Music throwback: Alice Cooper turns 70

In 2011, the original Alice Cooper band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Alice Cooper, as an artist, absolutely fascinates me. This Godfather of Shock Rock, born Vincent Damon Furnier, has done shows that utilize “guillotines, electric chairs, fake blood, deadly snakes, baby dolls, and dueling swords.”

The shtick seems to have developed from a need for his band to stand out. His makeup was inspired by Bette Davis in What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? and other performers. “Furnier adopted the band’s name as his own name in the 1970s and began a solo career with the 1975 concept album Welcome to My Nightmare.”

Yet he is “known for his sociable and witty personality offstage, with The Rolling Stone Album Guide calling him the world’s most ‘beloved heavy metal entertainer.'” You see that in this interview just after his good friend Glen Campbell died. He was also friends with Groucho Marx, and got pied by his good buddy Soupy Sales.

At some point after getting sober in the late 1970s, he became a born-again Christian, interesting since he was raised by a preacher. He married Sheryl Cooper on March 3, 1976 and they had three children together: Calico Cooper, Dash, and Sonora Rose.” He has replaced his addition to alcohol with a near addiction to golf.

Over the years, he’s made his art mainstream, showing up in everything from the game show Hollywood Squares to the Muppet Show to the movie Wayne’s World.

I suppose I’m less interested in his body of work, though I do enjoy the anthemic quality of those early hits. In 2011, the original Alice Cooper band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Still, I’ll have to record and watch him playing King Herod in Jesus Christ Superstar – Live! on April 1 – Easter Sunday! -on NBC.

Listen to (chart action on US Billboard charts):

Eighteen, #21 in 1971

School’s Out, #7 in 1972

Elected, #26 in 1972

No More Mr. Nice Guy, #25 in 1973

His birthday will be February 4.

Author: Roger

I'm a librarian. I hear music, even when it's not being played. I used to work at a comic book store, and it still informs my life. I won once on JEOPARDY! - ditto.

5 thoughts on “Music throwback: Alice Cooper turns 70”

  1. Mia watches the Alice Cooper episode on The Muppet Show quite often (she really digs The Muppet Show), and man, is it weird. He spends the entire episode trying to get the Muppets to sell their souls. Can you imagine any other decade but the 1970s where that would be a thing on a family variety show? The Seventies were weird, man.

    Norah wondered where he got his name, and I said I thought it was the name of a witch from back in the day. But I did tell her that if she wants to know, she could just roll up to a golf course in Scottsdale, where he spends most of his time, and ask him. I don’t know which blew her mind more – that he lives here or that he plays golf. But her mind was definitely blown.

  2. Please allow me to recommend “Hello Hooray,” a tune by Canadian songsmith Rolf Kempf, which leads off Alice’s 1973 LP Billion Dollar Babies. I was startled when I played it for the first time; it turns out that Judy Collins (!) had cut this song back in 1968, to open her Who Knows Where The Time Goes.

  3. I DO know that song, which I have on some compilation. And of course, I have that Judy album.

  4. I was never really a fan of his growing up but one of my best friends loved him. I saw him later on tv talking to someone who I can’t remember, and he was completely different than he portrayed as a singer. My opinion of him completely changed.

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