Alice Cooper released their first album for Warner Brothers in March of 1971! Alice Cooper – the band, consisted of Michael Bruce [guitar], Dennis Dunaway [bass], Glen Buxton [guitar], Neal Smith [drums], and Vincent Furnier -aka Alice [vocals]. Love It To Death was the band’s 3rd album, after their first 2 albums had only been issued on Frank Zappa’s Straight / Bizarre label. Those albums were commercial flops, yielded no hit singles or songs that would last in the set-list beyond 1971. But, that’s not to say that neither Pretties For You or Easy Action don’t have their fans – there are a few memorable songs to longtime fans on each, with “Reflected” & “Living” [both issued as the single A&B], and tracks like “Shoe Salesman”, “Mr And Misdemeanor”, and “Beautiful Flyaway” from Easy Action. Heck, the 2nd album is a fairly underrated gem in the AC catalogue. Anyway…. Seeing the success that Canadian band The Guess Who was having with singles, the band’s management eventually persuaded Jack Richardson of Nimbus 9 Productions to produce the band, along with Bob Ezrin, who worked under Richardson. Ezrin would refine the band’s sound, with the band doing a great job at penning those catchy & memorable 2 and a half to 3 minute rockers, which made for a few good potential singles, IMO. The results of working under Ezrin were immediate with the hit single “I’m Eighteen”, released late in 1970, and which became a hit in the spring of 1971- reaching #21 in the US, and #7 in Canada! It was the anthem for those turning that age and crossing in to adulthood. And in the summer of 1971 both Ontario and the state of Michigan lowered their drinking ages to 18!
And although that would be the album’s only major hit single, it put the band in the album charts where it made the Top 40 in Canada, the USA, and the UK. As well Alice Cooper were on their way to become one of the biggest Hard-rock acts of the 70s, along with tales of their stage theatrics – they’d become huge, featuring in the major music magazines, and newspapers wherever they played. The album’s first track “Caught In A Dream” [penned by Michael Bruce] was issued as the next single, but just broke the Top 100 in the US. This is my favorite song on the album, and some of Alice’s best lyrics – “You know I need a houseboat and I need a plane / I need a butler and a trip to Spain / I need everything The world owes me / I tell that to myself And I agree” . The B-side to “I’m Eighteen” was “Is It My Body”, another fan favorite, and [like “18”] was also co-written by the entire band.
Love It To Death would include cool rock t in “Long Way To Go” [Bruce] and “Hallowed Be Thy Name” [Smith], and there was “Second Coming” [by Alice] featured Ezrin on piano and a heavy marching drum with Alice singing some biblical words – Time is getting closer / I read it on a poster / fanatical exposers on corners prophecy / It would be nice to walk upon the water / to talk again to angels at my side / I just come back to show you all my words are golden / so have no gods before me – I’m the light. – I often wonder what inspired Alice to write this one, baring in mind, he generally avoided any serious lyrics about religion [until later in his solo career]. “Second Coming” would segue in to the band’s tribute to American actor Dwight Frye in “The Ballad Of Dwight Fry”. Frye often portrayed villains and characters with mental issues; he died at the age of 44. “Black JuJu” [penned by Dennis Dunaway] was a lengthy track where Alice would quietly repeat the lines “the body needs rest”, as if to hypnotize the listener, before screaming at them to “wake up”. The album ended with a rock arrangement of the 1962 hit “Sun Arise”, by Australian Rolf Harris; this song was used as the band’s show opener back when they went out on tour for this album.
Love It To Death featured a black & white jacket with a photo of the band on the cover with Alice wearing a robe. Originally, Alice’s thumb stuck out in the robe, so fearing it could be seen as something else subsequent prints of the album airbrushed the thumb out. “Eighteen” would go on to become one of Alice Cooper’s most loved classics, and would remain in the band’s live set, as well as Alice’s solo show permanently. “The Ballad Of Dwight Fry” & “Is It My Body” would return to the live show many times over the years, and in 2000 Alice brought back “Caught In A Dream” to the live show.
This album was the beginning of the band’s reign in the early ’70s, with a string of hit singles, and 5 big selling albums [3 of them Top 10], which they peaked with Billion Dollar Babies in ’73. Love It To Death remains a favorite for many early Alice Cooper fans.
(2) Ballad of Dwight Fry – YouTube
Alice Produced By Richardson
TORONTO -Canadian producer
Jack Richardson recently completed his first sessions with Warner's Alice Cooper. Richardson, who also cuts the Guess Who, was aided in this assignment by Bob Ezrin of Nimbus 9. An album. "Love It-to Death,"
is to be released in mid- February, and a single, "18," is already picking up strong airplay in both the U.S. and Canada. Alice Cooper will be headlining Toronto's new Fillmore Market on Jan. 26. Richardson was hired directly by Warner Bros. in the U.S., making it one of the first occasions where a U.S. label has assigned a Canadian producer to an album project.
Also check out:
Bob Ezrin Radio Interview – 2013 – YouTube
(2) Review of Alice Cooper’s “Love It To Death” album (1971) – YouTube
(2) Squat Cobbler 9: Alice Cooper – Love It To Death (album review) – YouTube
The 10 best Alice Cooper songs | Louder (loudersound.com)
Snakes! Guillotines! Electric Chairs! — Dennis Dunaway
ALICE COOPER, LOVE IT TO DEATH (Straight, WS 1883). – The Vinyl Press