70s Artist Watch: Alice Cooper





Long before we entered the sensational 1970s, Vincent Furnier joined a group called Earwigs, a Beatles type group, and after a few name changes to the group, Vincent was inspired to call the group a name ”Alice Cooper”, who was Alice a person or a band?. The demon style dress was inspired by witches, Barbarella the film with Jane Fonda, also a bit of Emma Peel from the cult British TV programme "The Avengers" which was a huge hit in the US, and was part of that decades "British Invasion”, following on the tail end of the 1960s Beatles, Rolling stones and others.




The glam style, the 70s fashion at the time, helped the Alice Cooper image, and he was a very big hit in 1970 at Strawberry fields Festival in Canada, this is where the shocking stage acts became a "selling " point, and sex and drinks were certainly part of the bands make up. Shocking and sex made people watch, including record promoters, who saw singles and tours. And money.

The beginning of the 1970s was not an immediate success for the band, albums did not sell, and they had a small US hit with "Eighteen" which was released in 1970. In 1971 "Love To Death" was an album hit, no. 35 in the US charts, thanks to the help of producer Bob Ezrin.

The stage shows got more graphic, with mock death, torture, simulated sex acts, and despite this Warner Bros signed them up, with hits coming in 1971 that included "Under My Wheels", and the stage shows progressed to axing baby dolls heads on stage, and bringing on snakes. Not what other 70s music artists were doing for sure.

The breakthrough hit for sure was "Schools Out" in 1972, a No.1 hit in UK, and when Alice appeared on Top of the Pops, the whole nation spoke about it the next day. For me I played the record so loud on my radio at school that the headmaster confiscated it, maybe the lyrics were too much for him. Hope he enjoyed my state of the art radio and cassette player.

Needless to say people became offended and organisations wanted him banned, but that just made him a bigger star . It was like the anti anthem for everyone at school, and it was.
Some of the Lyrics
All the girls and boys
Makin all that noise
'Cause they found new toys
Well we can't salute ya
Can't find a flag
If that don't suit ya
That's a drag
School's out for summer
School's out forever
School's been blown to pieces



Here is Alice Cooper on The Muppet Show.









In 1972 Alice released the album Billion Dollar Babies that included "No More Mr Nice Guy" a record said to be inspired by the way his mother’s church reacted to his stage shows, amazingly this record was also covered by Pat Boone.












Some of the Lyrics

I used to be such a sweet, sweet thing
Till they got a hold of me
I opened doors for little old ladies
I helped the blind to see
I got no friends 'cause they read the papers
They can't be seen with me
And I'm gettin' real shot down
And I'm feelin' mean
No more Mister Nice Guy
No more Mister Clean
No more Mister Nice Guy
They say he's sick, he's obscene



From the same album came "Elected", a bigger hit in the UK than in US, and is well remembered for its pop promo film, not yet called video.

Here is a performance of that Alice Cooper  
classic.

The Alice Cooper Guitar Chords


Even with his "outrageous" persona, he was a firm favourite with the kids from the 1970s, and even appeared in the cult worldwide hits "The Muppet Show", not sure what Miss Piggy made of him.

His tours were huge sell-outs, and the graphic shows including be-headings, keeping the macabre element uppermost in the audiences minds. His shows became cult,but most of us never got to see it, but we read what the papers said about it.

In 1974 the group had their last hit "Teenage Lament 74" which was a great number in itself, but it felt like the end, as it sounded like a glam rock record and not the Alice Cooper music of the last few years.

He missed out on his record "
The Man with the Golden Gun" being the Bond theme for that year, it was replaced by Lulu singing another version, but with the same title. But he did appear in several editions of Hollywood Squares, and recorded a Greatest Hits album too. and several US documentaries, but he certainly rocked the music of the 1970s.

In 1976 as a solo singer with the same name, he released an amazing change of direction of a record called "Only Women Bleed." He wrote this hit and it was from the album "Welcome to My Nightmare", the song dealt with women in abusive marriages. The concept album aired in a US tv special featuring Vincent Price who died in 1993.The song was also a hit in the UK at the same time by Julie Covington, her of the "Dont cry for me Argentina" fame.





Some of the lyrics
 Man's got his woman to take his seed
He's got the power - oh
She's got the need
She spends her life through pleasing up her man
She feeds him dinner or anything she can

She cries alone at night too often
He smokes and drinks and don't come home at all
Only women bleed
Only women bleed
Only women bleed

 Alice Coper guitar chords


But the drinking was now becoming excessive and after a fall from stage in Vancouver, it was obvious he was out of control, and Cooper booked into a New York sanatorium, his experience there inspired "From the Inside".

Alice Cooper is still around playing golf, and doing shows, and is still after all this time remembered for the shock of the 1970s.



Alice Cooper TV interview from 1973.

Singles of the 1970s
1970 "Shoe Salesman"
"I'm Eighteen"
1971 "Caught in a Dream"
"Under My Wheels"
1972 "Be My Lover"
"School's Out"
"Elected"
1973 "Hello Hooray"
"Slick Black Limousine"
"No More Mr. Nice Guy"
"Billion Dollar Babies"
" Halo of Flies"
"Teenage Lament '74"
1974 "Muscle of Love"
1975 "Only Women Bleed"
"Department of Youth"
"Welcome to My Nightmare"
1976 "Wish you Were Here"
"I Never Cry"
1977 " You and Me"
"(No More) Love At Your Convenience"
1978 "How You Gonna See Me Now?"
1979 "From the Inside"

Comments

  1. Only women bleed? I defer to Mr. Garrison on South Park:

    "I don't trust anything that bleeds for 5 days a month and doesn't die." :-)

    ReplyDelete

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