Alice Cooper – Killer [IMPORT] – New LP
2020 European Pressing. Typically Green Noise avoids these expensive European pressings of "classic rock" LPs but...
... 50 years ago...
...Alice Cooper was a band, and shouldn't be confused with the artist of the same name. Sure, Mr. Alice Cooper is the man and was an integral part of the ACG but the two are separate, very much like Black Sabbath and Ozzy Osbourne are separate (in fact, both maintained their solo careers on the strength of their solo debut, their wildly entertaining shows, and lots of antics to keep them in the news.). But Alice Cooper was first and foremost a band. They released 7 albums in 5 years, and then broke up in 1974 (ten years after they'd first formed as the Spiders).
While they had released 3 albums before Killer, two that were panned (but are definitely worth checking out, as are show clips from that era) and the stellar Love it to Death early in 1971. It was not until the summer of 1971, that people really began to take notice, and from 1971 to 1973, they would offer some of the best shows ever to hit the stage, and some of the best albums of their time, or any time.
Love It To Death was clearly one of the best albums of 1971, in fact tied for the best with a few others. It was also one of the best albums of the 1970s, in the top 10 in fact. Amazingly, they were able to follow this up the same year with Killer, another album that was clearly one of the best of 1971, and one of the best of the 1971. It not only matched Love it to Death, it arguably did the impossible--surpassed it.
Unlike almost all the other rock bands of the early 1970s, the ACG completely ignored the blues. The opener on Killer "Under My Wheels" clearly had some maximum R&B (using horns charts to punch it home, somewhat like "Fun House" had the previous year), but this stayed away from the blues and mixed maximum R&B (aka rock and roll) with elements of soundtracks, and managed to keep the entire thing rolling strong through both sides, closing with "Dead Babies" (which was dark but was also clearly an anti-child abuse and child neglect song, as well as likely a call against people having babies if they can't take care of them) and the title track.
So many of the great underground and so-called proto-punk bands of the mid 1970s were hugely influenced by the ACG. It's interesting to listen to early interviews with some of these artists who often mention Alice Cooper and don't mention The Stooges and MC5, but over time, they are asked again and again about the latter two and finally and not dishonestly point out the influence of the latter two. The latter two were underappreciated underdogs who were amazingly mostly ignored at the time so it's great that over the years and decades, those 2 bands have gotten the notice they always deserved, but it's also important to recognize the influence of the ACG. Clearly, the UK punks of the second half of the 1970s deserve some credit for rising up The Stooges and MC5 to the top of the heap where they belonged, but it's important to note that even in England, ACG had a huge influence. Bowie was clearly listening, and Johnny Rotten recognized Killer as the greatest rock record of all time (at least that's what I've read that Lydon said in liner notes of The Life and Crimes of Alice Cooper). It's an essential listen. If you took most "classic" rock bands and put all their best songs together, it wouldn't come close to what ACG did in 1971 alone. -- winch (green noise records)