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The first Alice Cooper album is a real oddity baring few signs of what was to come. Showing the obvious influence of both Syd Barrett's Pink Floyd and Frank Zappa (on who's label it was orginally released) it shows a band still finding its legs but there are still some great tracks on offer. 'Reflected' later became 'Elected' and was a huge hit in 1972, and 'Fields Of Regret' and 'Levity Ball' also show signs of what is to come. Not exactly essential, but certainly not as band as some people claim. Dennis Dunaway still notes this as his favourite Alice Cooper record.


Around June 1969

  1. Titanic Overture [1:09]
  2. 10 Minutes Before the Worm [1:27]
  3. Sing Low, Sweet Cheerio [5:33]
  4. Today Mueller [1:38]
  5. Living [3:02]
  6. Fields Of Regret [5:36]
  7. No Longer Umpire [1:54]
  8. Levity Ball (Live At the Cheetah) [4:23]
  9. B. B. On Mars [1:08]
  10. Reflected [3:10]
  11. Apple Bush [2:57]
  12. Earwigs to Eternity [1:14]
  13. Changing, Arranging [2:58]

Music, Lyrics and Arrangements by Alice Cooper [group]

iTunes

Musicians

Sleeve Notes

Produced By Alice Cooper [Group] (actually Ian Underwood and Herb Cohen)

Cover Painting By Ed Beardsley

Photography by Ed Caraeff

Design by John Williams

Recorded at Whitney Studios, Burbank, California over just two nights.

Known Releases

Country

Format

Number

Date

Label

Notes

USA

LP

STS1051

3/69

Straight (Orange/Yellow Label)

Original Pressing In Gatefold cover, inner sleeve has advert for `Zapped` compilation

USA

CASS

?

3/69

   

USA

CASS

WAR M 51840

?

Warner Bros

 

USA

LP

STS 1051

69

Straight (Pink Label)

Second release, Gatefold

USA

LP

STS 1051

69

Straight (Pink Label)

Gatefold, Red and White Promo Sticker on front

USA

LP

STS 1051

69

Straight (White Label)

White Label Promo, Gatefold, Red & White Promo Sticker on front

UK

LP

STS 1051

12/69

Straight (Purple Label)

Gatefold

UK

LP

STS 1051

12/69

Straight (Pink Label)

Gatefold

USA

LP

WS 1840

71

Warner Bros (Green Label)

Reissue, Sticker over Girls panties

USA

LP

WS 1840

71

Warner Bros (Green Label)

Reissue

USA

LP

WS 1840

71

Warner Bros (Palm Tree Label)

Reissue

USA

CD

7 73362-2

89

Enigma

Originally came in Long Box

USA

CD

R2 70351

89

Rhino

 

USA

LP

 

2010

Rhino

180gm Vinyl reissue

USA/UK

CD

R2 70351

08

Rhino

Promo Versions exist

Japan CD   11 Warner Bros Mini-LP Version

South Africa

LP

?

7/70

Warner Bros Green Label

Gatefold

South Africa

LP

?

7/70

Warner Bros

Part of Schooldays set

France

LP

STS 1051

 

Straight (Pink Label)

Gatefold

Germany

LP

1C 054-90 929

 

Straight (Pink Label)

Gatefold

Canada

LP

STS 1051

 

Straight (Pink Label)

Gatefold

Notes

As far as where the Alice band's heads were at when they were starting (Pretties For You era), they actually thought the stuff they were doing was very commercial and couldn't understand why people weren't accepting it.
(Brian Nelson, June 1995)

Alice looks back at "Pretties" now and sees the absurdity of it but back then they were very serious and kind of disappointed with Zappa who wanted to turn them into a comedy act and rename them "Alice Cookies"
(Brian Nelson, June 1995)

It ['Pretties For You'] did win some type of Best Album award [in Germany] at the time but it wasn't from a particularly major committee.
(Brian Nelson, January 1996)

"In November of 1971 [1968 I guess it's meant to be] we recorded our first album, 'Pretties For You'. For a week straight we arrived at the studio and played through every song five or six times with Herbie Cohen and Zappa working over the levels in the control room. We thought we were just getting down to business, ready to lay the bed tracks and experiment, when Zappa walked out of the glass-enclosed booth and said, "Okay. Your album will be ready next Thursday."
I said, "There are a few mistakes in that stuff. We weren't even ready to record," but he just patted me on the shoulder and said, "Not to worry. Not to worry. We'll work everything out in the mix."
We didn't see or hear the album until five months later."
(Me Alice)

News report from News from Gershman & Swaney

ALICE COOPER SIGNED TO EXCLUSIVE BIZARRE RECORDS CONTRACT

Band's First Album, Cut by Frank Zappa, To Be Released Soon
Alice Cooper, a unique rock band discovered by Frank Zappa, has been signed to an exclusive recording contract with Bizarre Records, according to the label's founders, Zappa and Herb Cohen
The band's first album, Zappa's first production outside of records by the Mothers of Invention, will be released soon It will be distributed by Reprise Records under the recently completed Bizarre-Reprise distribution agreement.
Alice Cooper's unpredictable performances -- drawing on the environment of each concert situation -- have quickly gained them notoriety (sic) on the west coast rock scene.
Other musicians have wigged out on their advanced techniques, which one critic called "simply further extension beyond the current boundaries of rock."
Their shows often include stage presentations using props and costumes But no single show is like another. Each performance is a surprise.
The band was introduced by Zappa at a Bizarre Records concert in early December on the Shrine Auditorium in L.A. A national promotion tour following the release of the album will be part of a thorough sales campaign by Bizarre for the group

In 1973, to cash in on Alice's success Warner Bros in the UK released a double album package called "School Days: The Early Recordings"(K66021) which featured "Easy Action" and "Pretties For You" in a cool new sleeve design.

The Cover

"Yes, It was Ed Beardsley - no he was not a shop teacher. The painting was something that Zappa had -- there are some pictures of his home where you can see the original painting in his house. It was pre-existing - not done for the cover. Originally, they attempted to use the Dali painting "Geopoliticus' Child" but were unable to secure the rights."
(Renfield, June 1995)

I recently managed to contact Prof. Beardsley about his painting and here is what he had to say:

"Yes, I am the same person who did the painting used on the Alice Cooper album, Pretties for You. Actually, that was the title of the painting, which Frank Zappa then used for the album. Frank, a friend of mine, was visiting my studio one day, bought two paintings he wanted to used for album covers, one for Alice Cooper, another for the Mothers of Invention. The two paintings purchased: 'Pretties for You' and 'The Four Apostles'. Both ended up in Frank's home, 'Pretties for you' in the main livingroom, and 'Apostles' in the downstairs music studio. Who knows what happened to them after Frank's death. I'm still in touch with his brother, Bobby, but not his wife or kids.
The idea behind the painting are the dreams and regrets of old men on the occasion of their death. It was inspired by the funeral of an Italian movie director who died in '68 or '69. There was a photo layout in Life magazine, I think it was, detailing the funeral. They had photos of the old director, and I liked his look, especially his hat. I tried to imagine his thoughts at his own funeral. Death is the fate of us all, of course, and I suppose the moment defines us as human beings... given the reality, however absurd it may seem to us, that we are born only to die."
(Prof. E. R. Beardsley, October 2003)

There was a small brown sticker that covered the girl's undies on some of the early copies of 'Pretties For You'.
(Renfield, January 1996)

The back cover was not the bands first choice. Zappa lost the original picture, making the band all very angry.
(Dennis Dunaway, 1998)

Upon walking into Zappa's living room one day, they all discovered small jam hand print on the wall and on the artwork of the cover picture. Moon Unit had been crawling around.
(Dennis Dunaway, 1998)

The Image

In at least two books on Zappa, Zappa gives Miss Christine [The GTO's] credit for Alice's ideas. While it would be overstating it to credit Christine for Alice's ideas, she and the GTO's definitely influenced the ACG in their early androngenous image.
(Renfield, October 1995)

The GTOs enjoyed dressing up the Coopers kinda like Barbie dolls.
(Renfield, March 1996)

The Songs

'Today Mueller' was written about a friend of theirs named Michelle Mueller. She is currently a secretary still in Phoenix. Her nickname was 'TOOTIE' --thus the name Tootie Mueller. Why Alice and the band changed it from 'Tootie' to 'Today' I don't know.
(Sickthing, June 1996)

"Toodie, who is always smiling, drove the Earwigs around in her baby-blue Mustang. [She was] among the first to support the band and we are still good friends."
(Dennis Dunaway, January 2007)

I think it was Dennis who came up with that title [BB on Mars]. I think I once heard it wasn't a person at all but rather an actual BB. If that doesn't translate, a BB is a small ball bearing. So, I guess it means a small metal ball on a big red ball. Those guys were messed up back then.
(Renfield, August 1996)

If you listen close on Levity Ball you will hear a string section. Alice said the weird part about that was there was no strings in the recording session! The real to real tape was erased before they recorded their cut, but something that was on before bled through in the same key!
(Skip Ladd, Band friend, February 1998)

Inspiration (for '10 minutes Before The Worm') came from the old saying, The early bird gets the worm.
Just how punctual was that bird? 5 minutes early? 10 minutes?
(Dennis Dunaway, March 2006)

Touring

Partial Setlist:

The band also played a variety of non-album tracks in the early days. Songs such as "Lay Down and Die, Goodbye" and a reworked "Don't Blow Your Mind" were culled from early 45 RPM singles done by the band before they were known as Alice Cooper. One unreleased song, "Nobody Likes Me", would later be issued on a flexidisc on the back of the band's first tourbook (for the Killer tour).