Iggy Pop Says He Almost Rejected a Lifetime Achievement Grammy: 'They Want Me to Be an Exhibit'

Iggy Pop attends the 62nd Annual GRAMMY Awards at STAPLES Center on January 26, 2020 in Los Angeles, California.
Iggy Pop attends the 62nd Annual GRAMMY Awards at STAPLES Center on January 26, 2020 in Los Angeles, California.

Emma McIntyre/Getty Iggy Pop

Iggy Pop received a Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award in 2020 — an honor he nearly refused to accept.

In a recent interview with Classic Rock, the legendary former Stooges frontman opened up about pushing back against the Recording Academy when the institution first reached out about giving him the coveted award.

"The Grammys kept wanting to talk to me on the phone, and I kept telling my manager: 'I don't want to talk to them. I hate those people. They want me to be an exhibit in their museum or something,'" the 75-year-old musician, born James Newell Osterberg Jr., told the outlet.

RELATED: Iggy Pop Says Elton John Once Pranked Him in a Gorilla Suit While Stooges Rocker Was High on Heroin

Iggy Pop
Iggy Pop

Victor Boyko/Getty Iggy Pop

"Then when I finally spoke to the lady from the Grammys a couple of months later she said: 'We're giving you the Lifetime Achievement. Without you, there's no Lil Nas X and there's no Billie Eilish,'" recalled Pop.

With those words, the Recording Academy representative was able to change the rocker's mind. "According to her, 'You're a direct link to the artists that are at the top of our awards list this year,'" he explained. "So that's what one person had to say, and I'll take that for what it's worth."

When he received the Grammy Award in early 2020, Pop echoed a similar sentiment in an interview with PEOPLE, noting that he wasn't going to accept the award until he learned it'd be presented to him either way.

RELATED: Iggy Pop Talks 'Surprise' Over Receiving a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award

"I said, 'I'm not talking to them!' It's been, what? 50 years? No Grammy!" he said with a laugh at the time. "But they said, 'You won.' And I said, 'Well, is there anything I have to do? Is it contingent on anything?' And they said, 'No. It can never be changed.' So I thought that was OK. That was nice."


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Pop had received accolades before, and in 2010 was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame along with his Stooges bandmates. But winning approval from the Grammys? "[That's] a tougher can of tuna to pry open," he said.

RELATED: Nirvana, The Supremes, Heart and More to Receive 2023 Lifetime Achievement Grammy Awards

He's not the only artist to attempt to shy away from an award as of late. Last year, Dolly Parton attempted to take herself off the ballot for a spot in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame upon receiving a nomination — thinking she wasn't the right fit as a country star.

"When you talk about the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame," the 76-year-old country legend told PEOPLE in November 2022, "wouldn't you think that should be for the people in rock 'n' roll?"

However, she eventually decided to accept the honor "gracefully" — but not without vowing to release a rock album in the near future to prove herself in the genre.