Right the fuck on. Killer officially saw Alice Cooper graduating from typical-if-sleazy rock band to aggressive, threatening force of snickering darkness. Opener Under My Wheels may still have a brass section, but its introductory grind and constant momentum give it burly muscle, while cuts like Be My Lover, Halo Of Flies, and Dead Babies only cemented the band as rock’s entertainment-obsessed outsiders and the scourge of parents worldwide. The birth of a sensation.
ALICE COOPER: Killer (K56005) K 56005
Label: Warner Bros. Records
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album
Killer is the fourth studio album by Alice Cooper, released in 1971. Cooper said in the liner notes of Fistful of Alice and In the Studio with Redbeard, which spotlighted the Killer and Love it to Death albums, that the song “”Desperado”” was written about his friend Jim Morrison, who died the year this album was released. According to an NPR radio interview with Alice Cooper, “”Desperado”” was written about Robert Vaughn character from the movie The Magnificent Seven. “”Halo of Flies”” was, according to Cooper 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 SMERSH-like organisation. “”Desperado””, along with “”Under My Wheels”” and “”Be My Lover”” have appeared on different compilation albums by Cooper. The song “”Dead Babies”” stirred up some controversy following the album release, despite the fact that its lyrics conveyed an “”anti-child abuse”” message.
The album reached #21 on the Billboard album chart, and two singles made the Hot 100 chart. Musicians such as Jello Biafra and Johnny Rotten have referred back to the album as an influence.
“”Under My Wheels”” (Michael Bruce, Dennis Dunaway, Bob Ezrin) – 2:51
“”Be My Lover”” (Bruce) – 3:21
“”Halo of Flies”” (Alice Cooper, Glen Buxton, Bruce, Dunaway, Neal Smith) – 8:22
“”Desperado”” (Cooper, Bruce) – 3:30
“”You Drive Me Nervous”” (Cooper, Bruce, Ezrin) – 2:28
“”Yeah, Yeah, Yeah”” (Cooper, Bruce) – 3:39
“”Dead Babies”” (Cooper, Buxton, Bruce, Dunaway, Smith) – 5:44
“”Killer”” (Bruce, Dunaway) – 6:57
Alice Cooper: Under My Wheels (The Old Grey Whistle Test BBC 5-11-1971)
Allmusic Greg Prato rated “”Killer”” four-and-a-half out of five stars. He stated that “”disturbing tracks […] fit in perfectly”” and that “”other songs were even more exceptional””. He concluded by pointing out that “”it rewarded them as being among the most notorious and misunderstood entertainers, thoroughly despised by grown ups.”” Rolling Stone Lester Bangs gave it a favorable review. He explained that “”it brings all the elements of the band approach to sound and texture to a totally integrated pinnacle that fulfils all the promise of their erratic first two albums”” and that “”each song on [the] album finds him in a different role in the endless movie he is projecting on them.”” He concluded by calling Alice Cooper “”a strong band, a vital band, and they are going to be around for a long, long time.”” Robert Christgau rated the album a B-, stating that “”a taste for the base usages of hard rock rarely comes with a hit attached these days, much less “”surreal,”” “”theatrical,”” and let us not forget “”transvestite”” trappings””. However, he said that “”[the album] falters after “”Under My Wheels”” and “”Be My Lover,”” neither of them an “”I’m Eighteen”” in the human outreach department.”” Internet music critic George Starostin gave the album a rating of 13 out of 15. He explained that “”a lot of riffs, atmospheres, tones and sound effects […] seem to have been taken straight out of the minds […] of their predecessors.”” He also stated that “”the garage rock part […] deserves enough attention due to consistency.”” However, he agreed that it “”is not as obviously excellent as the previous album””.
The album reached #21 on the Billboard album chart and two singles made the Hot 100 chart. “”Under My Wheels”” reached #59, and “”Be My Lover”” reached #49 on the Billboard chart.
Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols and Public Image Ltd. called Killer the greatest rock album of all time. Punk icon Jello Biafra & The Melvins covered the song “”Halo of Flies”” on their 2005 release Sieg Howdy! Psychobilly musicians Mojo Nixon and Skid Roper covered the song “”Be My Lover”” on their 1986 release Frenzy. Power metal band Iced Earth covered the song “”Dead Babies”” for their 2002 release Tribute to the Gods. Guns N’ Roses (featuring Alice Cooper) covered the song “”Under My Wheels”” on The Decline of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years â€“ Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Alice Cooper – Vocals, Harmonica
Glen Buxton – Lead Guitar
Michael Bruce – Rhythm Guitar, Keyboards, Backing Vocals
Dennis Dunaway – Bass Guitar, Backing Vocals
Neal Smith – Drums, Backing Vocals
5.0 out of 5 stars this has to be the best early cooper album
Way way back in 1971,this was the first album recorded by the 5 original band members called Alice Cooper from a position of fame,found a year earlier with ’18’ off ‘Love it to death’ .
I got this album in ’72 after buying chool out’ at the tender age of 11.
I’d say to any new fan of the coop that this is a must album to have,one which captures Alice harder side of the music.
Killer opens with the quick paced rocker ‘under my wheels’ still used today as part of the stage show,quickly followed by michael bruce ‘be my lover’ ,which is definitely someone life story to date. track 3 is the epic ‘halo of flies’ with its eastern theme and heavy rock,changing by violins to a drum and bass section,and ending frantically as a crescendo.Pure classic Alice(and what missing from today albums).Desperado is a very clever ballad/rock chorus of a gun slinger from the wild west,another class song!
‘Dead babies’ visits the macabre side of Alice, with little betty eating a pound of aspirin from the shelf upon the wall,brilliant.
the last track and title track is a return to the ‘black juju’ type of theme,which definitely has occult overtones with its rock verses,middle rock instrumental (just like the longer tracks off easy action or pretties for you) then the wailing vocals and seance like chanting finishing off with the organ and drums to the hanging. Inspirational!!!!!
If you like the lighter side of Alice,go for billion dollar babies, but for the dark side of the coop,this has to be the best early cooper album of them all.