The Life And Crimes Of Alice Cooper
Promotional CD (1999, Rhino PRCD 7467)
This promotional CD comes in a simple card sleeve with orange stickers on the front and back. The CD features 16 tracks from the box set including most of the 'hits' plus 3 or 4 other selections (including Hands Of Death).
The front sticker announces the release of the full box set as being 20th April 1999 and priced at $59.98.
My Valuation: £25
Unreleased Songs Promotional CD (1999, Wea Records)
This promotional CD is from Germany and is extremely rare, with only a handful thought to exist. It comes in a jewel case complete with simple paper inlay.
This CD is notable because it contains only the 24 unreleased songs from The Life And Crimes Of Alice Cooper. So as well as it being a very rare item, it's also very useful as it provides easy access to the most interesting material in the box set.
One other point of note is that the version on this CD of Hands Of Death is not the same as that in the box set (e.g. the Spookshow 2000 mix). Instead, it's the original version from the X Files compilation album, Songs In The Key Of X.
My Valuation: £100
Original Box Set Version (1999, Warner Archives R2 75680)
The Life And Crimes Of Alice Cooper was released in 1999 and provided a comprehensive biography of nearly all Alice's career to date, starting with his time in The Spiders in the mid 60's and running up to 1999's Hand Of Death remix (a collaboration with Rob Zombie). In total there are 81 tracks.
A notable aspect of the set is that it includes at least one track from every studio album. Additionally, there are a wealth of rareties including B sides, demos and collaborations with other artists. There is also a superb 80-page colour booklet featuring:
> A foreword by Alice Cooper;
> Producer's Notes by the late Brian 'Renfield' Nelson (Alice's Personal Assistant):
> A testimonial by John Lydon (from The Sex Pistols);
> A superb biography of Alice's career by rock critic Jeffrey Morgan;
> Track list discogrpahy;
> 'Look Behind The Songs' by Alice Cooper and cohorts; and
The initial release of this box set came in a chunky box which was designed to look like the door to a cell. Alice, of course, is behind the door with a neat 3D effect used thanks to some clever packaging. The CD's are housed in jewel cases with each one featuring nice images and artwork from the era covered. The booklet sits on top of the CD's.
This really is a staggeringly good set, not only for the quality of the content but also due to the way that it's presented. This is a fitting legacy to Brian Nelson, who described himself as 'The World's Biggest Alice Cooper Fan' and was to pass away 10 years later.
The only problem is that the set is now more than 15 years old and could do with updating to take account of all the material released since 1999.
My Valuation: £75
Box Set Version (Approximately 2000, Warner Archives R2 75680 A)
The box set was re-issued a year or 2 after the original version. The content is exactly the same only the nice 3D feature is dropped (Aice is now just part of the front cover artwork). This means that the box is also slightly thinner than before.
My Valuation: £40
Media Book Version 1 (Approximately 2004, Warner Archives R2 75680 A)
This version came out in about 2004 and sees a change from box set to 'Media Book' format. The CD's are now housed on the inside front and back covers with the booklet, which is slightly smaller than the original, neatly slotting inbetween. Dropping the jewel cases means that some of the era-specific images from the original sets have been lost.
Again, there is no change to the musical content.
My Valuation: £30
Media Book Version 2 (2008, Warner Archives 8122-79902-0)
Yet another variant of The Life And Crimes Of Alice Cooper was released in 2008. This featured further rationalised packaging with the case considerably smaller than the previous Media Book and box sets (see image below).
This version also has a squarer look to it than the other editions so more of the stone wall around the cell door can be seen. Also, the booklet is now fixed to the case so you have to hold the whole thing if you want to read it (not ideal).
My Valuation: £30