The AOR 45's v The Black Out 45's

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The AOR 45's v The Black Out 45's

Post by pitkin88 » Sat Feb 16, 2019 1:48 am

After the Alice Cooper 45's there is a huge difference in song choices for solo Alice 45's. We go from hard rock to AOR that is certainly not aimed at teenagers. Dept of Youth aside we enter The Ballad Years. These 45's:

Only Women Bleed
I Never Cry
No More Love At Your Convenience
You and Me
How You Gonna See Me Now

Seem geared towards couples and stay at home moms
Safe ( save the subversive OWB ) bland and boring it's hard to believe they came from the chicken killing, make up wearing boy girl king of shock.

Jump forward a few years and we get some real fast amphetamine charged nuggets that are just a lot of fun.

Clones
Talk Talk
You Want I You Got It
Seven & Seven Is
I Like Girls

Anyway, just wondered what you thought of these two eras. Fire 🔥away!

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Re: The AOR 45's v The Black Out 45's

Post by del » Mon Feb 18, 2019 8:18 am

I took the first period as an attempt to move towards a more famity friendly career, trying to keep as many original fans as possible but gradually step away from the original sound and polish it up to make it more palatable as fans got older and brought their girlfriends or wives along.

I loved Only Women, liked I Never Cry and tolerated Love At Your Convenience and You and Me. I was a bit kinder to How You Gonna See Me Know because the album felt a little bit of a readjustment in direction, at least the make up was back on again!

Have to say that the next batch confused me a bit at the time. Without the benefit of all the news and updates we have nowadays Alice just seemed to vanish after starting to get back on track and then reappear from a different planet. I had to make an effort to listen and understand which in hindsight was a good thing but at the time was frustrating.

Remember quickly growing to love Clones and Talk Talk, wasn't bothered with You Want It but was extatic when I heard Seven and Seven. I've nearly always liked Alice's humour and found I like Girls good but a bit softer again.

The thing about this period was that I just didn't know what was going to come next. I clearly remember giving Da Da several chances to impress at the time but I didn't really get it back out and get into it properly until Raise Your Fist arrived (huge contrast between those albums!).

For me, thankfully, Special Forces and the '82 Uk tour reignighted a dying flame for Alice.

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Re: The AOR 45's v The Black Out 45's

Post by pitkin88 » Mon Feb 18, 2019 9:17 pm

The AOR stuff just leaves me cold. To be honest I Never want to listen to that stuff again. You and Me has a cover that actually matches how ghastly the song is. It could be a David Cassidy single cover. Everything about those songs is just cheesy and syrupy. The band 45s were an event these were an abortion.

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Re: The AOR 45's v The Black Out 45's

Post by pitkin88 » Mon Feb 18, 2019 9:22 pm

The Blackout 45's are a joy and play well one after the other. The only misfires are the plodding metal of TH I and I Am The Future which is just cheesy synth. That said I'd prefer them over the AIR pipe and slippers stuff.

If only Warner had got behind Clones with its brilliant hook. It was the best single since NMMNG and should have been a hit.

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Re: The AOR 45's v The Black Out 45's

Post by del » Tue Feb 19, 2019 7:10 am

Some of AOR singles, particularly You and Me, were actually worse than a lot of what was going around at the time. The whole thing played out as a really bad decision on career direction which left Alice high and dry when punk/new wave came along. He was actually closer to Barry Manilow than any of the new bands by '78. Must have been scary to realise that.

To me AOR represented the status quo with hardly any evolution at all and the blackouts were complete revolution every time.

Agree, the blackout singles were more fun and at least showed some new ideas were being tried out. What got me at the time though was that I had no idea where it was all heading and remember thinking that desperation had set in.

Looking back, if the health issues hadn't been addressed I love America could have been the last single...there's a thought.

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Re: The AOR 45's v The Black Out 45's

Post by Babysquid » Thu Feb 21, 2019 4:11 am

I think after the original group the black out years are my go to era for Alice. Stripped back, more gritty and ballad free. I need to get hold of copies of the singles. Regarding the more AOR stuff, I remember buying the CDs back in about 1990 when I was a teenager and cringing inside at all the orchestrations and thinking “oh please not another ballad”

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Re: The AOR 45's v The Black Out 45's

Post by rgallie » Fri Mar 15, 2019 1:04 am

I always find it odd how people are suprised and shocked by no more love at your convenience...ironically it's Alice shocking his die hards (even if that was not the intention). But the writing was clearly all the wall with Goes to Hell. I mean "Wish You Where Here" is pretty damn disco or at least touching on it, it just happens to be groovy as hell so doesnt get the same mention as no more love gets

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Re: The AOR 45's v The Black Out 45's

Post by pitkin88 » Fri Mar 15, 2019 8:37 am

Thank God that one wasn't a 45!

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Re: The AOR 45's v The Black Out 45's

Post by mr.barlow » Sat Jun 01, 2019 2:52 pm

When Alice went solo they wanted to take the character in a more mainstream direction. At first with WTMN they were turning him into a loveable villain (like a Vincent Price....hmmmm happened to be on the album), and continued it with GTH. As the ballads continued to chart and were big mainstream hits--Shep and Alice took the chance to really try to make him a family friendly celebrity beloved by housewives and little children. All one has to do it look at the 45 sleeve of "You & Me" and you can clearly see where they wanted to go.

The problem was Alice's fan base wouldn't swallow that amount of commercialism and sap, and turned on him. That is why he quickly brought back the classic character with FTI. By that time it was a bit too late as everyone was confused as to who or what he actually was (I believe even Alice himself--fast forward the general theme of Dada), and then the song "Identity Crisises".

Once the music scene changed, seeing that the over-the-top theatrics was on the wane and a fast shrinking fan base, Alice just decided to try something completely different. FTF is one of his best album. The look is sleek and I think if WB backed the album he could have turned the corner and made it through the early 1980s somewhat successful as a Gary Numan type artist.

Once again--the fans were not buying it so Alice upped the ante and created the most original, scariest and unnerving incarnation of the character with the SF Alice. Which by the way is my favorite incarnation. Unfortunately, we all now know what was going on during that time. I always see a silver lining and in the case of early 1980s Alice, the drugs that nearly killed him gave us the most insane character ever to grace the stage, and a truly insane and vicious Alice and some great very original music.

Then there was Dada. His masterpiece. I didn't have to live through all that crap as Alice did, but to me to get Dada out of all of that insanity made it all worth it. I'm sure Alice will vehemently disagree!

Then the clean and sober Alice saw his opening with the changing music scene in the mid-1980s, brought back the classic character and the horror themes and as they say---the rest is history.

Now to the singles:

Only Women Bleed---Great song--a Wagner gem. I prefer the single version with the keyboard part.

I Never Cry--I always loved this song too. Another Wagner nugget. My ex-wife LOVED this song!

No More Love At Your Convenience-It could be the worst song in the history of recorded music. The only true shitstain on the career of Alice---and Wagner--and Ezrin too!

You and Me---I like this song in a kitschy way. I remember having an 8-track of Lace & Whiskey and the song came on and my Mom saying----"I didn't know that was Alice Cooper---I love this song". Well Alice & Shep accomplished their goal!

How You Gonna See Me Now-I really like this song too--some great lyrics. Alice still couldn't let go of the ballads and I'm sure WB had a lot to do with it, I'm quite certain Alice was contractually obligated to include at least one ballad on all his releases during that era.

Just one more thing----Alice is an incredible ballad singer. He would have fit right in with the pop crooners of the 1940s & 1950s. He has a great voice for them.

The early 1980s:
Clones-one of his best songs. Could have been a #1 smash hit. It could be a #1 smash hit if re-released today! A perfect song in every sense.

Talk Talk-Alice improving on the original. A definitive version of the song. Also could have been a top 20 hit with a little tweaking of the production.

You Want I You Got It--The weakest song of SF. Somewhere Erik Scott said they were going for a "Clones" vibe for it--but missed the mark---by 100 miles. I have heard (not confirmed) that this song was written at the sessions by the band as they were having problems getting new tracks written (SF has a few FTF leftovers). I think Alice never flushed out the lyrics and ad-libbed the whole spoken lyrics based on the drafts he had written. And---WB releases it as a single. I often wonder if it was out of spite. It made no sense. The chorus was catchy--very campy---but the lack of actual lyrics made it impossible for it to succeed as a single.

Seven & Seven Is--the defining version of that song. Alice at his most vicious. He had the fire back in his gut on most of SF and especially the tour. I'm guessing it was included as they were having problem getting new songs written and thank God they did. Too hardcore for a single--even for that era. But again--just an incredible song!

I Like Girls--One of my favorite Alice songs. Perfect for the era and likely only released as a single due to Alice's contract. Zipper was dead on arrival. WB pulled the plug on Alice--no more money--no more nothing. Over and done. The single never stood a chance. The only reason Dada got made was due to the contact and Ezrin and Shep I think helped financially to get the album finished. WB didn't even want the album, but had to release it once it was made. I'm quite certain it was basically deleted from the WB catalog right after release. The same goes for SF and Zipper. I think they all got deleted after the initial pressings and all three went out of print not too long after their release.

I think WB kept FTF in print a bit longer due to Clones but they axed that one and FTI from their catalog also pretty quickly.

I hope your happy I'm back so you can read my never ending blowhard posts. "You Want it--You Got It"!

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Re: The AOR 45's v The Black Out 45's

Post by padre_sliprat » Sat Jun 01, 2019 3:51 pm

Billion Dollar Babies (the album) was the pinnacle - of course I would say that, seeing as I became aware of the group in 1973. There have been plenty of hits and misses since then. I find Zorro's Ascent to be a laugh riot every time. Here we have a wannabe hero who is at every disadvantage possible, yet he refuses to surrender. He even goes up against Death himself - "Hand to me your deadliest wine, I'll give you back a taste." And ya know, that's exactly what happened a couple of years later. Had the gallop of the song not been a little awkward (it didn't work for From The Inside either), it should have been a hit. Maybe, like Dada, it was too smart for mass consumption.

Anyhoot, I never had a gripe about the ballads of the second half of the 70's. They were polished and performed well. The Blackout stuff almost always came up short in either production, lyrics or performance. They weren't bad singles, they just hadn't been perfected as 71-78 Alice music had been.
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Re: The AOR 45's v The Black Out 45's

Post by mestreech » Sun Jun 02, 2019 3:13 am

I never liked the ballads from Alice and certainly not the AOR ones.

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Re: The AOR 45's v The Black Out 45's

Post by del » Sun Jun 02, 2019 6:39 am

"WB pulled the plug on Alice--no more money--no more nothing. Over and done. The single never stood a chance. The only reason Dada got made was due to the contact and Ezrin and Shep I think helped financially to get the album finished. WB didn't even want the album, but had to release it once it was made. I'm quite certain it was basically deleted from the WB catalog right after release. The same goes for SF and Zipper. I think they all got deleted after the initial pressings and all three went out of print not too long after their release. "

Strikes me that Shep badly miss-read the market twice. The first time by thinking you could successfully keep the original audience and bolt on their mothers as well and the second time by thinking that you could convince people you were really new wave. He probably had a chance if the AOR thing hadn't happened first but how does anyone go from one end of the market to the other in a single step and not expect to confuse and alienate people. All I can say is thank god they didn't decide to go a little bit Country next..

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Re: The AOR 45's v The Black Out 45's

Post by padre_sliprat » Sun Jun 02, 2019 8:20 pm

del wrote:
Sun Jun 02, 2019 6:39 am
Strikes me that Shep badly miss-read the market twice. The first time by thinking you could successfully keep the original audience and bolt on their mothers as well and the second time by thinking that you could convince people you were really new wave. He probably had a chance if the AOR thing hadn't happened first but how does anyone go from one end of the market to the other in a single step and not expect to confuse and alienate people. All I can say is thank god they didn't decide to go a little bit Country next..
He turned 30 in 1978, so the AOR stuff wasn't as far a stretch as the new wave. With his vocal ability, I think he could have grown into a successful crooner - first, he'd have had to pack away the snake and the guillotine.
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Re: The AOR 45's v The Black Out 45's

Post by mr.barlow » Sun Jun 02, 2019 10:47 pm

del wrote:
Sun Jun 02, 2019 6:39 am
"WB pulled the plug on Alice--no more money--no more nothing. Over and done. The single never stood a chance. The only reason Dada got made was due to the contact and Ezrin and Shep I think helped financially to get the album finished. WB didn't even want the album, but had to release it once it was made. I'm quite certain it was basically deleted from the WB catalog right after release. The same goes for SF and Zipper. I think they all got deleted after the initial pressings and all three went out of print not too long after their release. "

Strikes me that Shep badly miss-read the market twice. The first time by thinking you could successfully keep the original audience and bolt on their mothers as well and the second time by thinking that you could convince people you were really new wave. He probably had a chance if the AOR thing hadn't happened first but how does anyone go from one end of the market to the other in a single step and not expect to confuse and alienate people. All I can say is thank god they didn't decide to go a little bit Country next..
It's not that Shep mis-read the market--he was actually trying to take Alice into what was the current trend at the time. It came very close to working---especially the AOR stuff. He had hits with all the ballads. It started with WTMN so it wasn't a single step, and the toning down and mainstreaming was happening with tv appearances, magazine articles etc. Alice was going "Hollywood". If Alice wasn't so messed up around the time of Goes To Hell & Lace & Whiskey and with a little luck and a few tweaks in the approach it may have worked. He would have lost his core fan base but he would have been a huge mainstream artist. BUT.....it ended up a huge FLOP!

The change to new wave was more of a bending to the musical trends of the time. People were sick of over-the-top schtick and wanted more sleek and modern music---and punk. Alice threw in on it and if WB got behind FTF and the single Clones it would have been as big as "Trash". "Clones" is one of his best songs. FTF is one of his best and most original albums.

Again...Alice's addictions at the time also hampered the success as did WB's growing lack of support for all things Alice. Also, Shep's guideance was lost during that period as he pulled back from Alice for a few years for various reasons. Alice hits rock bottom during Zipper and in it's aftermath Shep enters back in and helps in getting the unwanted (by WB) Dada get made. Then.....bring back the classic character once again a few years later and Alice has never strayed too far from that image since.

The great thing about those missteps is that it allowed Alice to record a wide variety of music and styles. This is the one reason I became an Alice Cooper fan. I "discovered" him in 1980-1981 so I came to know Alice as the SF incarnation.
In picking up his back catalog I loved the fact that every album was different--some drastically. Alice always stayed fresh and took chances. Some worked and some didn't.

But it was always signature Alice. All of it with the exception of "Trash" which was Alice Bon Jovi. That is the only album where Alice was not Alice. Poison being the only exception on that album.

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Re: The AOR 45's v The Black Out 45's

Post by Daggers & Contracts » Mon Jun 03, 2019 12:18 am

mr.barlow wrote:
Sun Jun 02, 2019 10:47 pm
But it was always signature Alice. All of it with the exception of "Trash" which was Alice Bon Jovi. That is the only album where Alice was not Alice. Poison being the only exception on that album.
Trash was the Lp that brought me back into the fold & I had to backstep to get the MCA Lp's! I don't think JBJ would have ever said "If my Love was a lollipop would you lick it?" :rotfl: Not that Trash is ever going to be rated as his best LP but, Alice returned to form (somewhat) & only tweeked the changes since. Brutal Planet does come to mind as a departure (for the better). :clap:
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Re: The AOR 45's v The Black Out 45's

Post by del » Mon Jun 03, 2019 7:53 am

Wasn't aware that Step stepped back which would clearly have been an impact. Imo AOR was indeed a mistake. Yes the strategy was clearly there from WTMN yes the singles were a success and yes they kept coming but the success reduced and the world moved on. If they had been closer to upcoming trends they would have seen the Ramones etc. Picking that up earlier would have been the masterstroke not just following what was already a big wave of soft AOR. I stayed a fan right through AOR land as there was something still there from the old world. I so nearly lost it after DA DA because I felt it was all rather desperate and effectively going up a dark alley. In more ways than one as it turned out...

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Re: The AOR 45's v The Black Out 45's

Post by padre_sliprat » Mon Jun 03, 2019 11:50 am

del wrote:
Mon Jun 03, 2019 7:53 am
Wasn't aware that Step stepped back which would clearly have been an impact. Imo AOR was indeed a mistake. Yes the strategy was clearly there from WTMN yes the singles were a success and yes they kept coming but the success reduced and the world moved on. If they had been closer to upcoming trends they would have seen the Ramones etc. Picking that up earlier would have been the masterstroke not just following what was already a big wave of soft AOR. I stayed a fan right through AOR land as there was something still there from the old world. I so nearly lost it after DA DA because I felt it was all rather desperate and effectively going up a dark alley. In more ways than one as it turned out...
WTMN was a great record, except for DOY and Escape, which seemed juvenile for a 27 year old man. The first time I saw the GTH album, I thought it was a bootleg because of the recycled B$B photo. It wasn't a bad LP, but it felt like an inferior WTMN. Had a couple of songs from GTH been grafted into WTMN, that would have been cool to me.

L&W is one of my favorites, because it felt AC was maturing and maybe going to have a career as a mainstream artist. It's kind of like MOL - good for what it is. You can't listen to either expecting the old Alice, because you won't get that. I loved the tour for L&W - you had to be there to understand.

FTI was polished, but kind of flat, owing to David Foster and Toto. But, Foster was the right guy for the record - and Toto were the right band. Jackknife Johnny was surprisingly mature and one of his best songs ever. I loved that tour as well, but the band was so loud and they were playing so coked up sounding that it left me cold. For me, it was the last solid AC album until BP (which was the industrial equivalent of MOL - and was the basis of his last great stage show).

I love all the quirky albums along the way, otherwise, we'd be listening to the same handful of music ad nauseum.

My opinion, YMMV.
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Re: The AOR 45's v The Black Out 45's

Post by pitkin88 » Mon Jun 03, 2019 8:03 pm

Only Women Bleed: the song that started the, mostly, dreadful ballads. At the time it was a VERY controversial song due to the title and subject matter. It was completely out of left field for Alice. I don't think it saw much radio play in the UK and of course flopped. It's a very clever song and more powerful on the album due to the length. Without doubt the best of the ballads.

I Never Cry: trying to be the all around entertainer and looking for the U.S. Housewives to score another AOR hit we get this slice of puss poor hokum. While Kiss where breathing fire Alice was handing out the kleenex. Played live it just sounds out of place and slows down the show. Dud.

NMLAYC: the theme from The Golden Girls has more life in it than this. Horrible beyond belief and universally despised. The only plus is You can barely hear him. It could probably have been released under a different name and no one would have guessed it was him.

You and Me: unlistenable. Pure cheese. 100% velveeta. Barry Manilow territory. Cardboard lyrics and syrupy strings. Was no one watching the shop when this was recorded?

How You Gonna See Me Now: one of the few honest and real songs about his alcoholism. Sadly doesn't make it any good though. Taupin and Foster meet Alice Cooper playing David Cassidy. Horrible choice for a single that was of course a minor hit thanks to American soccer moms. Thankfully Clones broke the run of middle of the road mom 45s. Sadly it wasn't the monster hit it should have been.

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Re: The AOR 45's v The Black Out 45's

Post by Rhapsody of Fire » Mon Jun 03, 2019 9:17 pm

pitkin88 wrote:
Mon Feb 18, 2019 9:22 pm
The Blackout 45's are a joy and play well one after the other. The onnly misfires are the plodding metal of TH I and I Am The Future which is just cheesy synth. That said I'd prefer them over the AIR pipe and slippers stuff.

If only Warner had got behind Clones with its brilliant hook. It was the best single since NMMNG and should have been a hit.
They were good albums. About the ballads, do you feel better now that you have spitted all your venom?

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Re: The AOR 45's v The Black Out 45's

Post by pitkin88 » Mon Jun 03, 2019 10:23 pm

Hunky Dory.

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