Special Forces (Alice Cooper album)

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Special Forces
Special Forces (Alice Cooper album - cover art).jpg
Studio album by
Released30 June 1981
GenreRock, hard rock, new wave
LabelWarner Bros.
ProducerRichard Podolor
Alice Cooper chronology
Flush the Fashion
Special Forces
Zipper Catches Skin

Special Forces is the sixth solo album by Alice Cooper, released in 1981, and was produced by Richard Podolor, most famous as the producer for Three Dog Night. Singles included “You Want It, You Got It”, “Who Do You Think We Are” and “Seven and Seven Is”.

Alice Cooper appeared on The Tomorrow Show with Tom Snyder to promote the album, being interviewed and looking very gaunt in full military-drag make-up, after which he played live versions of “Who Do You Think We Are” and “Seven and Seven Is”. Cooper toured Special Forces through USA, Canada, France, Spain and the United Kingdom, but other than the aforementioned songs he played no further Special Forces songs live, except for snippets of “Vicious Rumours” at a few shows in the US and Scotland.[1] With the exception of “Who Do You Think We Are”, which was a regular part of setlists during the Eyes of Alice Cooper tour in 2004,[2] none of the songs from Special Forces has been performed live since 1982.[3]

French television special Alice Cooper a Paris was recorded in January 1982, before the start of the Special Forces European tour - Cooper's first tour of Europe since 1975. The tour was a major success.

Special Forces is the first of three albums which Alice refers to as his "blackout" albums, followed by Zipper Catches Skin, and DaDa, as he has no recollection of recording them, due to substance abuse. Cooper stated “I wrote them, recorded them and toured them and I don’t remember much of any of that”,[4] though in fact he toured only Special Forces.[3]

The Special Forces tour, ending in February 1982, would be Cooper's last for over four years, as he succumbed to the abuse of freebase cocaine and a subsequent relapse of alcoholism, until his return to the road in October 1986 with "The Nightmare Returns" tour.

Album Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic3/5 stars[5]

Greg Prato's review at AllMusic.com says: "...1981's Special Forces was Cooper's most stripped-down and straightforward since his classic early-'70s work. But without the original Cooper band to back him up and help out with the songwriting, it's an intriguing yet sometimes uneven set. Cooper was heavily into the guns and ammo publication Soldier of Fortune at the time; hence the album title and lyrical subject matter. The opening track, "Who Do You Think We Are," is one of Cooper's punchiest rockers, and one of his most overlooked, while "Seven & Seven Is," "You Look Good in Rags," and "Vicious Rumours" are also rocking highlights. A faithful rereading of the Billion Dollar Babies nugget "Generation Landslide" is included as well, titled "Generation Landslide '81 (Live)," even though it was, in fact, entirely created in the studio (with added audience cheers). While Special Forces didn't return Cooper to his earlier status as a chart-topping superstar, it is certainly one of the strongest and most interesting releases of his post-1975 period." [1]

Track listing[edit]

Side one
1."Who Do You Think We Are"Alice Cooper, Duane Hitchings4:21
2."Seven and Seven Is"Arthur Lee2:41
3."Prettiest Cop on the Block"Cooper, Davey Johnstone, Fred Mandel3:13
4."Don't Talk Old to Me"Cooper, Johnstone, Mandel2:54
5."Generation Landslide ‘81" (live)Cooper, Glen Buxton, Michael Bruce, Dennis Dunaway, Neal Smith3:50
Side two
6."Skeletons in the Closet"Cooper, Hitchings3:42
7."You Want It, You Got It"Cooper, Erik Scott, Craig Krampf, Billy Steele, Eric Kaz3:15
8."You Look Good in Rags"Cooper, Hitchings3:35
9."You’re a Movie"Cooper, Hitchings3:37
10."Vicious Rumours"Cooper, Hitchings, Scott, Mike Pinera3:43

“Look at You Over There, Ripping the Sawdust from My Teddybear”, was listed on the album packaging, but was removed by Cooper from the album itself before the release, as he felt it didn't fit with the overall theme. It was later released in demo form on the 1999 box set The Life and Crimes of Alice Cooper, and again in demo form on the 2010 reissue of Special Forces. There is a completed studio version of the song which remains unreleased.

Seven and Seven Is” was a cover of Love's original, written by Arthur Lee.



Year Chart Position
1981 Billboard Pop Albums 125
1981 UK Album Charts 96


  1. ^ Gray, Iain; “Apollo, Glasgow: Alice Cooper”; in The Glasgow Herald; February 22, 1982; p. 4
  2. ^ Alice Cooper Tour Archive
  3. ^ a b Alice Cooper Tour Archive
  4. ^ Love And Poison, An Alice Cooper Interview
  5. ^ Prato, Greg. "Special Forces - Alice Cooper". Allmusic. Retrieved 28 September 2014.