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Long before there was Marilyn Manson, White Zombie, W.A.S.P., or even Kiss, there was Alice Cooper, the great-granddaddy of all theatrical shock-rockers. He began life as Vincent Furnier in 1948 Detroit. In the 1970's, he became notorious for a horror-movie-like stage act involving guillotines, boa constrictors, and other gruesome props. Although Alice Cooper was originally the name of a five-piece band, Furnier adopted it as the name for his onstage character, and after the original band split up in the mid-'70's, Furnier effectively was Alice Cooper from that point on. His recording career now spans over 50 years. At the time this page was created, the albums reviewed below were out of print. Most of them have been reissued since then, in physical and digital formats.

Before achieving pop stardom with their third album Love It To Death in 1971, the original Alice Cooper band recorded two quirky low-budget albums for Frank Zappa's Straight label. These two albums were reissued on CD by Rhino Encore in June 2008.

The first album, Pretties For You, is an intriguingly strange freeform hodgepodge of British Invasion-style pop rock, progressive rock, psychedelia, and Zappa-like weirdness. The 13 tracks alternately sound like rougher-edged mutations of the Beatles, Byrds, Who, King Crimson and Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd. Pretty cool stuff.

The second album, Easy Action, is a tad more conventional, and less interesting. Although it retains some of the weirdness of its predecessor (mainly in the Zappaesque "Still No Air" and the prog-rock noodling of "Lay Down and Die, Goodbye"), this album shows the band moving toward its early-'70's style of basic rock. The best tracks here are the rocking "Mr. & Misdemeanor" and "Return of the Spiders", as well as the nicely Beatlesque "Beautiful Flyaway" (sung by guitarist Michael Bruce), which showed technical progress. Pop stardom was clearly just around the corner.

Track Listings:


1. Titanic Overture
2. 10 Minutes Before The Worm
3. Sing Low, Sweet Cheerio
4. Today Mueller
5. Living
6. Fields of Regret
7. No Longer Umpire
8. Levity Ball (Live at the Cheetah)
9. B.B. On Mars
10. Reflected
11. Apple Bush
12. Earwigs to Eternity
13. Changing Arranging


1. Mr. & Misdemeanor
2. Shoe Salesman
3. Still No Air
4. Below Your Means
5. Return of the Spiders
6. Laughing At Me
7. Refrigerator Heaven
8. Beautiful Flyaway
9. Lay Down And Die, Goodbye

By 1971, the band was signed to Warner Bros., and producer Bob Ezrin tightened and refined their sound, making their music accessible to mainstream rock fans. The nose-thumbing attitude of their hit singles and Furnier's ghoulish stage antics combined to make Alice Cooper a huge success among teens.

1973's Muscle Of Love was the seventh and final album recorded by the original band. It was produced by Jack Richardson and Jack Douglas instead of Ezrin, and was less successful than the four hit albums that came before it. However, Muscle Of Love isn't bad. It mainly consists of likable if irrelevant raunch rock. The album's high point is "Teenage Lament '74", a likably poppy variation on the earlier hit "I'm Eighteen"; amusingly enough, the song features backing vocals by Liza Minnelli and the Pointer Sisters. On the downside, the album contains a would-be James Bond theme song ("The Man With The Golden Gun"), a goofy carnival showtune ("Crazy Little Child"), and a none-too-heartfelt ballad ("Hard Hearted Alice") that presaged the impending "solo" career of the man called Alice. (Note: Muscle of Love was reissued by Rhino Encore in August 2008).

Track Listing:

1. Big Apple Dreamin' (Hippo)
2. Never Been Sold Before
3. Hard Hearted Alice
4. Crazy Little Child
5. Working Up A Sweat
6. Muscle Of Love
7. Man With The Golden Gun
8. Teenage Lament '74
9. Woman Machine

By 1975, the original Alice Cooper band broke up, and Furnier officially adopted the name as his own for his solo act. Unfortunately, the quality of his music took a sharp downturn, and he turned out sappy hit ballads like "Only Women Bleed".

The 1977 album Lace and Whiskey was a by-the-numbers pop-rock album designed to generate big bucks. The album's generic mainstream sound is varied only by the disco-era pomposity of "(No More) Love At Your Convenience" and the icky elevator muzak of "You And Me" (a Top 10 single in its day) and "I Never Wrote Those Songs" (nice try, Alice, but the credits say you co-wrote nine of the ten tracks). Boring stuff. (Note: Lace and Whiskey was reissued by Rhino Encore in August 2008).

Track Listing:

1. It's Hot Tonight
2. Lace And Whiskey
3. Road Rats
4. Damned If You Do
5. You And Me
6. King Of The Silver Screen
7. Ubangi Stomp
8. (No More) Love At Your Convenience
9. I Never Wrote Those Songs
10. My God

As their former frontman continued his popular theatrical antics, three members of the original band (guitarist Michael Bruce, bassist Dennis Dunaway, and drummer Neal Smith) formed the band Billion Dollar Babies, named after the 1973 Alice Cooper album and song. With keyboardist Bob Dolin and guitarist Mike Marconi rounding out the quintet, the band recorded only one album titled Battle Axe, on which they played straight-ahead rock and roll similar to the music they made with Cooper. Bruce handles vocal duties (as he sometimes did on the first two albums). His voice is less menacing than Cooper's, though he usually sounds like he is mimicking his style. There's nothing great on Battle Axe, but it is consistently enjoyable, able to withstand comparison to the albums the band did with Cooper -- and it was certainly superior to what Alice was up to at that point in time.

In 2020, Battle Axe was reissued in the U.K. in a 3-CD expanded edition (HNE Recordings HNECD142T). The first disc contained the album's 12 proper tracks. The second disc contained 14 demos from the album sessions, which are often interesting; for example, "Want To Go Home" and "Wallow Through This Madness" had the potential to be good songs if they had become finished tracks. The third disc contained a live concert recording from July 1977, performed in Flint, Michigan, one of only four shows performed by the band. In a live setting, the band gave off a bigger arena-rocking sound, sometimes even coming across like a jam band. The bootleg-level sound quality may be partly to blame, but the Billion Dollar Babies don't come across as a particularly strong live band, mainly because Bruce was not a very impressive frontman. This is especially true when the Babies are heard performing a medley of Alice Cooper songs, on which Furnier is sorely missed. This band was definitely better off sticking to their Battle Axe material in concert.

Track Listing:

1. Too Young -- (Bruce/Marconi/Smith)
2. Shine Your Love -- (Bruce/Marconi)
3. I Miss You -- (Bruce/Marconi/Smith)
4. Wasn't I The One -- (Bruce/Marconi)
5. Love Is Rather Blind -- (Bruce/Smith/Daye)
6. Rock n' Roll Radio -- (Dunaway/Marconi/Smith/Jeffords/Douglas)
7. Dance With Me -- (Bruce/Marconi)
8. Rock Me Slowly -- (Bruce)
9. Ego Mania -- (Bruce/Dolin/Dunaway/Marconi/Smith)
10a. Battle Axe -- (Bruce/Dolin/Dunaway)
10b. (Sudden Death) -- (Dolin)
11. Winner -- (Bruce/Dunaway)

1978's From The Inside was an attempt at a "serious" album, mixing Cooper's usual gruesome lyrical imagery with social commentary -- something that Alice would do better decades later. Most of the song lyrics on this album are populated by insane characters whom Cooper says are based on real people he encountered while recovering from alcoholism in a N.Y. hospital. But it's hard to take the songs seriously when they sound like outtakes from
The Rocky Horror Picture Show. To make matters worse, the album contains yet another yucky hit ballad ("How You Gonna See Me Now"). "The Quiet Room" (about a would-be suicide) and "Jackknife Johnny" (about a troubled Vietnam vet) come close to being moving songs, but Cooper is better off when he stays within his depth on straight-up rockers like "Serious" (we get the picture, Alice!) and the raunchy "Wish I Were Born In Beverly Hills". (Note: From the Inside was reissued by Rhino Encore in August 2008).

Track Listing:

1. From The Inside
2. Wish I Were Born In Beverly Hills
3. The Quiet Room
4. Nurse Rozetta
5. Millie And Billie
6. Serious
7. How You Gonna See Me Now
8. For Veronica's Sake
9. Jackknife Johnny
10. Inmates (We're All Crazy)

The much-maligned 1980 album Flush The Fashion was an ill-fated attempt to change with the new wave times. In hindsight, it is an interesting misfire. Cooper tapped Cars producer Roy Thomas Baker to dress the album in the most commercial-sounding style of post-punk available, as Cooper tried to adapt his trademark shock rock ("Nuclear Infected"), rebel attitude ("Model Citizen"), and more recent attempts at serious overtones ("Grim Facts") for younger and hipper tastes. "Clones (We're All)" was a great single, effectively using a chilly and futuristic keyboard sound that fit well with its sci-fi horror lyrics, but the rest of the album doesn't measure up. Although it's easy enough to endure for its short 29-minute running time, Flush The Fashion feels like a mostly phony attempt to jump on a bandwagon, particularly considering that the lyrics of "Dance Yourself To Death" were seemingly making fun of the album's target audience. Come to think of it, the album's title could be interpreted that way, as well. (Note: Flush the Fashion was reissued by Rhino Encore in August 2008).

Track Listing:

1. Talk Talk
2. Clones (We're All)
3. Pain
4. Leather Boots
5. Aspirin Damage
6. Nuclear Infected
7. Grim Facts
8. Model Citizen
9. Dance Yourself To Death
10. Headlines

After his short-lived punk makeover failed to ingratiate him with new wave audiences, Cooper faded into obscurity, and lapsed back into alcoholism. The loyal fans who stuck with him were then rewarded with the truly awful 1981 album Special Forces, on which he suddenly came across as a weird militaristic cartoon character with no discernible appeal. Though it may not have been a bad idea for Cooper to attempt a less commercial hard-rock direction at that point in time, this grimy junk-metal album is usually as lifeless as a straight-to-video horror movie with a has-been star. "Skeletons In The Closet" offers one amusing horror-comedy moment, but a song like "Prettiest Cop On The Block" is too silly even for the Coop. His remake of Arthur Lee's "Seven & Seven Is" is possibly an acknowledgement of the 1967 song's reputation as a contender for the first heavy metal song, but this de-psychedelized version is simply terrible. And what was the point of a new and supposedly live recording of the 1973 song "Generation Landslide"? (It was actually done entirely in the studio, with dubbed-in applause). It only showed how far he had fallen since the days of the original Alice Cooper band. Special Forces is the pits.

Notes: The original album cover listed a song titled "Look At You Over There, Ripping The Sawdust From My Teddybear", but that song was not on the album. For the curious, the demo version of that song is included on the Life & Crimes Of Alice Cooper box set. Special Forces was reissued on CD in 2010 by the Collector's Choice label.

Track Listing:

1. Who Do You Think We Are
2. Seven & Seven Is
3. Prettiest Cop On The Block
4. Don't Talk Old To Me
5. Generation Landslide '81 (Live)
6. Skeletons In The Closet
7. You Want It, You Got It
8. You Look Good In Rags
9. You're A Movie
10. Vicious Rumours

On his next album, which bore the ouch!-inspiring title Zipper Catches Skin, Cooper was headed back on the right track. He attempted to make an album that was closer to the basic rock of his early-'70's prime. Of course, the original band wasn't there to back him, and the album was not quite a return to form. But the album is fun to listen to through its short 32-minute run, and Cooper's clownishness was becoming entertaining again. Zipper Catches Skin is certainly a lightweight album, but it was Cooper's most consistent work in years, and an encouraging sign that there was life in the old boy yet. Zipper Catches Skin was reissued by the Collector's Choice label in 2010.

Track Listing:

1. Zorro's Ascent
2. Make That Money (Scrooge's Song)
3. I Am The Future
4. No Baloney Homosapiens
5. Adaptables (Anything For You)
6. I Like Girls
7. Remarkably Insincere
8. Tag, You're It
9. I Better Be Good
10. I'm Alive (That Was The Day My Dead Pet Returned To Save My Life)

His next album, 1983's Dada, reunited Cooper with Bob Ezrin, who produced most of his '70's albums. It turned out to be Cooper's strongest album in a decade. Alice was still struggling with alcoholism at this point, and the tone of this album is rather dark. His trademark shock lyrics have an unsettlingly serious undertone on "No Man's Land" and "Pass The Gun Around". The gruesome songs are dressed up in lush arrangements including prominent strings, keyboards, and computerized drums. Dada is not the type of album one expects from Cooper, and it's refreshing to hear him break out of the musical rut he'd been mired in for years. Dada was reissued on CD in 2010 by the Collector's Choice label.

Track Listing:

1. Da Da
2. Enough's Enough
3. Former Lee Warmer
4. No Man's Land
5. Dyslexia
6. Scarlet And Sheba
7. I Love America
8. Fresh Blood
9. Pass The Gun Around

By 1987, Cooper finally won his battle with the bottle, and reverted back to his '70's look and attitude. Although he still hadn't returned from obscurity, his 1989 comeback was just around the corner when he released 1987's Raise Your Fist And Yell. The album was a somewhat typical headbangin' heavy metal offering, though its sound was more raw than much of the Bon Jovi-esque pop metal that was popular at the time. On Side One, Cooper shakes his fist at anyone who would stand in the way of his rock and roll party. The songs on Side Two possess a more gruesome horror movie mentality; in fact, "Prince Of Darkness" was the title song for an awful John Carpenter flick that Cooper had a cameo in. Raise Your Fist And Yell isn't one of Alice's best, but it's never boring, and has plenty of wild guitar playing (by Kane Roberts) to hold your attention.

Track Listing:

1. Freedom
2. Lock Me Up
3. Give The Radio Back
4. Step On You
5. Not That Kind Of Love
6. Prince Of Darkness
7. Time To Kill
8. Chop, Chop, Chop
9. Gail
10. Roses On White Lace

The 1997 album A Fistful Of Alice contains 12 live performances recorded in June 1996 at Sammy Hagar's Cabo Wabo Cantina in Mexico. (The 13th track, "Is Anybody Home?", is a so-so previously unreleased studio song). Most of the songs are drawn from Cooper's '70's heyday; in addition, he performed his 1989 comeback hit "Poison" and two more recent songs. Give or take an "Only Women Bleed" or two, the songs are well-chosen and entertainingly performed; Alice was not merely going through the motions here, as he seemed to be on the 1977 Alice Cooper Show live album. This album proves that, even as he was nearing 50, Cooper still hadn't lost his teenage mentality. Good for him. (Note: the Japanese version contained four bonus live tracks: "Under My Wheels", "Bed of Nails", "Clones (We're All)", and "No More Mr. Nice Guy").

Track Listing:

1. School's Out
2. I'm Eighteen
3. Desperado
4. Lost In America
5. Teenage Lament '74
6. I Never Cry
7. Poison
8. Billion Dollar Babies
9. Welcome To My Nightmare
10. Only Women Bleed
11. Feed My Frankenstein
12. Elected
13. Is Anyone Home?

At the start of the new millennium, Cooper's studio output entered an exciting new chapter. The albums Brutal Planet (2000) and Dragontown (2001) took on a harder, more modern metal sound, with lyrics that mixed horror movie imagery and social commentary much more effectively than many of his earlier albums had. After that short but productive phase, Alice reverted back to a more basic rock sound on the 2003 CD The Eyes Of Alice Cooper. That album is not currently available digitally, and is getting hard to find in physical formats.

Though it may technically be a "back to basics" recording, The Eyes Of Alice Cooper still sometimes possesses the same hard-nosed attack as its two predecessors, especially on its last two tracks ("I'm So Angry" and "Backyard Brawl"). The social commentary is still here, but it mostly comes in the form of satire which is usually not as dark as you might expect. Despite the album's slightly horror-movie-like title, there is also less gruesome lyrical imagery than usual; one exception, "This House Is Haunted", is an effectively eerie little ghost story. Most of the album's tracks are the type of fun songs about angst and rebellion that Cooper has also always been known for. Tracks like "Bye Bye, Baby" and the tolerable ballad "Be With You Awhile" are particularly reminiscent of Alice's '70's heyday. But the album's most nostalgic -- and most memorable -- track is "Detroit City". Not to be confused with a similarly-titled song by another make-up-clad metal act, that song expresses pride in the early days of the Detroit rock scene, when "The Kid was in his crib, Shady wore a bib, and the Posse wasn't even alive". Coop drops the names of plenty of other Detroit legends, including the MC5 -- whose guitarist Wayne Kramer makes a guest appearance. "Between High School & Old School" may be as good a description as any when it comes to Alice's mentality, but from the listener's point of view, that's a good place for Alice to be.

Notes: The CD cover art for The Eyes Of Alice Cooper was issued in four different variations, featuring alternate colors in Cooper's eyes and the crescent around the letter "A" in the title, appearing in either blue, green, purple or red. Many years later, the song "Detroit City" was re-recorded -- twice, with slightly altered lyrics -- for the Bob Ezrin-produced 2019 EP Breadcrumbs, and for the Ezrin-produced 2021 album Detroit Stories, both of which revolved around the Detroit rock scene as a central theme.

Track Listing:

1. What Do You Want From Me?
2. Between High School & Old School
3. Man Of The Year
4. Novocaine
5. Bye Bye, Baby
6. Be With You Awhile
7. Detroit City
8. Spirits Rebellious
9. This House Is Haunted
10. Love Should Never Feel Like This
11. The Song That Didn't Rhyme
12. I'm So Angry
13. Backyard Brawl

The original Alice Cooper band played a surprise reunion show on October 6, 2015 at the indie music store Good Records in Dallas, Texas. Four-fifths of the original lineup – singer Vincent Furnier (whom we now know as Alice Cooper the solo artist), rhythm guitarist Michael Bruce, bassist Dennis Dunaway, and drummer Neal Smith – performed for a crowd of approximately 200 people. Ryan Roxie took the place of original lead guitarist Glen Buxton, who passed away in 1997. Their seven-song set was the longest set performed by the original band in 40 years. For the Black Friday Record Store Day in 2016, a limited edition 7-inch single was issued, containing two songs from that performance. The single, titled Live From The Astroturf, was limited to 2,500 copies, pressed in different colored vinyl variations: 1150 white, 1150 pink, 100 black, and 100 split color pink/white singles were randomly distributed. The pink/white variant contained art prints autographed by the four surviving original members. The single was co-mixed by Bob Ezrin, who produced most of the band’s early-'70’s work.

The two songs included on the Live From The Astroturf single were both drawn from the 1971 breakthrough album Love It To Death. Alice and the band sound great on both tracks, still able to convincingly crank out anthems of teen rebellion well into their 60’s. During their performance of the classic “I’m Eighteen” on the A-side, Cooper ad-libs the line “I gotta get outta here, Mom and Dad caught me drinkin’ beer”, showing that he can still get inside the head of an angst-filled teenager. The rock and roll attitude also comes through loud and clear on their performance of “Is It My Body” on the B-side.

Track Listing:

a. Eighteen (aka “I’m Eighteen”)
b. Body (aka “Is It My Body”)

Two years later, on Record Store Day Black Friday in 2018, a full-length 12-inch LP was issued under the same title Live From The Astroturf, with the same cover art, containing the full concert. The LP was limited to 3,000 copies, pressed in 10 different random color variations, and included a double sided 24”x36” poster, an 11”x11” 16-page booklet/program, and an OBI strip that can be separated into 6 trading cards.

The two songs that had comprised the 2016 single were the third and fourth songs in the set. When listening to the full Live From The Astroturf concert, it becomes evident that the band was hitting their stride at that point in the show. The set opened with "Caught In A Dream", performed before Furnier made his surprise entrance. Michael Bruce (who wrote the song) sang the lead vocal, and although it may have been a pleasure for the crowd to hear before they were expecting Furnier, it comes across as a weak intro in retrospect. For the second song, "Be My Lover", Furnier and Roxie made their stage entrance, which was more significant than the actual performance of the song itself. But the band's performance of "I'm Eighteen" kicked the show into high gear, and the next four numbers (which included "No More Mr. Nice Guy", "Under My Wheels" and "School's Out") show the reunited originals in great form, with their youthful rebellious attitudes from the early-'70's intact, like they had never been away. As an encore, the band cranked out a swell performance of "Elected", the Billion Dollar Babies-era track that had evolved from their early song "Reflected". It seems unlikely that another reunion of this lineup will happen, but let's hope they do it again!

Track Listing:

1. Caught In A Dream
2. Be My Lover
3. I'm Eighteen
4. Is It My Body?
5. No More Mr. Nice Guy
6. Under My Wheels
7. School's Out
8. Elected

For the Record Store Day Drop Date in October of 2020, Rhino Records released a live double-album recorded in Scotland in 1982 during Cooper’s Special Forces tour. Live At The Apollo Theatre, Glasgow 19.02.82 was limited to 7,000 vinyl copies.

The Special Forces Band which backed Cooper for this show included two musicians from the Special Forces album: guitarist Mike Pinera and bassist Erik Scott. The other three players were blues-rock guitarist John Nitzinger, keyboardist Wayne Cook (who had previously played with Player and Steppenwolf), and drummer Jan Uvena (who went on to play with Alcatrazz).

As a result of Cooper's troubles from this time, this concert performed at Glasgow’s Apollo Theatre in February of 1982 was one of the last concerts Cooper performed until late 1986. Live At The Apollo Theatre does not quite rehabilitate Cooper’s image from this time period, but it is actually quite good, and is certainly not the freak show – at least on the audio level – that one might expect to come from that time and place.

Thanks largely to his band, Cooper comes off much better on Live At The Apollo Theatre than he did on the subterranean Special Forces. Wisely, this setlist contained only two songs from that album – or three, if you count “Generation Landslide”, which was originally recorded in 1973 by the original Alice Cooper band. Besides that and the conceptual show-opener “Who Do You Think We Are”, the only other Special Forces selection is “7 And 7 Is”, a remake of the Arthur Lee & Love song from 1967 which is often considered to have been the first heavy metal song. Cooper and his band played up the song’s metal properties and avoided its dated psychedelia, resulting in a decent hard-rock rendition which is easily superior to Cooper’s useless studio version.

That same metal edge works just right for other songs chosen from the early-‘70’s days of the original Alice Cooper band. “I’m Eighteen”, “No More Mr. Nice Guy”, “Billion Dollar Babies”, and “Under My Wheels” are all updated well with ‘80’s metal sensibilities. During the 15-minute show-closing rendition of “School’s Out”, Cooper gives momentary spotlights to his supporting players, allowing guitarist Nitzinger to show off some blues-rock licks.

Five other selections come from Cooper’s first two solo albums from the mid-‘70’s, Welcome To My Nightmare (1975) and Alice Cooper Goes To Hell (1976). The results are mixed for this subset of songs. The backing band gives an extra – and much needed – metal edge to “Go To Hell” and “Guilty”, making them better than their studio versions. Unfortunately, the ballads “Only Women Bleed” and “I Never Cry” sound only slightly less sappy in this setting – and that’s because Alice’s portrayal of himself as a troubled alcoholic rings uncomfortably true here.

And four selections came from Flush The Fashion, the Cars-like album from 1980. Those songs come across surprisingly well here. Cooper and company do well replicating the chilly and futuristic sound of "Clones" in this setting. “Model Citizen” has a punk rock attitude reminiscent of Cooper's fellow Motor City madman Iggy Pop. “Grim Facts” benefits from the band’s metal edge, and this version of “Pain” is actually somewhat reminiscent of the early Alice Cooper band’s sound.

Live At The Apollo Theatre is mainly recommended for those Cooper fans who feel that his early-'80’s fadeout period is underappreciated. For the rest of us, it does provide a welcome bright spot from this bleak time in Alice’s history.

Track Listing:

1. Who Do You Think We Are
2. Model Citizen
3. Go To Hell
4. Guilty
5. I’m Eighteen
6. Cold Ethyl
7. Only Women Bleed
8. No More Mr. Nice Guy
9. Clones (We’re All)
10. Under My Wheels
11. I Never Cry
12. 7 And 7 Is
13. Grim Facts
14. Pain
15. Billion Dollar Babies
16. Generation Landslide
17. School’s Out

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