Life at 33 1/3
By Carl Meyer
School’s out, Alice is here
Alice Cooper: School’s Out (Warner Brothers)
The novel paper panties inside the album sleeve.
Unfortunately the best thing about this album is its sleeve, although a
blatant rip-off of the Hotlegs’ (aka 10CC) “Thinks: School Stinks”-gatefold
(released in 1970), it’s still funny, and the paper panties that were
included definitely ads to the naughtiness.
The music is less focused than on its predecessor “Killer”. There’s lots of
noise of course, bristling guitars and crashing drums, undisciplined in a
way that works on stage, but not necessarily when perceived in one’s
bedroom. The band is trying to break new ground; it is a transitional album
that points to the following year’s mega classic “Billion Dollar Babies”.
In 1972 Alice Cooper were more than anything else a live band; it was their
stage act that horrified parents and outraged the social establishment – the
perfect attack position when you want to conquer the world. They had all the
shock theatrics in place, the make-up, the costumes, the guillotine, the boa
constrictor, the blood, the sex, the gore. Center stage was Alice, a
preacher’s son with a girl’s name, a sleazy androgynous rat who gorged
himself on violence, sex, torture and other forms of joy. It was “A
Clockwork Orange” with rock’n’roll guitars.
All they needed was a massive hit. And you wouldn’t find anything more
suited for the all time classics hit-parade than the album’s title track, a
roaring call to arms against the education system, they blow the school to
pieces and dance on the rubble. And they don’t kill people, they kill the
building, this ain’t Columbine, it’s a party.
“School’s Out” blasted from home stereos and transistor radios all through
the summer and into the fall of 1972. Alice Cooper were hot stuff, bedroom
pin-ups and front page news. By chance they timed it perfectly to glam
rock’s emergence in England. Ziggy Stardust and Alice Cooper came from two
different worlds, but in 1972 they shared the same teenage fans. The
“School’s Out”-video from Top Of The Pops (check it out on YouTube) shows
the band in clothes that just as easily could have been worn by Sweet. Glam
had opened its gates and Alice Cooper slipped in and gobbled the poor
The album was probably a disappointment to them because there is nothing on
it even remotely as strong as the hit single. But you get glimpses of what
was to come, and the closing finale is so bombastic that one is left with a
desire for more. And it would certainly be more. Lots and lots more. Eight
months later “Billion Dollar Babies” arrived.
Released: June 1972
Produced by: Bob Ezrin
“School’s Out” (Alice Cooper, Glen Buxton, Michael Bruce, Dennis
Dunaway, Neal Smith) – 3:27
“Luney Tune” (Cooper, Dunaway) – 3:36
“Gutter Cat Vs. the Jets” (Buxton, Dunaway, Leonard Bernstein, Stephen
Sondheim) – 4:39
“Street Fight” (Cooper, Buxton, Bruce, Dunaway, Smith) – 0:55
“Blue Turk” (Cooper, Bruce) – 5:29
“My Stars” (Cooper, Bob Ezrin) – 5:46
“Public Animal #9” (Cooper, Bruce) – 3:53
“Alma Mater” (Smith) – 3:39
“Grande Finale” (Cooper, Buxton, Bruce, Dunaway, Bob Ezrin, Smith, Mack
David, Leonard Bernstein) – 4:36
Alice Cooper - vocals
Glen Buxton - lead guitar
Michael Bruce - rhythm guitar, keyboards
Dennis Dunaway - bass guitar
Neal Smith - drums
Bob Ezrin - keyboards
Dick Wagner - lead guitar on “My Stars”
Rockin’ Reggie Vincent - guitar, backing vocals
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