Song of the Day: Iggy Pop “Repo Man”
Iggy Pop wrote and performed the title theme to Repo Man. Originally released in 1984 and marketed as a conventional action film, Repo Man was a commercial failure initially. But the movie eventually found its audience, and is now a cult classic (even considered the best film ever made). Set in post-cultural Los Angeles, first-time director Alex Cox delivers a punk rock sci-fi adventure centered around a deadly radioactive 1964 Chevy Malibu. Packed with offbeat humor and instantly memorable dialog, Repo Man co-stars Emilio Estevez as Otto, an angry, disillusioned anti-authoritarian punk, and Harry Dean Stanton as Bud, the veteran repo man tasked with training him to repossess used cars. A character actor since the 1950s, Repo Man finally gave Stanton a well-deserved lead role and he delivers a pitch perfect performance as the relaxed-yet-intense repo man (“The life of a repo man is always intense.”) Stanton went on to roles in higher profile 80s films like Red Dawn, Pretty in Pink, The Last Temptation of Christ, and Wild At Heart and by the 90s he’d secured his status as an icon of American cinema, ensuring ever-present film and TV work for the remainder of his career. Harry Dean Stanton passed away last Friday in a Los Angeles hospital at the age of 91.
Iggy Pop’s “Repo Man” theme is a post-punk classic. Powered by a full-throttled guitar riff, “Repo Man” evokes driving through a barren landscape at top speed (even if that ’64 Chevy Malibu never moved that fast). Recorded in both vocal and instrumental versions, the instrumental opens the film while the vocal version opens the soundtrack album (both linked here).
Approached personally by Alex Cox and given creative carte blanche to compose his film’s theme, Iggy Pop credits “Repo Man” with revitalizing his then-sagging career. Iggy has made “Repo Man” a staple in his live shows, a testament to the song’s classic status.