Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Goodies from GFreedom's Music Collection # 18

                          ALICE COOPER: Love it to Death (1971)
  The Detroit-born Vincent Furnier took the name Alice Cooper for his band at the start and later for himself, after a 17th century witch.
  The band was formed in the mid-60's, but it was 1968 when they were named as 'Alice Cooper'. The band moved to Los Angeles and became known in the underground rock community for its theatrical horror shows. Frank Zappa discovered them, and offered the band a contract in his record company, on which they released their first 2 albums 'Pretties for You' (1969) and Easy Action (1970), but without any success. Everything seemed to go wrong, until they were discovered by the 19-year old Bob Ezrin, when he saw them performing live in 'Max's Kansas City'. He convinced the band to become their producer, despite that Furnier was calling him as a 'nineteen-year-old Jewish hippie'. Bob Ezrin devoted himself to the band, working with them up to 10-12 hours per day, trying to make their sound more appealing and 'acceptable'.
  With the help of Ezrin they recorded a few songs, but the failure of their previous albums was a "barrier" they had to overcome in order to be able to release the new one. The record company was refusing to release the album, and they finally agreed on releasing a single, and if the sales were satisfying, they would proceed with the album. Among their recordings was an 8-minute-long jam named 'I wish I was eighteen again', on which Bob Ezrin was focused on. After hours and hours of rehearsing,
recording, mixing etc, Ezrin managed to present the 3-minute-long 'I'm eighteen' (including 'Is it my body' as B-Side'). 'I'm eighteen' became famous, climbing up to No.21 in the singles charts, and received a massive airplay from the radio stations across the country. (It also reached at No.7 in Canada). After that, the record company agreed to release the band's next album.
 'Love it to Death' was released on the 8th of March 1971, and it was the first of a series of great albums the band released until their break up in 1974. ('Killer - 1971', 'School's Out - 1972', 'Billion Dollar Babies - 1973', and 'Muscle of Love- 1973').
  The album includes 9 songs, and almost all of them are very good compositions. The main style is a rather dark and gloomy rock, which includes bizarre and provocative lyrics in many occasions. The first 3 songs are straightforward American Rock, followed by the 9-minute-long 'Black Juju' which is one of the album's strongest moments. Black Juju was deeply influenced by The Doors and Pink Floyd's early works.
 The B-side opens with 'Is it my Body' which was the B-side on the single 'I'm eighteen' as I mentioned above. Next comes the 2.30-minute long 'Hallowed Be My Name' which in my opinion is one of the album's "weakest" songs. But what comes next can be easily included among the band's finest moments ever! 'Second Coming' at first, and especially 'The Ballad of Dwight Fry' are both incredible compositions and a "must" in Alice Cooper's live performances even in our days.
'The Ballad of Dwight Fry' is a dramatic piece about the inmate of a mental asylum, and it opens with a young girl's voice asking her mommy if her daddy 'will ever come home', supported by a childlike piano background. This part is kind of chilling to be honest. Alice Cooper himself is "playing" the role of the father, and his performance is stunning to say the least!
 The album's last song is a cover version of 'Sun Arise' by the Australian entertainer Rolf Harris, but it doesn't add anything more in the album.
 'Love it to Death' achieved good sales in USA Canada and UK (mostly), climbing on the album charts in these countries, but it received mixed critics. Despite that, the band's fame was suddenly increased, and it will continue to grow with every new album in the years to come.
  'Love it to Death' is considered as one of the foundational albums for Heavy Metal and Punk, having influenced many groups and musicians. The Punk-Rock band 'Ramones', were often referring to 'Love it to Death' as one of their main influences during their early years. Vocalist Joey Ramone based the group's first song 'I Don't Care' on the chords of the main riff to 'I'm eighteen'. Another example is Sex Pistol's song 'Seventeen' which came as a response to 'I'm eighteen', and it is also said that Johnny Rotten auditioned for the Sex Pistols singing the Alice Cooper's song.
There are numberless examples of how influential and important album 'Love it to Death' was, but there is no meaning of writting them down.
 I will conclude this post by saying that for me 'Love it to Death' is a "must" in the discography of every Rock fan, together with 'Killer' and 'Billion Dollar Babies'.
                            If I had to rate it I would give 8 out of 10.
Thank you for reading.