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Alice Cooper original band
- this is the original band, not the soloist
- Me, Myself, and I
- This is a page about Alice's original band, not the soloist.
Alice Cooper was originally a band consisting of Vincent Furnier on vocals and harmonica, lead guitarist Glen Buxton, Michael Bruce on rhythm guitar, Dennis Dunaway on bass guitar, and drummer Neal Smith. The original Alice Cooper band broke into the international music mainstream with 1971's monster hit "I'm Eighteen" from the album Love it to Death, which was followed by the even bigger single "School's Out" in 1972. The band reached their commercial peak with the 1973 album Billion Dollar Babies.
Vincent Furnier/Alice Cooper (vocals & harmonica)
Glen Buxton (lead guitar)
Michael Bruce (rhythm guitar & keyboards)
Dennis Dunaway (bass)
Neal Smith (drums)
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By mid-1970, after two failed albums, the Alice Cooper group was teamed up with fledgling producer Bob Ezrin for their third album, the last in their contract with Straight Records, and the band's last chance to create a hit. That hit soon came with the single "I'm Eighteen", released in November of 1970, which reached number 21 in the Billboard Hot 100. The album that followed was Love it to Death, released in February 1971, which proved to be their breakthrough record, reaching number 35 in the US Billboard 200 album charts. Love it to Death would be the first of eleven Alice Cooper group and solo albums produced by Ezrin, who is seen as being instrumental in helping to create and develop the band's definitive sound. The band's trailblazing mix of glam and increasingly violent stage theatrics stood out in stark contrast to the bearded, denim-clad hippie bands of the time. As Cooper himself has stated: "We were into fun, sex, death and money when everybody was into peace and love. We wanted to see what was next. It turned out we were next, and we drove a stake through the heart of the Love Generation".
Sporting tight sequined costumes by the prominent rock fashion designer Cindy Dunaway (sister to band member Neal, and wife to band member Dennis) and stage shows that involved mock fights and Gothic torture modes being imposed on Cooper, the androgynous stage role now presented a villainous side which posed a potential threat to modern society. With Cooper needing to be punished for his immoral ways, the first of a number of methods of execution were incorporated into the show - the Electric Chair.
The success of the band's single, the album, and their tour of 1971, which saw their first and hugely successful tour of Europe (audience members reportedly included Elton John and David Bowie), was enough encouragement for Warner Bros. to offer them a new multi-album contract.
Their follow-up album Killer, released in late 1971, continued the commercial success of Love It To Death and included further single success with "Under My Wheels" and "Be My Lover" in early 1972, and "Halo Of Flies", which became a Top 10 hit in the Netherlands. Thematically, Killer expanded on the villainous side of Cooper's androgynous stage role, with its music becoming the soundtrack to the group's morality-based stage show, which by then featured a Boa Constrictor hugging Cooper onstage and the murderous axe chopping of bloodied 'dead babies'. In addition, the method of execution had developed into death by hanging - The Gallows. By mid-1972 the Alice Cooper show had become infamous, but what the band really needed was a big hit single.
That summer saw the release of the appropriately titled single "School's Out". It went Top 10 in the US, was a #1 single in the UK, and remains a staple on classic rock radio to this day. Their hit had arrived. School's Out the album reached #2 on the US charts and sold over a million copies. The band now relocated to their new mansion in Greenwich, Connecticut. With Cooper's on stage androgynous persona completely replaced with brattiness and machismo, the band's traveling carnival of filth and terror cemented their success with subsequent tours in the US and Europe, and winning over devoted fans in their droves while at the same time horrifying parents and outraging the social establishment. In England, Mary Whitehouse, a well known campaigner for values of morality and decency, succeeded in having the BBC ban the video for "School’s Out" and Member of Parliament Leo Abse petitioned Home Secretary Reginald Maudling to have the group banned altogether from performing in the country. Instead, the Alice Cooper band proceeded to go from strength to strength. They were selected to be the first band to appear on the television series ABC In Concert in September 1972, and in February 1973 Billion Dollar Babies appeared, which was the band's most commercially successful album. It reached #1 in both the US and UK, and is
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