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A heavy metal/hard rock artist from Detroit, Michigan, Vincent Damon Furnier (1948-) was originally the frontman of a band called Alice Cooper. However, with the release of his first solo album, Welcome to My Nightmare, in 1975, Furnier started to use the name of the band as his stage name. He has since legally changed his name to this.
Cooper's career started in 1964, when his band was named The Spiders. In 1969, they renamed themselves Alice Cooper and released their debut album, Pretties for You. Their first major breakthrough was in 1971 with the release of the song "I'm Eighteen" on the album Love it to Death. The song was followed up with what is considered Cooper's signature song, "School's Out" in 1972. In 1973, they released their most commercially successful album, Billion Dollar Babies, which reached #1 on the Billboard 200 in both the US and UK. Their next album, Muscle of Love, was less successful, but still reached #10 on the Billboard Pop Albums chart. This was the last album recorded by the original Alice Cooper band, which afterwards, as mentioned before, Furnier took the name Alice Cooper and released Welcome to My Nightmare. His most recent release is Welcome 2 My Nightmare, in 2011.
Cooper's career spans 45 years with 26 albums, and is often cited as one of the most influential performers in the hard rock genre. Bob Dylan even commented in a 1978 interview that he thought "Alice Cooper is an overlooked songwriter". Cooper's stage shows are known for their shock value and vaudevillian influences, of which Groucho Marx and Mae West were both fans. He currently hosts a radio show, Nights with Alice Cooper.
As the band "Alice Cooper":
- Pretties for You (1969)
- Easy Action (1970)
- Love It to Death (1971)
- Killer (1971)
- School's Out (1972)
- Billion Dollar Babies (1973)
- Muscle of Love (1973)
As a solo artist:
- Welcome to My Nightmare (1975)
- Alice Cooper Goes to Hell (1976)
- Lace and Whiskey (1977)
- From the Inside (1978)
- Flush the Fashion (1980)
- Special Forces (1981)
- Zipper Catches Skin (1982)
- DaDa (1983)
- Constrictor (1986)
- Raise Your Fist and Yell (1987)
- Trash (1989)
- Hey Stoopid (1991)
- The Last Temptation (1994)
- Brutal Planet (2000)
- Dragontown (2001)
- The Eyes of Alice Cooper (2003)
- Dirty Diamonds (2005)
- Along Came a Spider (2008)
- Welcome 2 My Nightmare (2011)
This singer's works provides examples of:
- Album Title Drop: Love it to Death is named for the lyric, "I guess I love it/Love it to death" in the song "Long Way To Go."
- Ballad of X: "Ballad of Dwight Fry", from Love It To Death -album.
- Bastard Girlfriend: "Poison"
- Blood-Splattered Wedding Dress: "Roses on White Lace"
- Bowdlerization: For some unfathomable reason, the title of "Only Women Bleed" was censored to "Only Women" when it was released as a single.
- Break the Cutie: "Only Women Bleed"
- The Cameo: Cooper had a scene in Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band, during which he sings "Because".
- Concept Album: Several
- Cool Old Guy: He's 62. He's still killing himself four times per show at sixty-two years of age. Let that sink in for a moment.
- He has said his goal is to last as long as Mick Jagger, who is five years older than him.
- Cosy Catastrophe: The song "Last Man On Earth" is about a guy who wakes up one morning to find that he's, well, the last man on earth. And instead of being depressed about it, he proceeds to sing about why it's awesome.
- Creepy Circus Music: "Many Years Ago".
- Criminal Mind Games: the concept album Along Came a Spider.
- Darker and Edgier: His albums "Brutal Planet" and "Dragontown."
- Dawson Casting: He's been singing "I'm Eighteen" for over 30 years.
- Deal with the Devil: The plot of The Last Temptation.
- Do Not Call Me Paul: His real name is Vincent. Don't call him Vincent.
- Epic Rocking: "Halo of Flies". According to Alice himself, the song was written to prove that the band could perform long progressive suites
- Filk Song: "He's Back (Man Behind the Mask)", which is based on Friday the 13 th franchise.
- Gender Blender Name
- Hair Metal: Trash and Hey Stoopid.
- Hospital Hottie: "Nurse Rosetta", from the point of view of the priest fantasizing about her.
- Human Popsicle: "Refrigerator Heaven", wherein the POV character gets frozen until they find a cure for cancer.
I'm freezing, I'm frozen, I'm icicle blue
- Hurricane of Euphemisms: The song "Feed My Frankenstein" jam-packed with euphanisms for genitelia and various sex acts.
- Icy Blue Eyes
- I Love the Dead: The Trope Namer.
- Intercourse with You: Many songs, perhaps most blatantly "I'm Your Gun". There's also "Feed My Frankenstein", which includes the line "Let me drink the wine from your fur tea cup."
- Ironic Nursery Tune
- Kids Rock: "School's Out".
- Large Ham
- Last-Note Nightmare: "Wind-Up Toy" and the white noise freakout at the end of Killer.
- It represents Alice being killed in the electric chair, which is also featured in the stage show.
- Letters 2 Numbers: The album Welcome 2 My Nightmare.
- Long Title: "Look at You Over There, Ripping the Sawdust From My Teddy Bear" from Special Forces, and "I'm Alive (That Was the Day My Dead Pet Returned to Save My Life)" from Zipper Catches Skin.
- Lyrical Dissonance:
- "Millie and Billie" from From The Inside sounds like a corny pop duet, but the lyrics are about the two characters murdering each other's partners so they can be together.
- "The Man Behind The Mask," written for Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives, is the most cheery, uplifting song you'll ever hear about a deformed guy in a hockey mask who murders teenagers.
- Madness Mantra: Used in several songs.
- Madwoman in the Attic: "Former Lee Warmer" is sung from the perspective of a man who keeps his mute and apparently insane brother locked up in his attic.
- Mean Character, Nice Actor: In private life, Cooper is a devout Christian, and a substitute Bible Studies teacher at his local school, and a great golfer. Then he goes to work and records songs about Serial Killers.
- And boy, does he love showing off his nice side, mostly because it freaks people out more than his nasty side.
- He's generally pretty nice in his currently running radio show.
- This is played up in Wayne's World, where he plays himself as a highly philosophical gentleman backstage.
- He also owns a popular family restaurant in Phoenix, AZ, infamous for its "Big Unit" two-foot-long hot dogs (named for Randy "Big Unit" Johnson of the Arizona Diamondbacks, a co-investor in the restaurant), and appearred on Man v. Food when the host did a Phoenix-themed episode. The host even referenced the "We're not worthy" Wayne's World bit when Alice brought out his food personally.
- Mummies At the Dinner Table: "Cold Ethyl", where the titular Ethyl is a corpse kept in a large refrigerator, and involves "Making love by the refrigerator light".
- Murder Ballad: "Gail".
- Never Sleep Again: "Can't Sleep, Clowns Will Eat Me", which was inspired by the line from The Simpsons.
- New Sound Album: The New Wave album Flush the Fashion
- Alice seems to love this trope. The original Alice Cooper band was mainly straightforward hard rock, but when Alice went solo he adopted a more sophisticated sound that included strings, horns, disco influences, a love ballad as well as keeping the hard rock edge which ultimately made an album more friendly for the masses. Alice kept this style until the aforementioned New Wave Flush the Fashion before jumping into a more modern 80s sound a few years later which got progressively commercial sounding, culiminating in the glam rock album Trash. After two more albums in roughly the same style he switched to heavy, detuned Industrial Metal for two albums, then came full circle and went back to straight forward rock. The Alice Cooper band also did this, with their first two albums featuring long psychedelic influenced songs before Bob Exrin came onboard and got them writing the shorter hard rock tunes they became famous for.
- Nocturnal Emission: Suggested in "Nurse Rosetta", a song about a priest fantasizing about a nurse.
- Obligatory Bondage Song: "Poison", possibly. Also "Bed of Nails" and "Dangerous Tonight".
- Pie in the Face: On one of VH-1's countdown lists of the craziest concert moments, a fan hits him in the face with a cream pie while he's crouched down on the stage during a dramatic moment. He just rolls with it, wiping the filling off his face and licking his finger. In the accompanying interview he says that afterwards it occurred to him that it wasn't a smart thing to do, since he didn't know what the pie might be laced with. It turned out all right though.
- Preacher's Kid
- Sanity Slippage Song: Many of his songs. "Steven" is one examples. "From the Inside" is a whole album of insanity songs.
- Religious Horror: The concept albums 'Go to Hell' and 'The Last Temptation'. Also 'Brutal Planet' and especially 'Dragontown'.
- Sesame Street Cred: Guest starred on The Muppet Show
- Sex Is Evil and I Am Horny: "Nurse Rozetta".
- Shell-Shocked Veteran: "Jackknife Johnny."
- Shout-Out: "Desperado" was written for Jim Morrison.
- Signature Song: "School's Out".
- Self-Demonstrating Song: "School's Out"
Well, we've got no class
And we've got no principles
And we've got no innocence
We can't even think of a word that rhymes!
- Talky Bookends: On the video for "He's Back (The Man Behind the Mask)".
- Teens Are Monsters:"Well we got no class/And we got no principles/We ain't got no innocence," according to "School's Out."
- It Makes Sense in Context if you've see Rock and Roll High School, where this serves as Crowning Music of Awesome for the end; the teens in question are the heroes.
- Cooper has a few songs based around this. I'm Eighteen, Department Of Youth, Wicked Young Man and Teenage Frankenstein are a few other examples.
- They Killed Kenny Again: Alice typically dies at the end of every show. In the latest tour, he dies four times.
- Through the Eyes of Madness: "The Ballad Of Dwight Fry".
- Used to Be a Sweet Kid: From "No More Mr. Nice Guy" - "I used to be such a sweet sweet thing till they got a hold of me..."
- Video Full of Film Clips: "He's Back (The Man Behind the Mask)", which uses the clips from Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives.
- You Are Number Six: Clones. ("6 is having problems adjusting to his clone status...")