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Billion Dollar Babies by Alice Cooper
Album: Billion Dollar BabiesReleased: 1973
This song is about the dangers of overindulgence. It came just as Cooper was getting famous and exposed to rock star excess, and accordingly it helped make him rich and famous. Alice used the cash to buy a house in Los Angeles and finance more elaborate stage shows and videos. He lived the rock star lifestyle for a while, but in later years settled into a very sensible upper class lifestyle, living in Arizona, playing lots of golf, and making shrewd business decisions. He never became a billionaire, but he did very well for himself.
Cooper and his band recorded this at a mansion in Greenwich, Connecticut, which is a very wealthy suburb of New York City. They rented it out to record the album. The song is credited as written by Cooper, his guitarist Michael Bruce, and a session guitarist they worked with named Reggie Vinson.
The Billion Dollar Babies album was re-released with new packaging as a DVD in 2000. It contains all the songs plus interviews and bonus tracks.
As part of his stage show, Cooper would mutilate dolls when he performed this song. The tour for the album introduced the props Cooper became famous for, including the guillotine, the snake, and hundreds of cans of beer.
This song took on new meaning when Cooper started playing at casinos in the '90s.
1973 was the last year that Alice Cooper was recognized as a group, rather than just the lead singer. Since the singer, Vincent Furnier, drew most of the attention, many fans did not know the difference between him and the Alice Cooper Band. Muscle of Love was the last album as the group.
As lead singer Vincent Furnier became the known as Alice Cooper and sucked up all the notoriety the band received, the guitarist, bass player, and drummer from The Alice Cooper Band left and formed a group called The Billion Dollar Babies. They released an album called Battle Axe in 1977.
The background vocals were sung by Donovan of "Mellow Yellow
" fame. According to Mojo
magazine, Donovan was recording at Willesden's Morgan Studios around the same time as Alice and then got roped in on the latter's session.
Notwithstanding the sometimes grotesque subject matter, Cooper told Gibson.com
that one of his main inspirations for the album was Chuck Berry. "[Berry] was my favorite lyricist," said Cooper. "When I first heard something like 'Nadine
,' or 'Maybelline
,' I understood those songs told a story. As the lyrics went along, you really got a picture of what was going on. He took the girl out; he couldn't get his seat belt off - things like that. I always wanted to write three-minute stories that were funny, or maybe not just funny, but also dramatic. The idea was to compact everything into three minutes, which is really hard to do."