February 4 marks the 75th birthday of one of the greatest performers to grace the stage, the legendary Alice Cooper. With a career spanning five decades, the godfather of shock rock has left an indelible mark on the music industry. His vaudevillian theatrics and eccentric stage performances helped influence countless musicians, and will undoubtedly continue to do so in the future. To paraphrase Wayne’s World, “we are not worthy” to count Alice as one of the residents in the Home of SiriusXM, but we are very lucky to do so!
Join SiriusXM as we celebrate Alice Cooper’s birthday by looking back at some of his greatest and most influential hits. So, feed your Frankensteins and lay down on a “Bed of Nails” as we dive into the weird world of Alice Cooper.
If you want to hear more from the godfather of rock, tune in to Ozzy’s Boneyard (Ch. 38), and check out his interview with Eddie Trunk on Trunk Nation below.
“I’m Eighteen” (1971)
Where better to begin than with the track that started it all? The first commercially successful single released by Alice Cooper (the band), way back in 1970, “I’m Eighteen” was their first top 40 hit. The anthem served as the proof of concept for Warner Bros. to give them a full album release — the band’s third after releasing two under Frank Zappa’s Straight Records label. It’s a powerhouse track that highlights the band and the singer’s long-reaching influence. Johnny Rotten auditioned for the Sex Pistols with it and Joey Ramone famously wrote his first song using its chord pattern.
“School’s Out” (1972)
How could we not include what is arguably Cooper’s biggest song? The singer claimed to have intended to capture the joy of the school year ending in just three minutes, and he absolutely did that with this glam-rock classic. Whether it’s the instantly recognizable riff, iconic chorus, or the children’s choir echoing his words, the song is pure teenage rebelliousness. Derided upon release, with parents and teachers calling for it to be banned, the song certainly outlived that initial handwringing. “School’s Out” reached number 7 on the Billboard Hot 100, marking a career highlight for Cooper, one that was only matched by the release of the legendary “Poison” 17 years later.
“No More Mr. Nice Guy” (1973)
There’s been no shortage of controversy when it comes to Cooper’s musical persona, as our previous pick demonstrates. Written in response to the way his mother’s church group reacted to his live performances, “No More Mr. Nice Guy” was a rejection of their norms. The gloves were off with this one as Cooper calls out those who derided him due to the media’s perception of him. It’s a more musically understated song than others in his repertoire, but it’s no less great.
“School’s Out” is iconic, but “Poison” is on another level. Also peaking at number 7 on the Billboard Hot 100, and reaching number 2 on the UK Singles Chart, this is Cooper at his best. It’s a pure ‘80s power ballad but in the best way possible. There’s something inherently sleazy about the song that makes it so great, oozing intensity thanks to the raspy vocals. Combined with a roaring guitar riff that takes the track to another dimension, it’s impossible to not have “Poison” stuck in your head for days.
“Feed My Frankenstein” (1992)
If you want evidence of Cooper’s star power, look no further than his 1992 cover of Zodiac Mindwarp and the Love Reaction’s “Feed My Frankenstein.” Putting his own twist on the song, Cooper truly made it a stand-out in the process. The song also features appearances from several other legends, including Joe Satriani and Steve Vai on guitar, Mötley Crüe’s Nikki Sixx on bass, and spoken word courtesy of Elvira, Mistress of the Dark herself. You can’t help but love every minute of it!
Hear more from Alice Cooper and many more on Ozzy’s Boneyard (Ch. 38).
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