|Muscle of Love|
|Studio album by|
|Released||November 20, 1973|
|Studio||Sunset Sound, Hollywood; Record Plant, New York and The Cooper Mansion, Greenwich, Connecticut|
|Genre||Hard rock, glam rock, art rock|
|Producer||Jack Richardson, Jack Douglas|
|Alice Cooper chronology|
Muscle of Love is the seventh and final studio album by rock band Alice Cooper, released in 1973.
Cooper stated in an interview at the time of recording that the album marked a return to a basic rock sound. "It's not complicated in any sense and there's not a lot of theatricality on it. It's very basic rock and roll throughout." Cooper further explained, " Billion Dollar Babies was a studio effort all the way. So was School's Out . It was just so clean that after a few times of hearing it myself, it had no mystery to it. I really wanted this one to have more guts to it. More balls."
Muscle of Love is the first Alice Cooper album without Bob Ezrin as producer since the pre-stardom Easy Action . The explanation given at the time was that Ezrin was recovering from illness.However, bassist Dennis Dunaway revealed in a 2011 interview that the band split with the producer during an acrimonious rehearsal in which guitarist Michael Bruce stood up to Ezrin and refused to change the arrangement of "Woman Machine". Jack Richardson and Jack Douglas stepped in to share co-production duties. Author Bob Greene described his participation in the album's recording sessions, and his experiences touring with the band, in his 1974 book Billion Dollar Baby.
Dunaway recalled the album sessions as being very difficult. "The problems on that album were that we could tell that everything was being pulled out from underneath us. As hard as we tried to get it back to where it once was, we had that sinking feeling going on. We wanted to rekindle what the band was about but there was just too much exhaustion by then."
In a contemporary interview with Circus magazine, Cooper said that a loose concept of "urban sex habits" developed during the album's recording.The title of "Big Apple Dreamin' (Hippo)' refers to the Hippopotamus club of New York City which the band used to frequent. "Never Been Sold Before" is the retort of a prostitute to the man she is supporting, and the title track is, according to Cooper, about "sexual awakenings". "It's about the kid who just learned how to masturbate, and what all those dirty books his father used to hide are all about." "Woman Machine" is a science fiction-themed song dating back to the band's early years and is, as Cooper explained, "basically a chauvinistic song. It's about a female robot, like Julie Newmar was on that TV program with Bob Cummings. If we had women robots, they could do anything, even sexual things, just by changing their tubes."
Not all of the songs have a sexual theme; "Crazy Little Child" tells the story of a youth criminal, and in "Teenage Lament '74", a teenager fails to find happiness even when doing everything to try to be "hip"."Man With the Golden Gun" was written with the intention of having it appear on the soundtrack of the then-upcoming James Bond film of the same name. Cooper recalled in a 2011 interview:
It was supposed to be the Bond theme, but it actually came in a day too late, and by the time they heard it, they'd already signed for Lulu's song. I went, "You're gonna take Lulu over this?" [Laughs.] 'Cause it was perfect for The Man With The Golden Gun. It had helicopters, it had machine guns—it had the Pointer Sisters, Ronnie Spector, and Liza Minnelli doing background vocals! We went to every single one of those John Barry albums to try and invent the perfect James Bond song, and even Christopher Lee, who played Scaramanga in the movie, said, "Oh, man, why did we take the Lulu song? This song is the one!" [Laughs.] So, yeah, we lost out on that one, but I still put it on the album. I said, "I don't care, I'm going to do a James Bond track no matter what."
Though credited as lead guitarist on Muscle of Love, Glen Buxton was "not invited" to play on the album according to drummer Neal Smith, Cooper, and others. His inclusion in the liner notes was mainly due to management's concerns about the band's image with fans. Smith stated the absence was due to "problems that Glen was having with the demons of rock and roll at that particular time ... really, Billion Dollar Babies and Muscle of Love, Glen didn't really play on the (latter) album. By hook or by crook, the albums had to be put out." The band sought out other guitar players to fill in, including Dick Wagner and fellow Cortez High School alum Mick Mashbir.
There is an additional suggestion that a session drummer was used on part of the album. Band member Michael Bruce refers, in his autobiography, to producer Jack Douglas bringing in a drummer specifically to play on "Crazy Little Child".This report is given some added support by the claims of session drummer Allan Schwartzberg, who says he played on several tracks.
In place of the usual record jacket, the original LP was packaged in a shallow corrugated cardboard carton, with a "stain" intentionally printed along the bottom. On the inner sleeve, the band members appear dressed as sailors. In the "before" daytime shot, they are about to enter a nude wrestling emporium; in the "after" nighttime shot on the other side of the sleeve, they appear beaten and sprawled out on the street, having been thrown out of the club, the joke being that the live nude female wrestler was a gorilla with a blonde wig.The front of the album cover design agency Pacific Eye & Ear was temporarily redecorated to serve as the setting for the photo session.
The original release also included a paper "book cover" sheet that could be folded and used as a book jacket. A photo on the sheet depicts the band members in their sailor uniforms looking dejected while peeling potatoes.
|Christgau's Record Guide||C|
Muscle of Love received an uneven reception from critics. Writing in Rolling Stone , Lenny Kaye gave the album a mixed review, describing its content as "hit-or-miss" and believing that the group had lost focus with regard to its musical direction.Phonographic Record published a negative review and suggested that the group had been unable to overcome the loss of Ezrin. Creem , however, gave the album a positive review, calling it "a magnificent effort".
Although Muscle of Love went to No. 10 on the Billboard 200 and earned a gold certification, it was considered something of a commercial disappointment in light of its predecessor Billion Dollar Babies having reached No. 1 and attaining platinum.
Muscle of Love's songs have been rarities at Alice Cooper's subsequent concerts: apart from the title track (performed erratically in 1989, 1997 and since 2004) plus four performances of "Teenage Lament '74" in 1996 and 2004, nothing from Muscle of Love has been performed since 1974. "Never Been Sold Before", "Crazy Little Child", "Man with the Golden Gun" and "Woman Machine" have never been performed live.
The song "Muscle of Love" was covered by Fireball Ministry for their 2001 FMEP release. "Teenage Lament '74" was covered by Big Country on their 2001 covers album Undercover, and by Tyla on the 1993 Various Artists tribute album Welcome to Our Nightmare. "Hard Hearted Alice" was covered by Chris Connelly on the Mutations: A Tribute to Alice Cooper compilation.
|1.||"Big Apple Dreamin' (Hippo)"||Alice Cooper, Glen Buxton, Michael Bruce, Dennis Dunaway, Neal Smith||5:10|
|2.||"Never Been Sold Before"||Cooper, Buxton, Bruce, Dunaway, Smith||4:28|
|3.||"Hard Hearted Alice"||Cooper, Bruce||4:53|
|4.||"Crazy Little Child"||Cooper, Bruce||5:03|
|1.||"Working Up a Sweat"||Cooper, Bruce||3:32|
|2.||"Muscle of Love"||Cooper, Bruce||3:45|
|3.||"Man with the Golden Gun"||Cooper, Buxton, Bruce, Dunaway, Smith||4:12|
|4.||"Teenage Lament '74"||Cooper, Smith||4:32|
|5.||"Woman Machine"||Cooper, Buxton, Bruce, Dunaway, Smith||4:31|
Additional musicians from the LP liner notes:
Album - Billboard (United States)
Singles - Billboard (United States)
|1973||"Teenage Lament '74"||Pop Singles||48|
|1974||"Muscle of Love"||Pop Singles||-|
Alice Cooper is an American singer, songwriter, and actor whose career spans over 50 years. With a raspy voice and a stage show that features numerous props, including pyrotechnics, guillotines, electric chairs, fake blood, reptiles, baby dolls, and dueling swords, Cooper is considered by music journalists and peers to be "The Godfather of Shock Rock". He has drawn equally from horror films, vaudeville, and garage rock to pioneer a macabre and theatrical brand of rock designed to shock audiences.
Neal Smith is an American musician, best known as the drummer for the rock group Alice Cooper from 1967 to 1974. He performed on the group's early albums Pretties for You and Easy Action, their breakout album Love It to Death and the subsequent successful albums Killer, School's Out, and Billion Dollar Babies. The last new studio album with the five original Alice Cooper group members participating in new music was Muscle of Love in 1973. The original group's Greatest Hits studio album was released in 1974. In 2018, a live performance album Live From The Astroturf, Alice Cooper recorded in 2015 was released, featuring four of the original group members performing eight of their hit songs, with long-time Alice Cooper solo band guitarist and friend Ryan Roxie interplaying lead guitar parts with original group rhythm guitarist Michael Bruce, on behalf of original group lead guitarist Glen Buxton, who died in 1997 of pneumonia three weeks before his 50th birthday.
Michael Owen Bruce is an American rock musician, best known as a member of the rock band Alice Cooper.
Glen Edward Buxton was an American musician and composer, best known as the lead guitarist for the rock band Alice Cooper. In 2003, Rolling Stone ranked Buxton number 90 on its list of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time. In 2011, he was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of the original Alice Cooper group.
Dennis Dunaway is an American musician, best known as the original bass guitarist for the rock band Alice Cooper . He co-wrote some of the band's most notable songs, including "I'm Eighteen" and "School's Out".
Alice Cooper's Greatest Hits is the only greatest hits album by American rock band Alice Cooper, and their last release as a band. Released in 1974, it features hit songs from five of the band's seven studio albums. It does not include any material from their first two albums, Pretties for You and Easy Action.
Love It to Death is the third studio album by American rock group Alice Cooper, released in March 1971. It was the band's first commercially successful album and the first album that consolidated the band's aggressive hard-rocking sound. The album's best-known track, "I'm Eighteen", was released as a single to test the band's commercial viability before the album was recorded.
School's Out is the fifth studio album by American rock band Alice Cooper, released in 1972. Following on from the success of Killer, School's Out reached No. 2 on the US Billboard 200 chart and No. 1 on the Canadian RPM 100 Top Albums chart, holding the top position for four weeks. The single "School's Out" reached No. 7 on the Billboard Hot 100, No. 3 on the Canadian RPM Top Singles Chart and went to No. 1 in the UK Singles Chart.
Pretties for You is the debut studio album by American rock band Alice Cooper, released on June 25, 1969 by Straight Records. At this time, the name "Alice Cooper" referred to the band and not its lead singer Vincent Furnier. The album has a psychedelic flavor to it; the group had yet to develop the more concise hard rock sound that they would become famous for. Most of the tracks feature unusual time signatures and arrangements, jarring syncopation, expressive dynamics, sound effects, and an eclectic range of music influences. A few songs, such as "Levity Ball", show the influence of Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd, with whom the band hung out during the British group's U.S. tour. Alice Cooper guitarist Glen Buxton stated he could listen to Barrett's guitar playing for hours on end.
Easy Action is the second studio album by the American rock band Alice Cooper, released by Straight Records in March 1970. The title comes from a line from one of the band's favorite films, the musical West Side Story. As with Pretties for You, the band's debut from the previous year, Easy Action was neither a commercial nor critical success. Singles include "Shoe Salesman" and "Return of the Spiders".
Killer is the fourth studio album by the Alice Cooper band, released in November 1971. The album reached number 21 on the Billboard 200 album chart, and the two singles "Under My Wheels" and "Be My Lover" made the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
"School's Out" is a song first recorded as the title track of Alice Cooper's fifth album. It was released as the album's second single on April 26, 1972. It has been regarded as the band's signature song and reached number 7 on the Billboard Hot 100.
"I'm Eighteen" is a song by rock band Alice Cooper, first released as a single in November 1970 backed with "Is It My Body". It was the band's first top-forty success—peaking at number 21—and convinced Warner Bros. that Alice Cooper had the commercial potential to release an album. The song and its B-side feature on the band's first major-label album Love It to Death (1971).
Brutally Live is a DVD of Alice Cooper's concert on 19 July 2000 at the Labatt's Hammersmith Apollo in London, England, released later in the same year. It was re-released in 2003 on DVD accompanied with an audio CD of an edited version of the DVD's soundtrack.
The Strange Case of Alice Cooper is a live concert video released in September 1979, of Alice Cooper performing with his backing band The Ultra Latex Band. The concert was filmed on April 9, 1979 during Cooper's 'Madhouse Rock' Tour in San Diego, California, at the San Diego Sports Arena, in support of the album From The Inside.
“Under My Wheels” is a rock song by Alice Cooper. It was originally released on the group's Killer album in 1971, and was also that album's first single release. The song was written by Michael Bruce, Dennis Dunaway and Bob Ezrin.
"Halo of Flies" is a 1973 single by rock band Alice Cooper taken from their 1971 album Killer. The single was only released in the Netherlands, two years after the song appeared on the album. The song was, according to Cooper's liner notes in the compilation The Definitive Alice Cooper, an attempt by the band to prove that they could perform King Crimson-like progressive rock suites, and was supposedly about a spy organization.
Alice Cooper was an American rock band formed in Phoenix, Arizona, in 1964. The band consisted of lead singer Vince Furnier, Glen Buxton, Michael Bruce, Dennis Dunaway, and Neal Smith (drums). Furnier legally changed his name to Alice Cooper and has had a solo career under that name since the band became inactive in 1975. The band was notorious for their elaborate, theatrical shock rock stage shows. In 2011, the original Alice Cooper band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Super Duper Alice Cooper is a 2014 Canadian biographical documentary film about shock rock musician Alice Cooper, written and directed by Sam Dunn, Scot McFadyen and Reginald Harkema.
Paranormal is the twentieth solo album by Alice Cooper, released on July 28, 2017. It features three tracks performed by the "classic" line-up of the Alice Cooper band plus Larry Mullen Jr. from U2, Roger Glover from Deep Purple, Billy Gibbons from ZZ Top, Swedish songwriter and session guitarist Tommy Denander, Alice Cooper bandmate Tommy Henriksen, Steve Hunter. "Holy Water" is a cover of the Villebillies song.