
lust for life
I am full of lust for life
I am full of lust for life
And I’m just a modern guy
Of course, I’ve had it before
Because of the lust for life
Because of the lust for life
Because of the lust for life

Here comes Johnny Yen again
With alcohol and drugs
And the flesh machine
He is going to dance again
Hey man, where are you?
Booze? your skin starts
Itching as soon as you get divorced
About what is called love
Oh love-love-love
It’s like hypnotized chickens
And I’m just a modern guy
Of course, I’ve had it before
Because of the lust for life
Because of the lust for life
I am full of lust for life
Yes, lust for life
I am full of lust for life
Yes, lust for life
I am full of lust for life
Oh lust for life
I am full of lust for life
Yes, lust for life
I am full of lust for life
lust for life
Lust for life, lust for life

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