Only Women Bleed

Album: Welcome To My Nightmare (1975)
Charted: 12
  • Contrary to what many listeners believed, this is not about menstruation and it does not advocate domestic violence. Cooper is singing about how women bleed from the heart, mind and soul. Several feminist groups protested this song, but it is actually a sympathetic look at domestic abuse. It's a rare song where Cooper doesn't try to shock, but takes the side of the victim.

    Dick Wagner, who co-wrote the song with Cooper, told us: "It's really a song about domestic violence. It was misunderstood when it first came out. It was supposedly about a woman's period, but it wasn't. It was about a woman's subservient position in society to a man. I'm a firm believer that women are the superior sex. 'Only Women Bleed' was a liberating kind of song."
  • Alice Cooper and his guitarist Dick Wagner also wrote the ballads "You And Me" and "I Never Cry" together. Alice called this style "Heavy Metal Housewife Rock," and explained in an interview with Creem: "I did those songs totally out of spite. I kept reading so many interviews and articles that I said I was never considered musical. Best rock show they ever saw, but musically lacking. They kept saying I was a performer but didn't write anything. So I said, 'Oh yeah? Yeah? Wait till you hear this!'"
  • This ballad was a centerpiece of Alice Cooper's Welcome To My Nightmare tour, and his biggest hit from the album. Cooper performed the song with a single dancer, and it remained a part of his stage show for many of his concerts in the ensuing years. Alice told Mojo:

    "I didn't realize it would end up as a woman's anthem. I just needed a ballad for Welcome to my Nightmare."
  • Dick Wagner wrote what would become the music for this song in 1968 when he was with a band called The Frost. Wagner wasn't happy with the lyrics he wrote for the song, so he never recorded it. When he teamed up with Cooper in 1975, he played the music for Alice, who attached it to a title he was looking to use: "Only Women Bleed." Based around that title, he and Wagner came up with the rest of the lyrics.
  • The song was produced by Bob Ezrin using a demo that was recorded at the home studio of Micky Dolenz of The Monkees. Cooper and Wagner were able to walk to Dolenz house to record the demo.

Comments: 40

  • Jon from EnglandJust been listening to nights with Alice Cooper on Planet Rock. Songfacts.com came up searching for Only Women Bleed. I was very struck by the lyrics in this song at the time ('75, I'd just got married) as I was madly in love. The thing that struck me the most was that it was written by men. This made it all the more poignant and realised I wasn't the only one who could 'see' the tragedy of women's abuse. Anyhow, interesting to read the history of the song and the comments from others. It was later covered by Sinéad O'Connor - a woman, a rather angry woman, and the fact she was a woman completely reversed what Alice Cooper was intending, making it seem as though she was saying men did not understand this type of domestic abuse towards women. Still, just my personal opinion. My wife and I are still together and as madly in love as ever! Can't help it......
  • Jim from Columbus, IndianaI played this song on the radio in 1975 (and many times over the years since) and I never ever thought it was anything but a ballad decrying domestic abuse of women. The thought of this song being about menstruating never occurred to me, nor do I recall anyone else ever indicating such.
  • Kathleen from Sacramento CaI don't recall any backlash from any women's groups. And guys I love how you men are so aware and understanding. But I do believe it is a quick reference to menstruation that gets our attention but it's cuz it's such a perfect METAPHOR. Believe me, when I was a teen and young woman "women's lib" was a huge deal and mostly made fun of and shrugged off like we were just silly I Love Lucy characters or we must be man-haters, by men AND women too! So good to read these male comments and hoping there are young men amongst them. Okay this time I'm really done. Music can be so powerful in getting good thoughts out there. Wish more popular music told it like it is like back in the '60's etc.
  • Kathleen from Sacramento CaSO - it's not just a song about monthly bleeding - it's not a shock the establishment by choosing that subject song - to me it's an ode to women and I for one appreciate it and dig that men wrote and sang it. I wish it was heard more often. Yeah - we strong-ass mamas. Bam. And the Stones sang "we all need someone we can bleed on......and you can bleed on me!" Okay I guess I'm done now. Peace.
  • Kathleen from Sacramento CaI am in my 60's and lived or was around others living ALL you can imagine. Good, bad and had to be strong cuz we were brought up as lower class back then - and most of us are physically weaker than men. This song is awesome and bless Alice and other dude for writing it and putting it out there. It's a metaphorical observation. I'm women's lib all the way but it's a natural fact that women have unique suffering in life. And not just battered women. Mothers have special joy but also never stop hurting when their children hurt. Sure we got "the curse" of menstruation but the song means so much more. I'm not saying men don't suffer but each gender in different ways. Being a woman/mother is a heavy burden. That's life! ONLY WOMEN BLEED and that's the truth. WORD.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn April 25, 1975, the ABC-TV network aired the horror/music special 'Alice Cooper: The Nightmare'; it was a fore bearer to Michael Jackson's 'Thriller' video, and like 'Thriller' it featured Vincent Price...
    One of the songs featured in the special was "Only Women Bleed"*; at the time the song was at #41 on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart, a little over eight weeks later it would peak at #12 {for 2 weeks} and it spent 16 weeks on the Top 100...
    And on July 5th it reached #1 {for 1 week} on the Canadian RPM Top Singles chart...
    * When released as a single in the U.S.A. the title of the song was changed to "Only Women".
  • Kramo from Toronto, CanadaGreat song. And I don't care if it is about riding the cotton pony or not.
  • Stjames from TexasWhy "Only Women Bleed" song was written, Vincent Damon Furnier aka Steven Evans aka Alice Cooper stayed in Durango, Colorado back in July 1974 hiding out resting up after twisting his ankle during his last concert that month. Steven met a young 20-year-old girl who was in a very bad relationship with her husband who was off in basic training in Texas that summer. Her husband had written to her horrible threating letters that had her crying uncontrollably right before they met. When he asked her what was wrong she told him with great sorrow that, "Women bleed and its is our men that kill our love, break our hearts, and more than one way." That song became my banner to not be abused. Steven spoke of GOD, JESUS CHRIST and blew her mind with his knowledge of OUR FATHER ABBA GOD ALMIGHTY, AND HIS SON, JESUS!!! .01%
  • Katie from Tucson, AzI was 18 and a senior in high school when this song came out and I knew exactly what it was about. I don't recall any feminist groups objecting to the song and all of my friends understood and liked the song just as I did. I love Alice Cooper and my admiration for him has only deepened through the years. He's a many faceted person.

    Sometimes I think people "misremember" what happened in the past or exaggerate to create some attention or media interest. If there was a "protest", it wasn't a very big one. Possibly just a comment to a reporter who called and asked a feminist what she thought about the song. I can find no news articles that say there were feminists protesting, and nothing that said Alice Cooper remembers protests either. I only see Barry Weber, a reviewer at AllMusic saying it happened, and that became the source for Wikipedia. Was Barry even alive in 1975 when the song came out? And, where did his information come from - there's no mention of who told him this or where he got this information. If it's in Wikipedia, people tend to think it's absolutely the truth, when it still may or may not be true. The Wikipedia article also says the song received limited radio play due to the mistaken topic of menstruation being associated with it. However, this part of the article has no citations - it's just a comment by whomever wrote the article on this song.
  • Camille from Toronto, OhTrivia note: Alice Cooper, "Vincent Damon Furnier"---has been married to the same woman (Sheryl Goddard) since 1976. I agree with JohnnysCousinSteve that it's a catchy title with a double meaning.
  • Randy from Colerain Twp., OhTypical of feminist groups- they protest anything and everything without knowing the facts.
  • Fyodor from Denver, CoJohnnys Cousin Steve: How about: Love Reign O'er Me? Oh lord I need a drink of cool, cool rain....
  • Johnnys Cousin Steve from Villas, NjIT'S JUST A CATCHY TITLE FOR THE SONG!! LOL! I think some of you are over-thinking the "period" thing. The song is clearly about domestic violence with no mention of a tampon...but, being that women do bleed in a way men don't, it makes for a catchy title with a double meaning. There are lot's of titles that do that in music....and right now...I can't think of one...can you?
  • Alan from Springfield, OhThis song was remade by a one-hit wonder called Favorite Angel in 1990, and it was played on WGTZ/Dayton in the Summer of '90 for a brief time. Awesome, touching tune.
  • Kathie from Rockford, IlI was "THAT WOMAN " Back then for to many years. I claimed it as MY song as if it had been written just for me. I still cry alot when I listen to it. Today I'm not Her anymore.
  • Dan from Coeur D'alene, IdNo this song does not reference menstruation. It came apparently clear that wife beating was everywhere. In the 70's it was becoming socially aware and this is about beating your wife. Actually, it is a take of man and womans view of the wife or relationship beatings that happened a lot. First it focus on her view then it focuses on his view. Only women bleed is because they dont fight back and take one in the eye or in the nose..
  • Eb from Conch Republic, Mid-ter., FlYou can't deny that this song does reference menstruation - it's one of the key differences between men and women. I think that what the song is commenting about is how much women suffer and deal with trouble this life, and some are willing to suffer even more through abusive relationships. Women have to deal with a very unpleasant aspect of life once they hit puberty, and in that they become mature and used to some amount of suffering. Then you add to that, the plight of women throughout history as being treated as second-class citizens and the property of their fathers and husbands, and the abuse that stems from that. I think this song is a commentary on how those things were tied together in many women's lives: they had a capacity for suffering just by nature and design. And quite often tolerated more pain because of circumstances beyond their control, or by choice.
    I think it's quite a sympathetic song toward women.
  • Stu from Philly, PaAlice Cooper was my first concert that I remember (don't remember Sha-Na-Na when i was 8), and he will always be one of my very favorite artists. A musical genius.
  • Colin from Moncton, NbAlice cooper is an amazing artist clearly writes in this song about domestic violence cheers to cooper
  • Luke from Clearwater, FlWhen "Only Women Bleed" first came out, I recall being very deeply moved by both the lyrics and the production of the song; for years I was unable to listen the song without crying. To me, this song encapsulates and gives eloquent voice to the terrible plight of women around the world, and throughout history, who have suffered the horrors of abusive relationships, domestic violence, and who are often the most innocent victims of the wars men have visited upon humanity. Thanks to Alice for keeping us aware of this continuing crime against the most spiritual half of the human race.
  • Alex from Boucherville, CameroonDamn Right, Will, it is such a sensitive song that shows how women are often left alone or hurt in many ways.... and seriously, before being on this page, I never thought it could have something to do with periods... seriously, you must be really wise to make a connection here, and seriously f--ked up to actually believe Cooper would do a song about that... Welcome to My Nightmare is a great concept album and I wouldn't see a joke-song on it, I purchased it recently and it completely rocked me out, soft rock with meaningful lyrics and this theatrical way Alice Cooper has to tell a story through songs.... Nice album, nice song.
  • Will from Baghdad, IraqI cant believe that feminist groups protested this song, if they would actually listen to it rather than read the title, they would c what it is about
  • Frank from Brampton, Ontario, CanadaBoy.. this is a really classic one. As with many other sad songs I listen to, this one made me cry alot. I still cry alot whenever I listen to it because it's so sad. It talks about how easy it is for women to fall victim to an abusive husband/boyfriend. :( Now to me, that's really sad.

    But... anyways.... that's just my scoop on this.
  • David from Deerfield Beach, FlPosted on 11/1/2007. I don't know how pertinent this is, but maybe there's a bonafide songfact in here somewhere. I don't know. I just wanted to add a comment that on the "Welcome To My Nightmare" album Vincent Price lends his distinctive voice for this great narration leading into the song "The Black Widow". Well, some years later in 1982 Vincent Price also lends his voice in a similar way on the title track to Michael Jackson's "Thriller". You think Michael was inspired by this 1975 Alice Cooper classic when deciding to use Vincent Price in making his own?
  • David from Deerfield Beach, FlPosted on 10/30/2007. This is one beautiful song! In the 70's I was a little kid listening to more G-rated soft-rock stuff like The Bee Gees, ABBA, Olivia Newton-John, P.M. & Wings, Elton John, etc. Normally Alice Cooper would've been a little too hardcore for my tastes back then, but in 1975 my older sister got the "Welcome To My Nightmare" album and would let me listen to it with her. I gotta tell you, this is one really good album! Despite his schlocky-horror shtick he displays a lot of good intelligence, sensitivity, imagination, and sense of humor. This song is especially beautiful. Always knowing it was about abuse it never had occurred to me in all this time to make a connection to menstruation until I read these songfact comments just now. Unbelievable.
  • Trish from Clinton, IaTHIS SONG REALLY HITS TO THE HEART FOR ME AFTER BEING IN THIS KIND OF RELATIONSHIP. THIS SONG HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH PERIODS FOR GOD'S SAKE. ARE SOME OF YOU REALLY THAT LAME?
  • Orco from Milano, ItalyThis song was originally written and dedicated to Alice's good friend Tina Turner ( she played it in several live shows) because of her violent mariage with Ike.
  • Rachel from Lake Charles, LaI suppose maybe this song does have a bit to do with "that time of the month", but I think it mainly is about domestic violence.
  • Dale from Lufkin, TxAlice is a very talented artist and this is a great song by him and anyone who thinks this is abuot hte Menstrual cycle should actually listen to the lyrics instead of just reading the title
  • Ruth from North Attleboro, MaAlice was another great rocker I grew up too. This song has always moved me & I never thought
    once about the female cycle! Cooper wasnt as well---who was?
    Ruth in Mass.
  • Stefanie from Rock Hill, ScWes. Look at the songfacts. It not about the Menstrual cycle.
  • Charles Sheppard from Ontario, CaEtta James did a version. As I've gotten older, I understand this song a lot better. It could be looked at in terms of domestic violence; in fact, the actual lyrics suggest that rather obviously
  • Johnny from Los Angeles, CaI can't believe anyone would think this about menstruation! This is one of Alice's more thoughtful
    songs, don't diss it! I love it, Alice Cooper is so diverse!
  • Heather from Holbrook, NyThis is Alice's most covered song. Lita Ford and even Tina Turner covered it! I would say it was perfect for her with all of her previous troubles with Ike.

    This song is the first in a series of songs relating to domestic violence: Awakenings, You Took it Like a Woman, and Every Woman Has a Name.
  • Susan from Stamford, CtShortly before releasing the single, Atlantic Records shortened the title to "Only Women" primarily because of feminist activisim at the time - mid 70's. Management polled the office secretarial staff (the majority of the women in the office), and they had several long high-level pow-wows to discuss what to do. Finally, based on reaction from the office staff, and of fear of retribution from feminist groups, they shortened it! They wanted a hit single, and didn't want to deal with any possible controversy. True story!
  • Amy from Topeka, KsWhen I first saw the title of this song I also thought it might have been some vile reference to menstruation, but then I listened to it. Then I looked up the lyrics. This song is far more meaningful than taking a jab at "that time of the month." Alice Cooper has been known for doing things that some consider questionable (especially onstage) but I think there are some things that he simply won't do, and being blatantly disrespectful to all women is one of them. To say that this song should be used for Tampax ads etc. is missing the point entirely.
    ~Amy
  • Wes from Springfield, VaAh, yes, Alice Cooper's menstrual song. Look how sensitive I am. Makes me think of a really offensive tee-shirt I once saw in a theme park: "Anything that can bleed for three days and not die isn't human." (Worn by a female, yet.) When I saw that this song popped into my head. So... how come this one isn't being used for Tampax ads? Perhaps there is a limit to the bad taste of the American public.
  • Scott from Chicago, IlAt the time, I thought it was about menstrual
    cycles......
  • Bluto from Blutotown, OtherIt's composed by Alice Cooper/Dick Wagner, so yes it's Cooper's song.
  • AnonymousI've heard a version of this song sung by an african american blues woman. I was always certain that this was cooper's song. Is everybody else certain?
see more comments

Jay, Peaches, Spinderella and other Darrining VictimsSong Writing

Just like Darrin was replaced on Bewitched, groups have swapped out original members, hoping we wouldn't notice.

Rick AstleySongwriter Interviews

Rick Astley on "Never Gonna Give You Up," "Cry For Help," and his remarkable resurgence that gave him another #1 UK album.

Jesus In Pop Hits: The Gospel Songs That Went MainstreamSong Writing

These overtly religious songs crossed over to the pop charts, despite resistance from fans, and in many cases, churches.

Loudon Wainwright IIISongwriter Interviews

"Dead Skunk" became a stinker for Loudon when he felt pressure to make another hit - his latest songs deal with mortality, his son Rufus, and picking up poop.

Adam Young of Owl CitySongwriter Interviews

Is Owl City on a quest for another hit like "Fireflies?" Adam answers that question and explains the influences behind many others.

Trans Soul Rebels: Songs About TransgenderismSong Writing

A history of songs dealing with transgender issues, featuring Pink Floyd, David Bowie, Morrissey and Green Day.