How did Iggy Pop get his name?
Born James Newell Osterberg, he drummed for a band called the Iguanas in high school–a shortening of their name gave him the Iggy handle. When he was living with the rest of the Stooges in Ann Arbor, Michigan, experimenting with drugs and the sonic possibilities of vacuum cleaners, he was called Iggy Stooge and Iggy Osterberg. He didn’t acquire the last name Pop until he shaved off his eyebrows; the band had a friend named Jimmy Pop who had lost all his hair, including his eyebrows, so Iggy got tagged with his name. (Iggy said he picked it because it sounded good for show business.) When the Stooges played their first show for a paying crowd, on March 3, 1968, Iggy painted his face like a mime, wore an antique nightshirt, and built himself an Afro with aluminum foil. That night, he learned an answer to one of mankind’s imponderable questions, “What are eyebrows are good for?” The answer is “keeping sweat out of your eyes”–by the end of the gig, so much sweat and oil and glitter had dripped down Iggy’s forehead, his eyes had become severely swollen.
(Excerpted from the 2006 book Is Tiny Dancer Really Elton’s Little John?: Music’s Most Enduring Mysteries, Myths, and Rumors Revealed, published by Three Rivers Press, written by Gavin Edwards.)