Billion Dollar Babies Album Cover

Background

 

Billion Dollar Babies is the 6th Alice Cooper album and was released in 1973.  It’s the best-selling album to date and also received probably more critical acclaim than any of the others too.  The reason for this is quite simple, it’s literally rammed full of hits and was to prove the very peak of the original band’s achievements.  The School’s Out album was a massive overall hit for the band but this record arguably managed to surpass it from both a commercial and artistic perspective.  The Alice Cooper band were, quite literally, billion dollar babies!

 

Hello Hooray

 

The finest of all Alice Cooper album openers, Hello Hooray has featured regularly at the start of the live shows over the years.  And rightly so, it was born for that very job (even it started life as a rather mundane Judy Collins song).  An immensely atmospheric song that brilliantly captures the moment the lights go down and the start of a show.

The end to the song is quite superb with Alice’s vocals at their very best, a real ‘hairs standing up on the back of your neck moment’!

 

Rating: 9 Skulls

 

Raped And Freezin’

 

An under-rated track which manages to hold its own against some of the bigger hits on the album.  The song is another example of how tight the band now were and the edgy, yet radio friendly, material that they were capable of.   

 

Rating: 8 Skulls

 

Elected

 

Another massive hit for the band which remains extremely popular to this day.  The

concept was as simple as School’s Out, take a well-known moment in our lives (election time) and write a song about it.  As a result, it’s regularly wheeled out every 4 or so years around campaigning time.  What makes the song so entertaining is Alice’s role as the leader of his own party, the Wild Party!

 

The song has a fascinating history.  Firstly, it has much in common with ‘Reflected’, which featured on the Pretties For You album.  There is no comparison, however, Elected is a vastly improved version of the original song.  Secondly, it featured in one of the first ever ‘proper’ music videos with Alice out on the campaign trail.  And thirdly, the song was amusingly covered by Mr Bean / Bruce Dickinson in the early 1990’s.  The song is also a regular on the live shows and often battles with School’s Out as the closing song (Alice usually adapts the city names with “problems” to match the country that he’s performing in).

 

Rating: 9 Skulls

 

Billion Dollar Babies

 

Taking the same name as the album, Billion Dollar Babies is another solid track which comes alive in the concerts thanks to the classic use of a real sword loaded with money (Cooper Dollars).  The effect is fantastic as fans jump up and down to grab the money that falls off as Alice shakes the sword (it may as well be real money).  Being truthful, it’s not one of my favourite tracks but it’s loved by most fans and will always be in the live shows.

 

Rating: 7 Skulls    

 

Unfinished Sweet

 

Another Alice Cooper track which takes you on a musical journey filled with twists and turns.  Most notably, we have the James Bond style interlude in the middle of the song followed by a dark and menacing instrumental before finally returning to the upbeat tempo that we started with.  No other band could have come up with a track, experimental and, quite frankly, bizarre rock refined by Bob Ezrin’s production touches.    

Rating: 7 Skulls

 

No More Mr Nice Guys

 

The stand-out track of the album and a mainstay of the tour to this very day, No More Mr Nice Guy is probably the finest track that the band produced from a legacy perspective.  It’s still unashamedly radio friendly in its sound but the lyrics are more representative of the group’s core values than School’s Out. 

The song, which Alice performs in the Tim Burton film Dark Shadows, recounts the transformation of Alice from the son of a preacher into one of the most revered (and sick) figures in rock and roll.  All of a sudden, people don’t want to know him, or his family!

 

Rating: 10 Skulls

 

Generation Landslide

 

A good track with solid production and a cameo appearance by Alice on the harmonica.  However, with so much strong material on offer this is one of the more overlooked songs on the album.   

 

Rating: 7 Skulls

 

Sick Things

 

After the brutal content of the Killer album, the tone of School’s Out and Billion Dollar Babies (up till now) was fairly conservative.  Enter Sick Things, which is a dark and menacing track featuring Alice at his sinister best.  This really is a chilling track to listen to with the lights turned off!

 

Rating: 9 Skulls

 

May Ann

 

Sick Things merges seamlessly into Mary Ann, which is a short / slow piano driven ballad with Alice again in great voice (is this really the same person who sung on the previous track?).  The production is interesting in that Alice’s voice can only be heard on the left speaker (with just an echo in the right).     

 

Rating: 7 Skulls

 

I Love The Dead

 

The album concludes with the quite brilliant I Love The Dead, another cold and dark track which sits beautifully with Sick Things and Mary Ann.  The song sees Alice at his psychotic best as he pays homage to all things without a pulse.  This track is rarely played in full at the live shows but features regularly after Alice’s ceremonial killing by guillotine.

 

The importance of this track is not to be underestimated as it’s one of the few tracks that could easily fit into an Alice Cooper group or solo album.

 

Rating: 9 Skulls

 

OVERALL ALBUM RATING:  8 SKULLS

 

See my Billion Dollar Babies collection here.