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Updated by Love It Loud on Jul 09, 2013
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Top Ten Most Underrated Alice Cooper Songs


The most disturbing and inspired moment from Alice Cooper's breakthrough album Love It to Death, Ballad of Dwight Fry was their tribute to cult genre actor Dwight Frye, whose supporting roles in the Universal classics Dracula, Frankenstein and The Invisible Man turned him into a horror icon during the 1930s, before his life and career was cut short from a heart attack at the age of forty-four. While often billed under co-stars like Bela Lugosi and Colin Clive, Frye (misspelt in the song title) often gave the most memorable performances, playing the devoted-yet-incompetent sidekick who assists their master in their devious plots. Co-written with guitarist Michael Bruce Ballad of Dwight Fry is still included regularly in Cooper's live shows.


"Killer is the best rock album ever made," declared Sex Pistols frontman John Lydon in his introduction to the 1999 box-set The Life and Crimes of Alice Cooper. "I realised that I never really wanted to make rock music because I thought those records were the best it could be!" The standout moment from Killer, the second to be produced by Bob Ezrin and the album that would spawn the hit Under My Wheels, was the eight-and-a-half-minute epic Halo of Flies, a song which makes the most of the band's rhythm section by allowing drummer Neal Smith and bassist Dennis Dunaway an instrumental break where they were given the chance to shine.




1977's Lace and Whiskey and often considered by many fans to be the beginning of the downward spiral that Cooper would not recover from until his resurgence in the mid-1980s, yet the album, which would for the most part dispense with the hard rock of his earlier work and venture further towards introspective ballads, is an overlooked gem. While tracks such as I Never Wrote Those Songs demonstrated that Cooper would still write honest lyrics, it would be the closing track, My God, which would prove that Cooper was still capable of creating powerful music.


By 1980, Bob Ezrin had become a distant memory and Cooper had sunken further into an anchor-indused haze. Always conscious of changing musical tastes, Cooper decided to flirt with the growing New Wave scene on his next album, Flush the Fashion. While disjointed, the David Carron-penned Clones (We're All) would provide Cooper with his catchiest single in years. Working with producer Roy Thomas Baker, whose prior credits included Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody, Flush the Fashion saw Cooper venturing further away from his earlier theatrical sound.


Originally featured on the 1973 classic Billion Dollar Babies (something that is referenced in the lyrics) and initially written as Son of Billion Dollar Babies, Generation Landslide was written with bandmates Bruce, Smith, Dunaway and guitarist Glen Buxton. Among the themes touched upon in the song is substance abuse, as was evident with the line, "Alcohol and razor blades and poison and needles" The song would later resurface in a live format on Cooper's 1981 album Special Forces.


Cooper has often stated that the early 1980s was the worse part of his life and career and that he has no memory of recording several of the albums that were released during this era. The make-up was long gone and his music had begun to lack focus, 1983's DaDa would be his final offering before finally embracing sobriety and returning three years later with his long-awaited comeback Constrictor. Yet despite being in a dark place at that time, Cooper was still able to flaunt his dark humour with songs such as I Love America, a scathing satire on his native country, mocking everything from from the United States' fear of Communism to its obsession with consumerism.


Opening the highly-anticipated Welcome 2 My Nightmare, the sequel to the most acclaimed and revered album of Cooper's long and successful career, the song's place in the narrative of the album sees the protagonist falling asleep before the nightmare begins. In order to feel familiar and a continuation from the first Nightmare album, the song began with the same piano melody as Steven, which had graced his 1975 classic. At the time of Welcome 2 My Nightmare's release, Cooper described the song as, "One of our classic ballads of all time."


Even before returning to Welcome to My Nightmare and its protagonist, Steven, with his long-awaited sequel, Cooper had teased fans with subtle references throughout his career, most notably with Wind-Up Toy, the closing track from his 1991 album Hey Stoopid. Told from the point-of-view of Steven, who is locked away in a mental institution and is considered a disappointment by his parents, the song featured an appearance from guitar legend Joe Satriani, who would also perform on several other tracks on the album, including the hit singles Hey Stoopid and Feed My Frankenstein.


Cooper's recurring protagonist Steven would become the focal point of his 1994 album The Last Temptation, another concept album that centres around the young boy and a carnival showman. While his previous two albums, Trash and Hey Stoopid, had both featured appearances from the likes of Jon Bon Jovi and Steve Vai, The Last Temptation, one of Cooper's most overlooked albums, would would include two duets with Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell. The opening track, Sideshow, sees Cooper returning to his sound from the early 1970s, making a refreshing and nostalgic change after the excessive hair metal influences of the 1980s.


While much of Cooper's lyrics involve fantasy and nightmarish imagery, the inspiration behind his 1978 album and its title track came from a personal experience the previous year, when his alcoholism and self-destruction had caused his wife and manager to stage an intervention and admit him to the Cornell Medical Center in White Plains, New York. It would be here that Cooper would be forced to face his demons, many of which would find their way into his songs. "I was thinking of it as a diary of what goes on in a mental hospital," he confessed to Classic Rock in 2011.