“He wanted me to mix Raw Power, so he brought the 24-track tape in, and he put it up. He had the band on one track, lead guitar on another and him on a third. Out of 24 tracks there were just three tracks that were used. [Iggy Pop] said, ‘See what you can do with this.’ I said, ‘Jim, there’s nothing to mix.’” —David Bowie
There are actually three versions of Raw Power. There’s the version mixed by David Bowie, which was released in 1973, and it’s a fucking masterpiece in spite of the limitations Iggy and Bowie faced. “It’s not a bad job that he did,” Iggy later said. “I’m very proud of the eccentric, odd little record that came out.” But in 1996, Columbia Records called Iggy and said they were going to remix Raw Power, with or without him, so Iggy revisited his early work and, in my opinion, he did a fine job; the Bowie mixes had no bottom to them, and while that made for a wonderfully volatile sound, it’s also great to finally hear Iggy’s remix bring out the powerful rhythm section of Ron and Scott Asheton.
Which brings us to Rough Power, the earliest version, the one that was never officially released. See, when he was originally mixing the album, Iggy went a little overboard. (Hard to believe, right?) He holed up in the studio and produced several very eccentric mixes of Raw Power that scared the suits, which is why Bowie was called in the first place—to rescue Iggy from himself. But (this is the story, anyhow) Ron Asheton, frustrated at the failure of those first two Stooges albums, leaked those wild early mixes to a radio station, hoping to gin up some publicity—which is why you’ll hear two DJ’s bantering about this “upcoming Stooges album” at the beginning of this track. This early mix of “Hard To Beat” shows just how out of control Iggy got when he was making Raw Power.