Soldier (album)

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Soldier (album) cover.jpg
Studio album by Iggy Pop
Released February 1980 (1980-02)
Recorded August 1979
Studio Rockfield Studios, Wales
Length 36:19
Label Arista
Producer Pat Moran
Iggy Pop chronology
New Values

Soldier is the fourth solo studio album by American rock singer Iggy Pop. It was released in February 1980 by record label Arista.[1]


For the album Iggy collaborated with ex-Sex Pistols bassist Glen Matlock.

Ex-member of The Stooges James Williamson was originally hired to produce the album, but a conflict between Williamson and David Bowie (who was assisting as a friend of Pop) over recording techniques led to Williamson walking out on the project.

David Bowie and Simple Minds provide backing vocals on "Play It Safe".

There has been some debate over the lack of lead guitar on the final mix, which has been criticized by Glen Matlock. In Iggy Pop's biography, Matlock claims that the lead guitar was stripped after David Bowie was punched by Steve New for hitting on his girlfriend of that time, Patti Palladin.[2]

According to Jim Osterberg's account, David Bowie breezed into the isolated studio looking like the Scarlet Pimpernel, clad in all red, complete with cape. Not everyone else remembers the theatrical garb, but all of them remember a drama in which, when the curtain whisked away for the final denouement, several of the key actors had met their end. It seems that David's original plan was simply to dispel the air of gloom surrounding the recordings. To do so, he seemed to take as a model Iggy's hilarious monologues that had so captivated the musicians working on Low.

After a few scattered conversations, which charmed most of those present Steve New was particularly startruck gazing at David like an adoring puppy, while a couple of the members of Simple Minds had also dropped by to share the excitement - he gathered a small audience around him in the control room after dinner. Everyone listened to rapt attention ad David chatted and joked, sipping from a glass of red wine, before embarking on a long enthralling yarn about a character named Johnny Bindon.

Bindon was a onetime gangster who made his living as an actor and at one point worked as a bodyguard for Led Zeppelin. David recounted event after event of his shocking, bizarre life, such as the time he worked as an enforcer for the Kray Twins and cut a gangster's head off in a pub, or the story of how he won a police bravery, deal for rescuing a drowning man when it was he who'd thrown the Thames in the first place. The best part was how Bindon had the biggest cock in London - an attribute that was particularly appreciated by Princess Margaret, sister to the British queen who'd invite him to stay over with her on the island of Mustique or call him over for trysts at Kensignton Palace.

As all the musicians sat around laughing at the incredible tale, all of them that is apart from James Williamson, who sat there glowering - they started chatting about how being a criminal could be cool, better than being a musician, particularly if you had royal connections. Soon, ideas were being thrown around as Iggy picked up the story, improvising a rap about Bindon and Princess Margaret. Fired up with enthusiasm they trooped into the studio.

Suddenly the sessions were coming alive. James Williamson had kept invoking all these rules about how you made a hit record, but now Bowie was showing him how it should be done: throwing out the rule book and creating a stimulating environment. He was a creative paymaster, taking charge in an unassuming "Mind if I have a go? manner. It was touching to watch; David and Jim had obviously been through a lot together and here David was reveling in Iggy's creativity " in that way that properly creative people do - where somebody's talent isn't a threat to you ,it's something to be delighted in," says Andrews. James Williamson, meanwhile, seethed at what he saw as the intruders pretentious posturing, and he retaliated for having his session hijacked by flicking a switch on the control board that sent piercing howls of feedback through David's headphones. Despite WIlliamson's efforts they soon crafted a song, with a stripped-down synthesizer backing; chugging drums, and " I wanna be criminal" chorus and a hilarious spiel from Iggy, about " I wish I was Johnny Bindon with the biggest fuckin' dick in London and a private income…"

For the first time, thought Andrews, it felt like they were making a record to be proud of, and he was privately speculating about how cool it would be to have Bowie stay on and produce the album when a loud argument broke out between Iggy and James. James was trying to explain how his job was to produce and album that would get on the radio and that rude lyrics and Princess Margaret were guaranteed to get the record banned. At some point he uttered the phrase. " Save it for the dining room, Jim!"

"Fuck you about the dining room James," was the reply "And I don't think you belong on this project."

Bowie, meanwhile, looked into the distance in a "This is all nothing to with me" manner, before everyone shuffled away, embarrassed and then went to bed.

By lunchtime the next day, James Williamson, David Bowie, and the enigmatic Coco Schwab were all gone." Trynka, P. (2007). Iggy Pop: Open up and bleed. New York: Broadway Books.


Soldier was released in February 1980 by record label Arista. The album peaked at number 125 on the Billboard charts. Videos were made for the songs "Loco Mosquito", "Knocking 'Em Down (In the City)" and "Dog Food".


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 3/5 stars[3]
Robert Christgau B+[4]
Rolling Stone favorable[5]

Soldier has received a mixed-to-favorable reception from critics.

In her retrospective review, Charlotte Robinson of PopMatters wrote "Instead of a punk masterpiece, [...] Soldier turned out to be an uneven and sometimes plain silly recording."[6]

Rolling Stone's David Fricke reviewed the album positively, calling attention to Iggy Pop's successful weathering of his own self-destructive persona. Of the album, Fricke wrote: "Soldier, like all of his albums, is a hard-fought battle in a war that Iggy Pop is determined to win. Call him Ig noble."[7]

Track listing[edit]

Side A
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Loco Mosquito"   Iggy Pop 3:13
2. "Ambition"   Glen Matlock 3:25
3. "Knocking 'Em Down (In the City)"   Pop 3:20
4. "Play It Safe"   David Bowie, Pop 3:05
5. "Get Up and Get Out"   Pop 2:43
6. "Mr. Dynamite"   Matlock, Pop 4:17
Side B
No. Title Writer(s) Length
7. "Dog Food"   Pop 1:47
8. "I Need More"   Matlock, Pop 4:02
9. "Take Care Of Me"   Matlock, Pop 3:25
10. "I'm a Conservative"   Pop 3:55
11. "I Snub You"   Barry Andrews, Pop 3:07




  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ Deming, Mark. "Soldier – Iggy Pop | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved December 20, 2014. 
  4. ^ Christgau, Robert. "Robert Christgau: CG: Iggy Pop". Retrieved December 20, 2014. 
  5. ^ Fricke, David (February 7, 1980). "[Soldier review]". Rolling Stone. Retrieved December 20, 2014. 
  6. ^ Robinson, Charlotte (February 5, 2003). "The Weird Trilogy: Iggy Pop's Arista Recordings | PopMatters". PopMatters. Retrieved December 20, 2014. 
  7. ^ Fricke, David (February 7, 1980). "Soldier – Album Reviews – Rolling Stone". Rolling Stone. Retrieved July 26, 2013. 

Trynka, P. (2007). Iggy Pop: Open up and bleed. New York: Broadway Books.

External links[edit]