Alice Cooper, Godfather Of Shock Rock: Welcome To His Nightmare

By | September 12, 2018

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Alice Cooper circa 1975 in New York City. (Photo by PL Gould/IMAGES/Getty Images)

Alice Cooper has had hits -- like "School's Out," "I'm Eighteen" and "No More Mr. Nice Guy" -- but he's not known for hits. It's the outrageous stage act, known as shock rock, that has given the hard rocker his career longevity. Coming out of the psychedelic '60s, Cooper found success with a combination of horror-inspired theatrics, gross-out gore and a brand of hard rock that has influenced not just bands but whole genres.

A Slow Slog To Success

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Photo of Alice Cooper UNSPECIFIED - CIRCA 1970: Photo of Alice Cooper Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

The story of Alice Cooper, the man, begins with a band called Alice Cooper, which is a little confusing. The man who would later take the stage name of Alice Cooper was born Vincent Furnier, and began his rock career in the mid-'60s in a group called the Earwigs. They changed their name to the Spiders, then Nazz -- only to learn that Todd Rundgren had a band called Nazz. So in 1968 they changed their name again, this time to Alice Cooper. The group managed to charm Frank Zappa, who signed them to his Straight Records label.

Alice Cooper released two albums on Straight, and neither was a critical or commercial success. In fact, when the band finally did hit it big, they essentially disowned their first two LPs, declining to play any material off them in concert.