Sunday, August 21, 2011

LOVE IT TO DEATH - Alice Cooper

YEAR: 1971

LABEL: Straight/Warner Bros.

TRACK LISTING: Caught In A Dream, I'm Eighteen, Long Way To Go, Black Juju, Is It My Body, Hallowed Be My Name, Second Coming, Ballad of Dwight Fry, Sun Arise

IMPRESSIONS: After two rather sloppy psychedelic albums that failed commercially, this is the one that rocketed the band to the mainstream; most credit is usually given to producer Bob Ezrin who tightened things up. The monster hit "I'm Eighteen" was originally a much longer psychedelic jam which was shortened and tightened up into the teen angst anthem it has now become. Is it just me or is the album cover very reminiscent of Paul McCartney's BAND ON THE RUN album cover? And speaking of album covers: the original LOVE IT TO DEATH cover was altered (read: censored) because lead singer Vincent Furnier's thumb was sticking out of the zipper of his pants giving the impression that a naughty bit was on the cover. The offending digit was airbrushed out.

MY FAVOURITE TRACKS: I'm Eighteen, Long Way To Go, Black Juju, Second Coming, Ballad of Dwight Fry

FACT SHEET: LOVE IT TO DEATH is Alice Cooper's third album and the first to gain commercial success mainly due to producer Bob Ezrin's efforts. Originally issued on Frank Zappa & Herb Cohen's Straight Records label, by the time the album had become a hit it was already reissued on Warner Bros. The album was generally well-received. Critic Robert Christgau called "I'm Eighteen": "as archetypal a hard rock single as you're liable to hear in this flaccid year, or maybe ever" while Rolling Stone's critic John Mendelsohn said the album "...represents at least a modest oasis in the desert of dreary blue-jeaned aloofness served up in concert by most American rock-and-rollers". And yes, it bears mentioning that Alice Cooper is not a person; it is the name of the band (a la Jethro Tull, folks). However, bowing to the same kind of pressure which refers to the Frankenstein Monster by it's creator's name, Vincent Furnier has embraced the name as his own. While we're on the subject of incorrect names, "The Ballad of Dwight Fry" features a misspelling of the name "Dwight Frye". Frye was an actor who appeared in many of the classic Universal horror films of the 1930s and 1940s including Dracula (as Renfield) and Frankenstein (as Fritz the servant who purloins the "criminal" brain).

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