Saturday, March 5, 2011


In the next few weeks, I'll be posting testimonials to this year's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees by fans. I've got a friend whose life was changed by Alice Cooper, and I am really looking forward to reading what he has to say about Alice.

But right now, I'm gonna give a little bit of a guide for people who are just getting into Alice.  By the way, the induction will honor Alice Cooper the band, not just the man. So, it's Alice (aka Vincent Furnier), guitarists Glen Buxton and Michael Bruce, bassist Dennis Dunaway and drummer Neal Smith. With no disrespect to Mr. Furnier, the best music Alice Cooper made, in my mind, was with the original band.

The Compilation: Mascara and Monsters: The Best Of Alice Cooper. It came out in 2001, but only goes up to his '80s era comeback single, "Poison."  Still, if you want to get just one Alice collection, this is probably the one you want.

The Classic Albums: 1971's Love It To Death is a garage rock classic. It has one of the band's biggest hits, "I'm Eighteen," but it also has the more epic "The Ballad Of Dwight Fry," which showed the ambitious direction Furnier would later take his music in.  Later in 1971, they released Killer, another classic, which has "Under My Wheels." It's a great hard rock song, but the horn section shows that Alice wasn't really conforming to any rules of hard rock. 1972's School's Out had more of a Broadway/showtunes type influence.  1973's Billion Dollar Babies is also incredible. Finally, 1975's Welcome To My Nightmare is the first album that didn't feature the original group, and is probably the best post-group album.

The Box Set: The Life And Crimes of Alice Cooper, a 4 disc set, came out in 1999, and covers Furnier's entire career up until then, including his pre-Alice Cooper bands The Spiders and The Nazz (not the same one that Todd Rundgren was in).  It has hits, album tracks, previously unreleased stuff and rarities. The book that comes with it is awesome: there's a great forward by John Lyndon, and testimonials from Penn Jilette, Wes Craven, John Carpenter, Slash, Elton John and Bono. If you're looking to get into Alice and want to drop a bit of cash, this is the way to go.

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