The Stooges Celebrate 50 Years In The Fun House

The Stooges Celebrate 50 Years In The Fun House

stooges iggy funhouse vinyl set
The Stooges at Elektra Sound Recorders, Los Angeles, while making Funhouse, May 23, 1970  (Photo by Ed Caraeff/Getty Images)

There's a line in the Stooges song "Down On The Street" that goes "floating around on a real O-mind". The concept of an O-mind in Stooges parlance seems to refer to a meditative oneness with everything, or, in other words, a wholly zoned out immersion in the music brought the on by volume, repetition and drugs. The Stooges' first two albums are the pinnacle of this state; the self-titled first album, which kicks off with looping purity of "1969" and includes likeminded jams "No Fun", "Real Cool Time", "Little Doll" and "I Wanna Be Your Dog", ends on the droning infinity mantra of "We Will Fall". Their second album Funhouse takes you down with the bludgeon of "Down On The Street" and then reaches O-mind state in a more visceral and violent manner, making the first album seem childlike in comparison. The transcendence reached on tracks like "Loose", "TV Eye", the title track and "Dirt" is a more destructive one - hellish even but still wide-eyed and the fitful come down of the album closer "LA Blues" is not a peaceful one. Like the amusement park attraction it takes its name from, Funhouse takes you through a succession of disorientating experiences. The listener just has to go with the flow.
Twenty years ago Rhino released the ultimate O-mind experience in 1970: The Complete Fun House Sessions, a 7CD Box set. It was basically the complete recording session – everything captured on tape - unfolding before your ears.

And, they've just announced a limited edition vinyl edition that includes even more. The Fun House 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition Vinyl Boxed Set is the deepest immersion possible into the O-mind of Fun House. 15 – yes 15! – LP records, two replica 7" singles, a 28-page book, ephemera Including 2 24 "x12" Posters, 2 12 "x12" Prints, a slipmat, and 45-Adapter, gold-foil stamped numbering, in a strictly limited edition on 1970 copies. The set includes not just the Funhouse sessions, but also the wild Have Some Fun: Live At Ungano's live set from 1970 that Rhino unearthed a decade or so. Pre-order it here.

stooges funhouse vinyl

Ridiculed by many as ridiculously excessive, listening to the complete sessions is a unique experience, and not just because Funhouse is a unique album in the first place. And yes, 19 consecutive takes of "Loose" and 15 of "Down On The Street" IS excessive, but it is gloriously so, and the real beauty is in hearing the development, as early stabs take form and the familiar end piece gradually becomes more visible through the haze, take after take. The complete session is not something you'd put on to charge yourself up for a Saturday night out; more so it's something you'd play on a Saturday night in, from start to finish, with the lights off and your mind open. It's a wild ride.

The Fun House 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition Vinyl Boxed Set has been announced for a July release. In celebration, let's look at some rare Stooges footage from the era, including the legendary Cincinnati Pop Festival clip where Iggy rides the crowd and smears himself in peanut butter, while the presenters start commentating like it's a sports event. 

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