Muscle of Love

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Muscle of Love
Acmuscle.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedNovember 20, 1973
Recorded1973
Studio Sunset Sound, Hollywood; Record Plant, New York and The Cooper Mansion, Greenwich, Connecticut
Genre Hard rock, glam rock, art rock
Length39:31
Label Warner Bros.
Producer Jack Richardson, Jack Douglas
Alice Cooper chronology
Billion Dollar Babies
(1973)
Muscle of Love
(1973)
Greatest Hits
(1974)

Muscle of Love is the seventh and final studio album by rock band Alice Cooper, released in 1973.

Album collection of recorded music, words, sounds

An album is a collection of audio recordings issued as a collection on compact disc (CD), vinyl, audio tape, or another medium. Albums of recorded music were developed in the early 20th century as individual 78-rpm records collected in a bound book resembling a photograph album; this format evolved after 1948 into single vinyl LP records played at ​33 13 rpm. Vinyl LPs are still issued, though album sales in the 21st-century have mostly focused on CD and MP3 formats. The audio cassette was a format widely used alongside vinyl from the 1970s into the first decade of the 2000s.

Alice Cooper (band) American rock band

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.

Contents

Background

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." [1]

<i>Billion Dollar Babies</i> 1973 studio album by Alice Cooper

Billion Dollar Babies is the sixth studio album by American rock band Alice Cooper, released in 1973. The album became the best selling Alice Cooper record at the time of its release, hit number one on the album charts in both the United States and the United Kingdom, and went on to be certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America. The album has been retrospectively praised by such critics as Robert Christgau, Greg Prato of AllMusic, and Jason Thompson of PopMatters, but The Rolling Stone Album Guide (2004) gave the album only two and a half stars.

<i>Schools Out</i> (album) 1972 studio album by Alice Cooper

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. The album achieved sales of over 50,000 copies in Australia, being eligible for the award of a Gold Disc.

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. [1] 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". [2] 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."

Bob Ezrin Canadian music producer and keyboardist

Robert Alan Ezrin is a Canadian music producer and keyboardist, best known for his work with Lou Reed, Alice Cooper, Kiss, Pink Floyd, Deep Purple, Peter Gabriel, and Phish. As of 2010, Ezrin's career in music had spanned four decades and his production work continued into the 21st century, with acts such as Deftones and Thirty Seconds to Mars.

<i>Easy Action</i> 1970 studio album by Alice Cooper

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".

Dennis Dunaway is an American musician, best known as the original bass guitarist for Alice Cooper . He co-wrote some of the band's most notable songs, including "I'm Eighteen" and "School's Out".

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." [2]

Lyrical content

In a contemporary interview with Circus magazine, Cooper said that a loose concept of "urban sex habits" developed during the album's recording. [3] The title of "Big Apple Dreamin' (Hippo)' refers to the Hippopotamus club of New York City which the band used to frequent. [4] "Never Been Sold Before" is the retort of a prostitute to the man she is supporting, [3] 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." [3] "Woman Machine" is a science fiction-themed song dating back to the band's early years [2] 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." [3]

Circus was a monthly American magazine devoted to rock music. It was published from 1966 to 2006. In its heyday the magazine had a full-time editorial staff that included some of the biggest names in rock journalism, such as Paul Nelson, Judy Wieder, David Fricke, and Kurt Loder, and rivaled Rolling Stone in sales and surpassed Creem. In 1974, a sister publication was launched, titled Circus Raves, but by 1977 that venture had been merged into Circus Magazine, thus making Circus Magazine a biweekly.

Prostitution Engaging in sexual relations in exchange for payment

Prostitution is the business or practice of engaging in sexual activity in exchange for payment. Prostitution is sometimes described as sexual services, commercial sex or, colloquially, hooking. It is sometimes referred to euphemistically as "the world's oldest profession" in the English-speaking world. A person who works in this field is called a prostitute and is a type of sex worker.

Masturbation Sexual stimulation of ones own genitals

Masturbation is the sexual stimulation of one's own genitals for sexual arousal or other sexual pleasure, usually to the point of orgasm. The stimulation may involve hands, fingers, everyday objects, sex toys such as vibrators, or combinations of these. Mutual masturbation is masturbation with a sexual partner, and may include manual stimulation of a partner's genitals, or be used as a form of non-penetrative sex.

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". [3] "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:

"Teenage Lament '74" is a song by Alice Cooper. It was released on the album Muscle of Love, and was written by Cooper and Neal Smith.

<i>The Man with the Golden Gun</i> (film) 1974 James Bond film by Guy Hamilton

The Man with the Golden Gun is a 1974 British spy film and the ninth in the James Bond series produced by Eon Productions, and the second to star Roger Moore as the fictional MI6 agent James Bond. A loose adaptation of Ian Fleming's novel of the same name, the film has Bond sent after the Solex Agitator, a device that can harness the power of the sun, while facing the assassin Francisco Scaramanga, the "Man with the Golden Gun". The action culminates in a duel between them that settles the fate of the Solex.

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." [5]

Personnel

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." [6] 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". [7] This report is given some added support by the claims of session drummer Allan Schwartzberg, who says he played on several tracks. [8]

Packaging

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. [2] The front of the album cover design agency Pacific Eye & Ear was temporarily redecorated to serve as the setting for the photo session. [3]

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.

Reception and chart performance

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
Allmusic Star full.svgStar full.svgStar half.svgStar empty.svgStar empty.svg link
Christgau's Record Guide C [9]
Rolling Stone (mixed)

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. [10] Phonographic Record published a negative review and suggested that the group had been unable to overcome the loss of Ezrin. [11] Creem , however, gave the album a positive review, calling it "a magnificent effort". [12]

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. [13]

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) [14] plus four performances of "Teenage Lament '74" in 1996 and 2004, [15] 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.

Covers

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.

Track listing

Side one
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
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, Smith4:28
3."Hard Hearted Alice"Cooper, Bruce4:53
4."Crazy Little Child"Cooper, Bruce5:03
Side two
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Working Up a Sweat"Cooper, Bruce3:32
2."Muscle of Love"Cooper, Bruce3:45
3."Man with the Golden Gun"Cooper, Buxton, Bruce, Dunaway, Smith4:12
4."Teenage Lament '74"Cooper, Smith4:32
5."Woman Machine"Cooper, Buxton, Bruce, Dunaway, Smith4:31

Personnel

Alice Cooper band

with:

Additional musicians from the LP liner notes:

Charts

Album - Billboard (United States)

YearChartPosition
1973Pop Albums10

Singles - Billboard (United States)

YearSingleChartPosition
1973"Teenage Lament '74"Pop Singles48
1974"Muscle of Love"Pop Singles-

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References

  1. 1 2 Crowe, Cameron (1973). "A Chat With Alice". Circular Magazine (promo). Warner Brothers.
  2. 1 2 3 4 Wright, Jeb. "Interview: Dennis Dunaway". classicrockrevisited.com. Archived from the original on 15 March 2012. Retrieved 26 February 2012.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Gaines, Steven (January 1974). "Alice Cooper's 'Muscle of Love' - A Shocking Course in Pop Sex". Circus : 4–9.
  4. "Muscle of Love". Sick Things UK. Retrieved 26 February 2012.
  5. Harris, Will (December 8, 2011). "Set List: Alice Cooper". The A.V. Club . Retrieved 26 February 2012.
  6. Rodgers, Larry (March 8, 2011). "Rock lifestyle caught up with Cooper guitarist Glen Buxton". The Arizona Republic. Retrieved April 20, 2018.
  7. No More Mr Nice Guy (Michael Bruce & Billy James, 2018)
  8. "Bob Ezrin's favourite ghost: Allan Schwartzberg".
  9. Christgau, Robert (1981). "Consumer Guide '70s: C". Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies . Ticknor & Fields. ISBN   089919026X . Retrieved February 23, 2019 via robertchristgau.com.
  10. Kaye, Lenny (January 17, 1974). "Alice Cooper: The Motor Cools Down". Rolling Stone . Straight Arrow Publishers, Inc. (152): 49.
  11. Fowley, Kim (January 1974). "Muscle of Love Album Review". Phonographic Record.
  12. "Alice Cooper: Muscle of Love". Creem . March 1974.
  13. Whitburn, Joel (2006). The Billboard Albums, 6th Edition. Record Research Inc. p. 237.
  14. Alice Cooper Setlists; 'Muscle of Love'
  15. Alice Cooper Setlist; 'Teenage Lament '74'