Alice Cooper (born Vincent Damon Furnier, February 4, 1948), is a heavy metal singer, musician, and composer. He is best known for his stage performances, which are often theatrical and violent, utilizing make-up, electric chairs, guillotines, decapitated human heads, fake blood, and boa constrictors.
Alice Cooper was originally just the name of Furnier's band. Furnier officially changed his own name to Alice Cooper for a highly successful solo career.
Furnier, born in Detroit and heavily influenced by The Beatles, formed a number of rock bands in the 1960s, including the Earwigs, The Spiders, and The Nazz. Furnier, upon learning that Todd Rundgren also had a band called the Nazz, changed the band's name to Alice Cooper, which at that time included guitarist Mike Bruce, guitarist Glen Buxton, bassist Dennis Dunaway, and drummer Neal Smith. After moving to California in 1968, the band enlisted Shep Gordon as their manager, and the band was soon signed to Frank Zappa's label, Straight Records - releasing two competent but outlandish albums, Pretties For You and Easy Action, to a frosty public and critical reception.
Although the band incorporated theatrics in their stage act from the outset, a chance case of press misreporting an unfortunate, unrehearsed stage routine involving Alice and a live chicken led to the band changing tack - capitalising on tabloid sensationalism and creating a new sub-genre, Shock Rock.
In 1970, the band teamed up with fledgling producer Bob Ezrin on their album etitled Love it to Death. This was the first of more than 10 Alice Cooper group and solo albums done with Ezrin who is credited with having helped to create their definitive sound. A major hit single soon followed in 1971's 'I'm Eighteen'. The band's mix of shock and glam captured a teen audience bored with bearded, denim-clad hippy bands and in the summer of 1972, Alice Cooper served up School's Out to their hungry audience, their biggest success. The album reached number two on the charts and sold over a million copies. The title song became a Top 10 hit in the US and a number one single in the UK.
Billion Dollar Babies, released in 1973, was the band's most commercially successful album, reaching no. 1 in both the US and Britain. That album's first single, 'No More Mr. Nice Guy,' became a Top 10 hit in Britain, and reached number 25 in the U.S. With a string of successful thematic, or concept, albums in the bag, the band played sell-out tours around the world - attempts to ban their shocking act by politicians and pressure groups only serving to fuel the myth of Alice Cooper and generate more audience interest.
In 1975, Cooper split amicably with his fellow band members and released his first solo album, Welcome to my Nightmare. Cooper was backed by Lou Reed's band, guitarist Dick Wagner, guitarist Steve Hunter, bassist Prakash John, keyboardist Joseph Chrowski, and drummer Penti Glan. The album was another top 10 hit for Cooper. The album featured his hit song and feminist anthem, 'Only Women Bleed', but without the old band this album marked out the direction Alice would now take - a move toward rock's mainstream.
After three further disappointing albums, in 1977 Cooper was hospitalized in a New York sanitarium for alcoholism. This may be responsible for a surprise return to form on the hard-rocking, semi-autobiographical album From The Inside. The life changing event also led Cooper, whose father was a Priest, to become a Christian. Around this time Cooper led celebrities in raising money to remodel the famous Hollywood sign in California. Cooper himself chipped in over $27,000 for the project, doing it in memory of friend and comedian Groucho Marx.
His albums from the beginning of 1980s, Flush The Fashion, Special Forces, Zipper Catches Skin, and DaDa, were not commercially successful. They were very strange and bizarre at that time, and are now considered cult classics. Cooper then released Constrictor (1986) which had more success, followed by Raise Your Fist And Yell (1987). Both Constrictor and Raise Your Fist and Yell were recorded with guitarist Kane Roberts & bassist Kip Winger, both of whom would leave the band by the end of 1987. Kane Roberts would go on as a solo artist, while Kip Formed Winger.
In 1989 he released his best-selling album Trash with the hit singles 'Poison', 'Bed Of Nails' and 'House Of Fire'.
In 1991, the album Hey Stoopid was released, and the song with same name became an anti-drug anthem. In 1992, he made a famous cameo in the movie Wayne's World, in which he discusses the history of Milwaukee in some depth. In 1994 he released The Last Temptation, which contains deeper theological thoughts.
A pause, lasting for six years, ended in 2000 with Brutal Planet. Brutal Planet is strong, dark and loud with motives from brutality of a real world without much philosophy. It was succeeded by Dragontown in 2001, which has been described by Cooper as being 'the worst town on Brutal Planet'. 2003 saw the release of The Eyes of Alice Cooper which featured his recent touring band.
Cooper received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2003. It is located at the corner of Orange Drive and Hollywood Boulevard.
Cooper continues to record and tour heavily as of January 2005.
Cooper owns a rock and roll club called Cooperstown in Arizona and Cleveland, Ohio. Cooper is also an avid golfer and also has a popular syndicated radio show called 'Nights with Alice Cooper' where classic rock and roll songs are showcased.
Many artists and rock bands claim to be fans of Cooper's, including KISS, Judas Priest, Iced Earth, Alice In Chains, U2, Guttermouth, The Rolling Stones, Iron Maiden, Yngwie J. Malmsteen, Mötley Crüe, Melvins, Tool, UFO, W.A.S.P., Michael Jackson, Megadeth, and of course Marilyn Manson, who has been called an imitation of Cooper.
Can't sleep, clown'll eat me
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