Killer (Alice Cooper album)

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Studio album by
ReleasedNovember 27, 1971
Recorded1971 at RCA, Chicago
GenreHard rock,[1] glam rock[2]
LabelWarner Bros.
ProducerBob Ezrin
Alice Cooper chronology
Love It to Death
School's Out
Singles from Killer
  1. "Under My Wheels"
    Released: 28 September 1971 (US) [3]
  2. "Be My Lover"
    Released: 8 February 1972 (US) [4]

Killer is the fourth studio album by the Alice Cooper band, released in November 1971. The album reached number 21 on the Billboard 200 album chart, and the two singles "Under My Wheels" and "Be My Lover" made the Billboard Hot 100 chart.


Cooper said in the liner notes of A Fistful of Alice and In the Studio with Redbeard, which spotlighted the Killer and Love It to Death albums, that the song "Desperado" was written about his friend Jim Morrison, who died the year this album was released.[5] According to an NPR radio interview with Alice Cooper, "Desperado" was written about Robert Vaughn's character from the movie The Magnificent Seven. "Halo of Flies" was, according to Cooper's liner notes in the compilation The Definitive Alice Cooper, an attempt by the band to prove that they could perform King Crimson-like progressive rock suites, and was supposedly about a SMERSH-like organisation. "Desperado", along with "Under My Wheels" and "Be My Lover" have appeared on different compilation albums by Cooper. The song "Dead Babies" stirred up some controversy following the album's release, despite the fact that its lyrics conveyed an "anti-child abuse" message.


Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Christgau's Record GuideB−[7]
Rolling Stone(favorable)[8]

Rolling Stone's Lester Bangs gave it a favorable review. He explained that "it brings all the elements of the band's approach to sound and texture to a totally integrated pinnacle that fulfills all the promise of their erratic first two albums" and that "each song on [the] album finds him in a different role in the endless movie he is projecting on them." He concluded by calling Alice Cooper "a strong band, a vital band, and they are going to be around for a long, long time."[8] Robert Christgau rated the album a B−, stating that "a taste for the base usages of hard rock rarely comes with a hit attached these days, much less 'surreal', 'theatrical', and let us not forget 'transvestite' trappings". However, he said that "[the album] falters after 'Under My Wheels' and 'Be My Lover', neither of them an 'I'm Eighteen' in the human outreach department."[7] AllMusic's Greg Prato rated "Killer" four-and-a-half out of five stars. He stated that "disturbing tracks ... fit in perfectly" and that "other songs were even more exceptional". He concluded by pointing out that "it rewarded them as being among the most notorious and misunderstood entertainers, thoroughly despised by grownups."[6]


The album reached No. 21 on the Billboard album chart and two singles made the Hot 100 chart. "Be My Lover" reached No. 49 on the Billboard chart and "Under My Wheels" reached No. 59.


Region Certification Certified units/sales
United States (RIAA)[9] Gold 500,000^
United States (RIAA)[9] Platinum 1,000,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.

Live performances[edit]

Killer is the third-most-represented album in Alice Cooper's concert setlists behind Welcome to My Nightmare and Billion Dollar Babies, accounting for 13.3 percent of the songs he has played live.[10] Alongside Welcome to My Nightmare, it is one of only two Alice Cooper albums where every song has been played live, although “Yeah, Yeah, Yeah” has never been played since the end of the supporting Killer Tour,[11] while “You Drive Me Nervous” was not played subsequent to the Killer Tour until 1999,[12] and has never been performed since 2006. “Desperado” was performed only once prior to the Trash Tour in 1989, but has been frequently played live since.[13]


Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols and Public Image Ltd called Killer the greatest rock album of all time.[14] Punk icons Jello Biafra & The Melvins covered the song "Halo of Flies" on their 2005 release Sieg Howdy!. Minneapolis rock band Halo of Flies took their name from this song as well.[15] Psychobilly musicians Mojo Nixon and Skid Roper covered the song "Be My Lover" on their 1986 release Frenzy. Power metal band Iced Earth covered the song "Dead Babies" for their 2002 release Tribute to the Gods. Guns N' Roses (featuring Alice Cooper) covered the song "Under My Wheels" on the soundtrack of The Decline of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years.

Track listing[edit]

Side one
1."Under My Wheels"Michael Bruce, Dennis Dunaway, Bob Ezrin2:51
2."Be My Lover"Bruce3:21
3."Halo of Flies"Alice Cooper, Glen Buxton, Bruce, Dunaway, Neal Smith8:22
4."Desperado"Cooper, Bruce3:30
Side two
5."You Drive Me Nervous"Cooper, Bruce, Ezrin2:28
6."Yeah, Yeah, Yeah"Cooper, Bruce3:39
7."Dead Babies"Cooper, Buxton, Bruce, Dunaway, Smith5:44
8."Killer"Bruce, Dunaway6:57


Alice Cooper band



  1. ^ Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian, eds. (2004). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Fireside. p. 12. ISBN 9780743201698.
  2. ^ "Rolling Stone's Best Glam Rock Albums of All Time".
  3. ^ "Alice cooper singles".
  4. ^ "Alice cooper singles".
  5. ^ Wawzenek, Bryan (November 27, 2016). "How Alice Cooper Kept Rolling With Killer". Ultimate Classic Rock. Retrieved February 21, 2021.
  6. ^ a b Prato, Greg. Killer - Alice Cooper at AllMusic. Retrieved July 6, 2011.
  7. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (1981). "Consumer Guide '70s: C". Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies. Ticknor & Fields. ISBN 089919026X. Retrieved February 23, 2019 – via
  8. ^ a b Bangs, Lester (January 6, 1972). "Killer by Alice Cooper". Rolling Stone. Wenner Media. Retrieved July 6, 2011.
  9. ^ a b "American album certifications – Alice Cooper – Killer". Recording Industry Association of America.
  10. ^ "Alice Cooper Albums total".
  11. ^ "Yeah, Yeah, Yeah by Alice Cooper".
  12. ^ "You Drive Me Nervous by Alice Cooper".
  13. ^ "Desperado by Alice Cooper".
  14. ^ Lydon, John. Liner notes from "The Life and Crimes of Alice Cooper", Rhino Records Box Set, 1999, Catalog No: RHIN 75680.
  15. ^ Earles, Andrew (September 2014). Gimme Indie Rock: 500 Essential American Underground Rock Albums 1981-1996. Minneapolis: Voyageur Press. pp. 141–142. ISBN 978-0760346488.

External links[edit]