Alice Cooper's Greatest Hits
Released: August 1974
Chart Peak: #8
Weeks Charted: 23
Certified Platinum: 10/13/86
As just about everybody knows by now, underneath all the drag and glitter and show-biz outrageousness, Alice Cooper has made some of the most musical and impressive rock-and-roll in recent memory. Unfortunately, however, despite their generally brilliant string of singles, they have never really made a successful album. The reasons for this are varied and lengthy, having to do in part with the basically limited range of Alice's singing and lack of ambiguity in the band's childish sexual posturings. But it seems rather silly to dwell on their weaknesses when there are so many things they're good at, and especially now that we finally have an album that shows them almost consistently strong.
All their goodies are here (with the exception of the churning rocker from Love It to Death, "Caught in a Dream," which is the song that first convinced me there was indeed more to this band than met the eye), and unsurprisingly they all hang together pretty well, both musically and thematically. The masterpiece, of course, is "School's Out", which in 1972 was the first real summer single since the Beach Boys' "Do It Again." All the stops were pulled out with this one; it has two irresistible choruses, a searing lead guitar line (the first time I heard it I was sure that it was John Lennon with Elephant's Memory), downright savage production, and a lyric with a beautifully calculated amalgam of teen angst and revolution for the hell of it that catches and capitalizes on youthful frustrations almost as well as "Summertime Blues" or "My Generation." But almost all of the tracks here are terribly exciting, and if you're still unconvinced about Alice Cooper, I suggest that this is the place to start catching up. If you've been a fan all along, you'll want it anyway just for convenience's sake, and besides, it has easily the best cover art of any album so far this year.
- Steve Simels, Stereo Review, 11/74.
Alice Cooper has long been known primarily as a stage act, but when one sits and listens it is evident they are fine musicians, singers and writers and have a track record of hits. This is one greatest hits set that truly is a greatest hits, with most of the cuts having enjoyed strong AM or FM success. Many did not become heavily involved in the band during their early days, so this is a perfect addition to a collection. Best cuts: "I'm Eighteen," "Be My Lover," "School's Out," "No More Mr. Nice Guy," "Billion Dollar Babies."
- Billboard, 1974.
Bet this favors passable-minus stuff from Muscle of Love -- one cut a stiff, the other never a single -- over the great stuff from Love It to Death because Alice-the-person had no publishing percentage on the latter. Too bad, because this is very spotty for a group that's done more than the Rolling Stones to beef up AM radio over the past few years. Nonetheless, those wise enough to have foregone album purchase up to now should stop their bucks here. A-
- Robert Christgau, Christgau's Record Guide, 1981.
While he made many classic hard-rock singles, Alice Cooper never made a consistently enjoyable album, making Greatest Hits a necessity. It might not cover all of his best tracks, but everything you need to know is here. * * * * *
- Stephen Thomas Erlewine , The All-Music Guide to Rock, 1995.
Absent a good box set -- which has been rumored to be coming for several years now -- Alice Cooper's Greatest Hits is the essential singles collection and proof that there's more to Cooper than a cheap-thrills horror show. * * * * *
- Gary Graff, Musichound Rock: The Essential Album Guide, 1996.
Snakes alive, you gotta love the trashiness -- laugh now, but you're old enough to remember, you used to adore this pop genius. Here is a good helping from the king of macabre shock-rock, who, long before there was a Marilyn Manson or Kiss, went to the gallows for his makeup and symbolism. These angsty teenage anthems including "School's Out" and "I'm Eighteen" are delivered with hooks, riffs and attitude. * * * *
- Zagat Survey Music Guide - 1,000 Top Albums of All Time, 2003.
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