Category: alice cooper

On this day in music history: June 12, 1972 – …

On this day in music history: June 12, 1972 – “School’s Out”, the fifth album by Alice Cooper is released. Produced by Bob Ezrin, it is recorded at The Record Plant in New York City and the Alice Cooper Mansion in Greenwich, CT from February – April 1972. Having finally found their sound with the albums “Love It To Death” and “Killer”, Alice Cooper are at last ready for their close up. Their third release with producer Bob Ezrin, Alice Cooper’s manager moves them into a rented mansion, to live, rehearse and record in. The project evolves into a concept album about “lost youth after leaving school”. The title track “School’s Out” (#7 Pop) becomes the lynch pin for the album. Inspired in part by a line from a Bowery Boys movie, the song brilliantly captures the anticipation of watching the clock wind down to the end of the school year. The feeling is brilliantly projected in the sing-a-long chorus of “School’s out for Summer… School’s out forever…”. Then to drive the point home, the track ends with the sound of a school bell ringing, and creating the eerie and jarring effect of it slowing down and abruptly stopping, by grabbing the tape reels on the machine manipulating them by hand. Released as a single in late April of 1972, “School’s Out” is an instant classic, becoming Alice Cooper’s lone top ten pop hit. The single (issued in mono), differs noticeably from the stereo album mix, in that it does not feature the same school bell effect, ending on a fade rather than a dead stop like the stereo version. The concept is also incorporated into the album packaging. Including a calendar in the artwork of “Killer”, they decide on something even more elaborate for “School’s Out”. The band hire graphic artist Craig Braun, famous for helping create the iconic cover of The Rolling Stones’ “Sticky Fingers” (with a working zipper in front). The Alice Cooper LP features a cover shot of a vintage wooden school desk, with the band members having carved their names and initials into the desk top. The package is designed to open like a desk, revealing the record itself housed in a plastic inner sleeve, and wrapped in a pair of girl’s panties (made of paper and colored either pink, white, yellow or blue). It becomes instantly iconic, earning a Grammy nomination for Best Album Cover in 1973. The panties are discontinued after the initial pressing, when they’re found to be a fire hazard. The original desk, is on display at the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas.Originally released on CD in 1988, it is most recently remastered and reissued as an SHM-CD by Warner Japan in 2011. Out of print on vinyl for many years, it is reissued as a 180 gram LP by Friday Music in 2010, packaged in a standard gatefold sleeve. “School’s Out” peaks at number two on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: March 9, 1971 – …

On this day in music history: March 9, 1971 – “Love It To Death”, the third album by Alice Cooper is released. Produced by Jack Richardson and Bob Ezrin, it is recorded at RCA Studios in Chicago, IL in October – December 1970. Signed to Frank Zappa’s Straight Records imprint, Alice Cooper’s first two albums “Pretties For You” and “Easy Action” fare poorly. With one release left on their contract, they have one more chance to produce a hit, or be dropped. Unhappy in L.A., Alice Cooper relocate to their lead singer’s birthplace of Detroit. They’re inspired by the thriving scene in the Motor City, with the rock end being led by proto-punk icons like The MC5 and The Stooges. For this make or break album, they are paired with a young Canadian born producer and musician named Bob Ezrin. A first time producer and only twenty one years old at the time, Ezrin is assisted by Jack Richardson (The Guess Who). Both play vital roles in helping the band to hone their skills in the studio. Featuring songs that explore themes of post-teenage angst, with a healthy dose of S-E-X, the band find their groove. In early November of 1970, “I’m Eighteen” (#21 Pop) is released as a single to test the waters. Sung with punky attitude and confident swagger by Cooper, the song becomes an instant classic. “Love It To Death” proves to be a major game changer, as it propels the young band into rock stardom. For the accompanying tour, the band create the first of many highly theatrical shows that become their calling card. Donning ghoulish make up on his face, the flamboyant Cooper is dragged out on stage in a straitjacket by an actress dressed as a nurse, before breaking free of the restraints and hurling it into the audience. The high energy show also includes a mock execution of the singer, after being placed in an electric chair. The concerts create a huge sensation around Alice Cooper, turning them into a must see concert draw. It spins a second single with “Caught In A Dream” (#94 Pop). First run copies of the album feature a black and white photo of the band, with Cooper’s thumb protruding out of his jump suit. Warner Bros airbrushes the thumb out of re-printed covers, when it looks like the singer is exposing his penis. Initial copies are also pressed using the Straight Records label, but are subsequently re-pressed on Warner Bros. In time, “Love It To Death” becomes a highly influential album, also inspiring punk rock icons like Johnny Rotten, The Ramones and guitarist Pat Smear (The Germs, Nirvana, Foo Fighters). First released on CD in 1987, it is remastered and reissued in 2011. It is reissued as a 180 gram LP in 2009, restoring the original uncensored cover art. It is reissued by Rhino Records in 2017, as part of their Rocktober vinyl series, pressing the limited edition release on white vinyl. “Love It To Death” peaks at number thirty five on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

On this day in music history: February 25, 197…

On this day in music history: February 25, 1973 – “Billion Dollar Babies”, the sixth studio album by Alice Cooper is released. Produced by Bob Ezrin, it is recorded at the Galecie Estate in Greenwich, CT, The Record Plant in New York City, and Morgan Studios in London, UK from August 1972 – January 1973. Reveling in the success of their previous album “School’s Out”, the follow up is influenced by what Alice and the band experience in the period after their commercial breakthrough, along with the macabre “shock rock” that has brought them fame and notoriety. It becomes their most successful album and is supported by an elaborately staged tour that cements their reputation as a top draw live act. The album spins off four singles including “No More Mr. Nice Guy” (#25 Pop) and the title track (#57 Pop). The original LP package is designed to look like an over sized snakeskin wallet (with embossing and textured to simulate real snakeskin), and comes with insert of a giant “billion dollar bill” that features a picture of the band on it. The album is remastered and reissued on CD in 2001, as double disc deluxe edition, with the second disc including several live recordings from the tour in support of “Babies”. Many of these bonus tracks have previously appeared on a DVD-A disc of the album released the previous year, featuring a new 5.1 multi-channel remix, rather than the original quadraphonic stereo mix issued in  1974. The album is also reissued on 180 gram vinyl by Rhino Records in 2010. Another LP release pressed on marbled green, yellow and orange vinyl limited to 3,000 copies is released in October of 2016, as part of Rhino’s “Rocktober” reissue series. The limited pressing sells out quickly, turning into a sought after collector’s item. “Billion Dollar Babies” spends one week at number one on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

On this day in music history: February 25, 197…

On this day in music history: February 25, 1973 – “Billion Dollar Babies”, the sixth studio album by Alice Cooper is released. Produced by Bob Ezrin, it is recorded at the Galecie Estate in Greenwich, CT, The Record Plant in New York City, and Morgan Studios in London, UK from August 1972 – January 1973. Reveling in the success of their previous album “School’s Out”, the follow up is influenced by what Alice and the band experience in the period after their commercial breakthrough, along with the macabre “shock rock” that has brought them fame and notoriety. It becomes their most successful album and is supported by an elaborately staged tour that cements their reputation as a top draw live act. The album spins off four singles including “No More Mr. Nice Guy” (#25 Pop) and the title track (#57 Pop). The original LP package is designed to look like an over sized snakeskin wallet (with embossing and textured to simulate real snakeskin), and comes with insert of a giant “billion dollar bill” that features a picture of the band on it. The album is remastered and reissued on CD in 2001, as double disc deluxe edition, with the second disc including several live recordings from the tour in support of “Babies”. Many of these bonus tracks have previously appeared on a DVD-A disc of the album released the previous year, featuring a new 5.1 multi-channel remix, rather than the original quadraphonic stereo mix issued in  1974. The album is also reissued on 180 gram vinyl by Rhino Records in 2010. Another LP release pressed on marbled green, yellow and orange vinyl limited to 3,000 copies is released in October of 2016, as part of Rhino’s “Rocktober” reissue series. The limited pressing sells out quickly, turning into a sought after collector’s item. “Billion Dollar Babies” spends one week at number one on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.