After over three years of constant touring and recording life in Alice Cooper was starting to show a few signs of strain. With little time to spend writing new material the band had to return to the studio earlier then was probably wise to follow up the massive success of 'Billion Dollar Babies'. Having said that 'Muscle of Love is still a classic album, it just doesn't quite scale the heights of it's predecessor (but then what does??). It also marked the last time the original band would work together in the studio.
November 20th 1973
- Big Apple Dreaming' (Hippo) (Cooper, Bruce, Buxton, Dunaway, Smith)(5:10)
- Never Been Sold Before (Cooper, Bruce, Dunaway, Smith, Buxton)(4:28)
- Hard Hearted Alice (Cooper, Bruce)(4:53)
- Crazy Little Child (Cooper, Bruce)(5:03)
- Working Up A Sweat (Cooper, Bruce)(3:32)
- Muscle Of Love (Bruce, Cooper)(3.45)
- Man With The Golden Gun (Cooper, Bruce, Dunaway, Smith, Buxton)(4:12)
- Teenage Lament '74 (Cooper, Smith)(3:53)
- Woman Machine (Cooper, Bruce, Dunaway, Smith, Buxton)(4:32)
- Alice Cooper - Vocals
- Neal Smith - Drums and Vocals
- Dennis Dunaway - Bass and Vocals
- Glen Buxton - Lead Guitar (Note: Glen barely plays on the final album)
- Michael Bruce - Rhythm Guitar, Vocals, Piano and Organ
- Bob Dolan - Keyboards
- Mick Mashbir - Guitar
- Dick Wagner - Guitar
- Paul Prestipino - Banjo on 'Crazy Little Child'
- Liza Minnelli - Backing Vocals on 'Teenage Lament '74' and 'Man With The Golden Gun'
- La Belle (Norma and Sarah) - Backing Vocals on 'Teenage Lament '74'
- Ronnie Spector - Backing Vocals on 'Teenage Lament '74'
- The Pointer Sisters - Backing Vocals on 'Teenage Lament '74' and 'Working Up A Sweat'
- Stanley "The Baron" Behrens - Harmonica on 'Working Up A Sweat'
Produced By Jack Richardson and Jack Douglas for Nimbus 9 Productions
Sunset Sound, Hollywood
The Cooper Mansion, Greenwich, CT
The Record Plant, New York
Recording Engineer: Jack Douglas
Recording Technicians: Reed Stanley, Dennis Frerante and Ed Sprigg
Horns and Strings arranged by Macmillan and recorded at A&R Recording Studios, New York.
with recording engineer Phil Ramone
Album Concept and Design: Pacific Eye And Ear
Photography: Saint-Jivago Desanges/La Legion
Portrait Photography: Gary Sloan
Make-up: Linda Livingston
Album Notes - (Detailed release information)
The before and after shots from the inside sleeve of 'Muscle Of Love'
'Muscle Of Love' (working title: 'A Kiss And A Fist') was the last album to be recorded by the original 'Alice Cooper' as a band. Over the course of seven albums and five years they had gone from being an unknown band playing half empty clubs to being the biggest touring band in America. But the journey had taken it's toll. The pace of the never ending tour/record/tour cycle had left little time to breath and while the band had taken the odd short holiday here and there it was nowhere near enough to fully recharge the batteries. The 'Billion Dollar Babies' tour had benn especially punishing and Alice was physically broken and bruised. Glen's health had taken the biggest hit, and many suggest he was more or less absent during the new recording sessions, kept on the credits to maintain the united front to their audience, and, of course, out of loyalty to their friend. That he has more writing credits on 'Muscle Of Love' then any other is an oddity. He was losing interest in the band and a way of life that was slowly killing him, and apart from a few very low key appearances, he would never record again. Dennis Dunaway in 2015:
Also missing was their mentor and "sixth member" Bob Ezrin. At the time Ezrin had just finished producing albums for Lou Reed and was rumoured to have his own issues with both exhustion and substance abuse. There had also been friction in the studio, with Michael Bruce especially becoming frustrated with Ezrin calling all the shots. The official stance at the time was that Ezrin was to ill to produce the album, but heated arguments in the studio had come to a head during pre-production when Michael refused to change the arrangement of 'Woman Machine' to Ezrin's liking. Ezrin walked. Of course Jack Richardson and Jack Dougles were no slouches in the production department, but the unique relationship the band had with Ezrin was lost.
So 'Muscle Of Love' came out of a turbulent time and possibly suffered because of it, but that doesn't mean it's a bad album. Far from it. While the overall concept is a little all over the place (Alice discribed the loose concept as "urban sex habits") most of the songs are extremely strong. 'Muscle of Love', 'Big Apple Dreamin' (Hippo)' and 'Hard Hearted Alice' are up there with the best the band had ever recorded but the album lacked a an epic like 'My Stars' or the theatrics of 'I Love The Dead'. Alice:
'Muscle of Love' had a hard job following the #1 'Billion Dollar Babies' and often suffers as a result. Most bands would be perfectly happy getting to #10 on the Billboard album charts but for 'Muscle Of Love' it was disappointing. In the UK the drop was even more significant with the album only managing to reach #24 in one of the bands key markets. The single, 'Teenage Lament '74' also failed to touch previous singles, reaching only #48 in the US (but #12 in the UK) which in turn probably didn't help album sales. The song simply wasn't special like 'School's Out' or 'Elected', and of all the so-called "hits" in Alice's catalogue this is the one that often get's forgotten. It wasn't even performed on the tour promoting the album!
Of the albums songs only the title track has ever seen regular concert performances, with 'Teenage Lament'74' being the only other song from the record to be performed after 1974, and that was only for a couple of special performaces. 'Working Up A Sweat', 'Big Apple Dreamin' (Hippo)' and 'Hard Hearted Alice' were only played on the 'Muscle Of Love' tour. 'Never Been Sold Before', 'Crazy Little Child', 'Man with the Golden Gun' and 'Woman Machine' have never been performed live.
'Big Apple Dreamin' (Hippo)': The working title of the song was 'Hippopotamus', which was named after the club of the same name in New York City that the band used to frequent. The title was changed but the "(Hippo)" suffix remained.
Dennis Dunaway on 'Crazy Little Child':
'Man With The Golden Gun' was written for the James Bond movie of the same name. Alice had seen the title at the end of the previous Bond film (a Bond tradition) and had come up with the song in hopes of getting the group name on one of his favourite movie franchises (Alice loves Bond movies). His theory was that if the song already existed, and people were familiar with it, the producers would have to use it. However the makers of the Bond films were concerned that the Alice Cooper image didn't fit well with the movie and rejected it, in favour of a different song under the same name sung by British pop star Lulu.
Hollywood legend Liza Minilli sang backing vocals on the 'Muscle Of Love' for two tracks on the album. Rumour has it she arrived in the studio and immediately started searching for the beer. Aorund the time of the recording she had been romantically linked to Alice in the gossip columns after the pair had been seen hanging out together several times in Hollywood and Las Vegas (where Minelli was performing). Whether there was really anything to the story is unknown but it generated a fair amount of publicity for both artists which is never a bad thing. An early title for the song was 'Respect For The Sleepers' and a rehearsal version can be heard on the 'Life and Crimes..' box set.
'Woman Machine' was a song that had been around for some time. Alice explained to Circus magazine in 1974:
The flanged voice at the end of 'Woman Machine' was just Alice reading the technical section of an Ampex tape recorder manual which was in the recording studio. Corrections welcome to the following:
A song called 'Baby Please Don't Stop' was considered for the albums, written and featuring Neal on vocals. The song had been around for a while and demo/rehearsal tapes exists of the song, which eventually turned up on Neal's 'Platinum God' solo album.
The album was reissued as half of an odd double compilation album called 'A Man Called Alice'. The other half was Alice's solo record Lace And Whiskey'.
The band shooting the 'Teenage Lament '74' video.
A promotional film was made for 'Teenage Lament '74' but received little airplay. The clip featured the band in a keystone cops scenario, dressed as jailbird, running around being chased by female 'cops' until the run into an old theatre where the 'Billion Dollar Babies' stage is set up. The film was discribed by journalist Robbie Grant around 1974:
The world's biggest musical menace looked strange, even for Alice. Dressed in striped prison uniforms, Alice and the band were shackles with heavy lead balls and chains. Six Keystone Kops dotted the depressing corridors of the jail, as the Cooper group plotted a way out. Someone slipped Alice a hairpin, and as he watched the female Keystoners fall asleep, he quietly opened the door to his cell. The five Cooper characters tip-toed down the jailhouse corridor past the sleeping guards - until one of them stirred. Then all hell broke loose. Alarms sounded, Kops scurried, and the chase was on!
Alice made a flying dash for the door with his group close behind him. Glenn brought up the rear as the slapstick chase continued into Manhattan's busy mid-town shopping district. The luscious female Keystone Kops followed closely - through alley ways, over cars and behind office buildings. Finally, the band of weary outlaws, ball and chain flung over their shoulders, turned down Second Avenue. The Fillmore East loomed in the distance. When they reached the doors of the hallowed auditorium, they ducked inside.
The huge building was deserted. The acres of seats were empty. But up on stage stood the famous chrome Cooper stage set from their last, legendary tour. The with Keystone Kops not trailing far behind, the group jumped on the stage, materializing saws and axes to chop through their balls and chains. Finally free of their convicts' charm bracelets, they dash not for the door, but for their instruments, and quickly broke into the first chords of "Teenage Lament '74". As the final notes of the new Cooper song reverberated through the empty Fillmore, the police arrived and fought it out with the group on stage.
The cover of 'Muscle of Love' continued the band's record of unusual packaging, and yet again it casued problems. The original vinyl came inside a thick cardboard box with a visible stain across the bottom. Inside, the album was housed in an inner sleeve one side of which showed the band in sailor suits outside 'The Institute Of Nude Wrestling' as if on shore leave. The reverse was the aftermath of their adventures, beaten and bruised seemingly after they've been thrown out of the club. There was also an insert which, supposedly, if you folded it right would become a school book cover. in included a photo of the band pealing potatoes in a ships galley, punishment for the behavior on shore leave, plus band photos and the album credits.
'Muscle of Love' came under scrutiny in South Africa where the inner sleeves depicting Alice and group outside the 'Institute of Nude Wrestling' was considered obscene by the Customs and Vice Squads. The albums were finally allowed into the country without the offending material.
Mr. Trudnich, Dean Of Men
On the insert there is a picture of a man in a cowboy hat, listed as "Mr. Trudnich - Dead Of Men"
Advert for the 'Teenage Lament '74' single.
Mr. Trudnich top left.
Mike Trudnich is/was my father. He's been passed away for 3 years now. The small man, who's photo is above the name of Mr. Trudnich on the bookcover that came with the record, and elsewhere on the sleeve, is NOT my Dad. I don't know who that man is or what his name might be. My Dad is on the back of the book cover. Alice and the boys are beaten up and peeling potatoes, I think there are some naval police (I'm going off memory cause I don't have a bookcover or copy of the photo) and also a cook. My Dad is the cook. The one with the HUGE belly, smoking a cigarette, with a sock hanging from the ladle!
I have not always been so proud of this! I didn't go showing it off to my girlfriends a whole lot unless I knew they liked Alice and where cool. My parents were complete hippie, biker types. They were friends with the people who owned Pacific Eye and Ear, who did the album cover. My Dad met Alice through them at that time and they hit it off. My Dad drank nothing but Olympia beer, Alice drank nothing but Bud, so they partied and Alice said he should do the album photo.
Now please remember as I tell you this, it's what my Dad told me so who knows if it's all true! I was 8 at the time and I remember it was a very exciting day in the house before he left for the shoot and that says a lot because life in our house was like living in a biker clubhouse. Well, almost! They were gone all day and night and the next day when we saw our parents and asked "what did you bring us?" they pointed to a huge pile of potatoes! I think they brought home 100 pounds or something like that! We were so disappointed! However, my sick and twisted folks loved to see us suffer before making us happy and so as soon as we had a good frown they gave us our autographed treasures! I can't remember who all got what (there where 7 of us!) but I know I got a very large billion dollar bill that they all had signed, to me! It was great!!! When we got a copy of the bookcover and we saw Dad's name under the small mans face we laughed hysterically! We asked our Dad what happened? That's not you! He told us that Alice played a joke on him and had a good laugh on him and that he thought that was "bitchen!" Mr. Trudnich, Dean of Men, is the big~belly cook!
It's a great memory. I don't know what happened to my billion dollar baby bill, but I ended up with one of my parents treasures, a cardboard cutout of Alice about a foot tall in his Popeye~ish/naval uniform. I take good care of him (although my folks didn't and he got a little roughed up in their care) and he always hangs in a place of honor!
Sincerely, Heather Trudnich
The 'Muscle Of Love' tour was actually billed as the 'Billion Dollar Babies Holiday Tour' and as such was almost exactly the same as the preceeding tour bar a few songs changes and the band appearing in sailors outfits in reference to the new album cover. At the end of the show, as it was near Christmas, 'Nixon' was replaced by 'Santa Claus', played by journalist Bob Greene who was on the road writing a book about the band.
In addition to the band members, the tour also featured:
- Mick Mashbir - guitar
- Bob Dolin - keyboards
- Cindy Smith - Giant Tooth
- The Amazing Randi - Dentist, Executioner
- Bob Greene - Santa
- Hello Hooray
- Billion Dollar Babies
- I'm Eighteen
- Big Apple Dreamin' (Hippo)
- Muscle Of Love
- Hard Hearted Alice
- My Stars
- Unfinished Sweet
- (Night on Bald Mountain - tape)
- Sick Things
- Dead Babies
- I Love The Dead
- (Night on Bald Mountain - tape)
- School's Out
- Working Up A Sweat
- (Christmas Song tape)