It is VERY hard, for the young people of 2013, to fathom how "shocking" Alice Cooper's bit was
back in the early 1970's..... one of my fondest memories took place when I was about ten and deliberately blasting the "Killer" album for my grandmother whom I pretty much despised (suspend your judgment unless you knew her, she was insufferable).... she spent the rest of the weekend praying for the souls of both Alice and myself. I think the parents might have advised me against "sharing" music with Granny anymore after that, pity, I would have liked to have heard her opinion of "Kick Out the Jams Motherfuckers"......
Anyway, for a few minutes there in the early 1970's Alice Cooper (the band) was the SHIT for pissed off teens and preteens, mixing Detroit MC5/Stooges hard rock blare and outrageous (at the time) live shows, featuring simulated executions, his live boa constrictor, just LOTS of cool shit.....so, how would we expect something like this to impress us 40 some years later? After all, this is not the eternal musical genius of Bowie or Roxy Music, this is pure style-over-substance, period piece "shock rock" that long ago lost it's ability to "shock" (imagine someone who, say, had seen GG Allin live looking at an old video and being "shocked" by Alice Cooper)
OK, so in the end, they were a fairly good singles band, kind of a pre-Aerosmith musically, giving us three and a half minute hard rocking, hook filled bangers, some of which still hold up quite well....the more "artistic" or "serious" visions? Well.......
The first two albums, "Pretties For You" and "Easy Action" are pretty bad, of course I've included
them here to give the full picture, but this was some VERY forgettable Zappa-influenced psychedelia, "Easy Action" does have a memorable moment or two, "Still No Air", to me at least, gave a glimpse of what was to come.
And what was to come was their best effort, "Love It To Death", in 1971... they heavied up their sound and took on a New York Dolls-like freakish appearance, and scored a hit with the still fab-sounding "I'm Eighteen", still one of the great songs about, well, being eighteen ("Lines form on my face and hands, lines form on the left and right")..... I'd say it's a four-star album, and perhaps their only one (I guess we could argue for "Killer"). But, now, suddenly, the band was enormous.
"School's Out" was the title track from the next LP, it was enormously popular as a battle cry for embattled youths, I know it is considered a great single but as a matter of personal taste, I have always HATED that goddamn song (my favorite on the album is the much lesser known "Luney Tune".... the problem was the silly "Gutter Cat Vs. The Jets" which would serve as THE indicator for direction that this band and in particular it's leader, were headed.....PURE show biz. By the way, the "School's Out" album cover, if you recall, was made to look like a desk with the band's names carved in it and etc......the dust sleeve was made to look like a pair of panties.....oh those album covers of the 1970's, how about "Led Zeppelin III", "Sticky Fingers", or "The Velvet Underground and Nico"? Literally something young music lovers are NEVER AGAIN going to experience, be that positive or negative I will leave up to you.
"Billion Dollar Babies" was cranked out soon afterward to cash in on the band's enormous popularity, it's spotty with a couple of decent singles ("Elected" and "No More Mr Nice Guy") as well as a couple of pretty fair, lesser known tunes ("Raped and Freezin'", "Generation Landslide") and of course, the obligatory attempts to shock ("I Love the Dead", "Sick Things")... THIS LP cover was made to look like a billfold...the CD reissue later on included a bonus disc with some live stuff, lucky you it's the one I've included here.
And then, children, that was IT. The next release, "Muscle of Love", is awful to the point of being unlistenable, THIS album cover is made to look like..... oh, I forget, and who really cares? This ship had sailed...... eventually Alice (the man, not the band) fired the rest of his band and went Hollywood, actually appearing on "Hollywood Squares" among other embarrassments (his singles NOW were unbearable pop-schlock like "How You Gonna See Me Now" and plenty of other dreck..... when it's over it's OVER, this being one of the best examples of this thinking in rock history.
Got a few boots for ya so ya can hear Alice in all of their live glory days of 1971-73....I was a bit young to get to see him/them live, but I do vividly recall an appearance on ABC's (I think) "In Concert" (remember THAT? If yes, your fucking age is showing) that I thought was the shit at the time.....got a show from the Hollywood Bowl from 1972, and a Minneapolis show 1973..... and just to be sadistic, I will include a 1969 (!) set from the pre-stardom days, "Live at the Whiskey", which sucks BIG TIME but, hell, a BUNCH of ya downloaded "Metal Machine Music", so what do any of us know?
Just in case you want only those cool singles, I'll put up the "Greatest Hits" album as well, which catches most of them anyway......might be a wise choice for the dabbler.
Good times the 1970's were..... will I stay there tomorrow and beyond? Only time will tell. The Vikings make their (gag) third (yes THIRD) prime time appearance in four weeks tonight, despite being the worst fucking team in the NFL. Say didn't you USED TO BE the guy who selected which NFL games were televised nationally?
PRETTIES FOR YOU-01 Titanic Overture/02 Ten Minutes Before the Worm/03 Swing Low, Sweet Cheerio/04 Today Mueller/05 Living/06 Fields of Regret/07 No Longer Umpire/08 Levity Ball/09 BB (Big Boys) On Mars/10 Reflected/11 Apple Bush/12 Earwigs to Eternity/13 Changing Arranging
LOVE IT TO DEATH-01 Caught in a Dream/02 I'm Eighteen/03 Long Way To Go/04 Black Juju/05 Is It My Body/06 Hallowed Be Thy Name/07 Second Coming/08 Ballad of Dwight Fry/09 Sun Arise
KILLER-01 Under My Wheels/02 Be My Lover/03 Halo of Flies/04 Desperado/05 You Drive Me Nervous/06 Yeah Yeah Yeah/07 Dead Babies/08 Killer
SCHOOLS OUT-01 Schools Out/02 Luney Tune/03 Gutter Cat Vs The Jets/Street Fight/04 Blue Turk/05 My Stars/06 Public Animal #9/07 Alma Mater/08 Grand Finale
BILLION DOLLAR BABIES-01 Hello Hooray/02 Raped and Freezin'/03 Elected/04 Billion Dollar
Babies/05 Unfinished Sweet/06 No More Mr Nice Guy/07 Generation Landslide/08 Sick Things/09 Mary Ann/10 I Love the Dead
BILLION DOLLAR BABIES BONUS DISC-01 Hello Hooray (Live 1973)/02 Billion Dollar Babies (Live 1973)/03 Elected (Live 1973)/04 I'm Eighteen (Live 1973)/05 Raped And Freezin' (Live 1973)
/06 No More Mr. Nice Guy (Live 1973)/07 My Stars (Live 1973)/0-8 Unfinished Sweet (Live 1973)
/09 Sick Things (Live 1973)/10 Dead Babies (Live 1973)/11 I Love The Dead (Live 1973)/12 Coal Black Model T (Outtake)/13 Son Of Billion Dollar Babies (Generation Landslide) (Outtake)/14 Slick Black Limousine
MINNEAPOLIS 5/30/73-01 Hello Hooray/02 Billion Dollar Babies/03 Elected/04 Eighteen/05 Raped and Freezing/06 No More Mr Nice Guy/07 My Stars/08 Unfinished Sweet/09 Sick Things/10 Dead Babies/11 I Love the Dead/12 Schools Out/13 Under My Wheels
LIVE AT THE WHISKEY 1969-01 No Longer Umpire/02 Today
Mueller/03 Ten Minutes Before the Worm/04 Levity Ball/05 Nobody Likes Me/06 BB On Mars/07 Swing Low Sweet Cheerio/08 Changing, Arranging
Went to the doctor yesterday, thought they were just going to tell me to go back to work on 11/18 as they'd previously discussed, now they decide I got to be off for the rest of the year to do more tests and shit and I'm still not allowed to DRIVE... arrrrrgh. Well, if you LIKE this blog, I'll have the spare time that I've had the PAST 6 weeks in order to maybe do another mega-post or something... and if you DON'T like this blog? Well, hey, fuck you buddy!