It’s Alice Cooper’s birthday; not the band, but the singer! Born Vincent Furnier in Detroit, he learned his trade in a series of fledgling groups, but began a rocket ride to the top of the 70’s Classic Rock world once the band Alice Cooper formed. In fact, the group would lodge one album at the top of the U.S. charts with “Billion Dollar Babies” in 1973. In time, Alice Cooper began to fall apart, ravaged by too many vices and too many expectations and demand by the business and its audience. In 1975 the singer marched out of the band and claimed Alice Cooper as his own name, continuing on as a solo artist. All these years later the rocker plays on!
Here are 13 Alice Cooper songs that should be part of your playlist.Don’t forget to crank these up and annoy everyone around you!
#13 FEED MY FRANKENSTEIN (1991) With a supporting cast of Steve Vai and Joe Satriani on guitars, Nikki Sixx on bass, and Elvira – “Mistress of the Dark,” this song sparked sales of Cooper’s 19th album HEY STOOPID. The song and the singer got even more juice in the “Wayne’s World” film.
#12 KILLER (1971) Title track to the band’s 4th album and first since the break-through LOVE IT TO DEATH, which had come out earlier in 1971. The birth of Alice’s guillotine stage act can be heard in this song, which travels through a captured murderer’s thoughts much like Queen did in “Bohemian Rhapsody” four years later.
#11 GENERATION LANDSLIDE (1973) An album track from Cooper’s #1 1973 album BILLION DOLLAR BABIES. Written by the entire band, this song celebrated the power of youth and its destiny to take over the world. At this point, the members were all pulling in the same direction, but that would soon change as the wheels came off during the tour to support this album.
#10 WELCOME TO MY NIGHTMARE (1975) Alice Cooper, the band, crashed and burned as Alice Cooper the singer flew free on this release. Joined by Lou Reed’s excellent touring group, Cooper crafted a concept album that also featured the likes of Vincent Price – which, when you think about it, makes perfect sense in Cooper’s macabre universe.
#9 I’M EIGHTEEN (1971) From the third, and first major-label, album LOVE IT TO DEATH.Alice Cooper signed a speculative deal with major label Warner Brothers, which agreed to release this song as a stand-alone single, testing the market. Written by the five members, the song connected, climbing to #21 in the U.S. The label was mightily impressed and agreed to let the band to record its Warner debut. Alice Cooper, the band and, later, the singer, remained with the label until 1983.
#8 HALO OF FLIES (1971) Produced by studio legend Bob Ezrin, who would go on to helm Pink Floyd’s THE WALL to a rocky conclusion, this mini-suite of stellar riffs and muscular singing was the centerpiece to Alice Cooper’s KILLER album.
#7 ELECTED (1973) Released as the first single from BILLION DOLLAR BABIES, which would come out five months later, this song peaked on the charts during election week in November 1972. Considering how heavy the song is, it’s surprising it did so well on America’s mainstream singles chart.
#6 CLONES (We’re All) (1980) There was a re-invention of Alice Cooper as the singer entered the 80’s. Embracing New Wave quirkiness over the bluesy rock of previous glory years, the FLUSH THE FASHION album championed a new direction with mixed results. This single, though, sounding quite similar to something the Cars might have come up with, did the trick, reaching #40 on the Top 40.
#5 POISON (1989) Alice Cooper’s commercial rebirth pivoted on this single and the TRASH album. It was the singers first Top 10 single in the U.S. since 1977. A great album plus relentless touring and a heightened interest in classic rock all combined to thrust Alice back into the limelight.
#4 DESPERADO (1971) The classic Spaghetti-Western turned into a song: “You’re a notch, and I’m a legend.Twenty dollars will make you die.” The gunslinger on the run, as he will be for the rest of his, probably short, life. A stunner from KILLER.
#3 THE BALLAD OF DWIGHT FRYE (1971) A suite of madness from LOVE IT DEATH which follows the flight of a straitjacketed mental hospital escapee. This song would inspire the singer to wear a straitjacket onstage and ‘murder’ a nurse, an unsettling piece of Alice Cooper’s ever-growing and elaborate stage show.
#2 UNDER MY WHEELS (1971) The beginning of Alice Cooper’s dynamic fourth album KILLER. You might think he ran over the victim in this song by accident, but it’s soon obvious that it was completely intentional. A bloody beginning to a bloody album.
#1 SCHOOL’S OUT (1972) Hung on a monstrous guitar riff from Glenn Buxton, this song and the album named after it, took the sales charts by storm in the spring of ’72. Alice Cooper captured every schoolkid’s desire and frustration from the opening guitar to the warped bell at the end.