Sunday, June 23, 2019

Spotlight on Alice Cooper

Alice Cooper band
Alice Cooper band photo courtesy of Enigma Records

Alice Cooper (band) Discography:
• Pretties for You (Straight Records, 1969) *
• Easy Action (Straight Records, 1970) *
• Love It to Death (Straight Records, 1971)
• Killer (Warner Brothers, 1971)
• School's Out (Warner Brothers, 1972)
• Billion Dollar Babies (Warner Brothers, 1973)
• Muscle of Love (Warner Brothers, 1973)

* Later reissued by Enigma Records' Retro imprint, and again by Warner's Rhino Records archival label.

Alice Cooper, the band, was orignally signed to Frank Zappa's Straight Records label, home to oddball rockers like Captain Beefheart and the GTOs and hipster comedian Lord Buckley. The band – comprised of lead singer Alice (née Vince Furnier), guitarists Michael Bruce and Glen Buxton, bassist Dennis Dunaway, and drummer Neal Smith – had been kicking around the late '60s L.A. rock scene for a few years before releasing their first two albums for Straight. When neither album achieved any sort of commercial traction, the band pulled up roots and relocated to Pontiac, Michigan near Furnier's hometown of Detroit.

Alice Cooper's outrageous hard rock sound went over aces with a Rust Belt audience with a taste for honest, raucous rock 'n' roll after experiencing bands like Iggy & the Stooges, the MC5, SRC, and Ted Nugent. Working with young producer Bob Ezrin, the band scored a hit single in 1970 with their classic "I'm Eighteen," which kicked off a string of Top 40, Platinum™-selling albums that culminated in 1973's chart-topping Billion Dollar Babies. After the release of Muscle of Love – the band's fifth album in three years, the hard-touring outfit broke up.

Furnier took the "Alice Cooper" name with him out the door, launching a successful and legendary solo career with 1975's Welcome To My Nightmare, which hit #5 on the charts, and following it up with albums like Alice Cooper Goes To Hell (1976) and Flush the Fashion (1980). Cooper's solo career hit the skids during the nerf-metal decade of the '80s, though, the singer finally scoring a Top 20 album with 1989's Trash. Cooper's solo career continues to this day. The other band members didn't fare nearly as well, Bruce, Dunaway, and Smith forming the band Billion Dollar Babies, which released a single album titled Battle Axe in 1977.

The original Alice Cooper was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2011, the band reuniting to perform at their induction ceremony (sans Buxton, who sadly passed away in 1997 at 49 years old).

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