Tuesday, October 06, 2009

A Boy Named Alice

They seem pretty tame by today’s standards, but when Alice Cooper first came out in the early seventies they were considered the kings of shock rock.  You may notice I’m saying “they” and not “he”.  That’s because from 1968 until 1974 Alice Cooper was not just the stage name of vocalist Vincent Furnier, it was the collective name for the band. 

It would be wrong to say that Alice Cooper was a horror rock band, but they certainly had their share of horror rock songs.  And the band’s stage show incorporated various grisly effects like Alice being electrocuted, hung, and decapitated by a guillotine. 

Why these guys haven’t  been nominated for the Rock Hall, let alone inducted, is beyond me.  KISS is actually in the running this year, but whatever their merits as a band, KISS wouldn’t even exist as we know them if it hadn’t been for Alice Cooper’s influence. 

And Alice Cooper wasn't just a cool image and a crazy stage show.  The band’s music still holds up.  Everyone knows the well known hits like “School’s Out” and “Eighteen”, but since this is part of my month long Halloween blog-a-thon, I’m going to share a few of Cooper’s more morbid numbers.  If you’re reading this on Facebook, be sure to click on the “view original post” link to see the clips.

“Ballad of Dwight Frye” This song was on Love it to Death, but I’m not sure what year this performance is from.  Judging by Alice (the singer)’s physical appearance and style of makeup, I’m guessing it’s circa 1973, though.  Alice sings this one wearing a strait jacket.

“Under My Wheels” from 1972.  One of the band’s hits, sort of a love song, but with a weird obsessive edge to it. 

“I Love the Dead” live in 1973.  This song features the decapitation gag, which was designed by magician/skeptic James “The Amazing” Randi.  It looks more convincing that a lot of what you’ll see in horror movies of the time.

And one last one from 1973, “Sick Things”.  Snakes and general weirdness.

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