Welcome to My Nightmare
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|Welcome to My Nightmare|
Cover art by Drew Struzan
|Studio album by Alice Cooper|
|Released||March 11, 1975|
|Recorded||Soundstage, Toronto; Plant East, Electric Lady and A&R Studios, New York, 1974-1975|
|Genre||Rock, hard rock, art rock|
|Alice Cooper chronology|
Welcome to My Nightmare is the eighth studio album by Alice Cooper, released in March 1975. This was Alice Cooper's first solo album (all previous Alice Cooper releases were band efforts). Now on his own and in total control, Cooper was able to explore theatrics in a way that was impossible in his band. The ensuing tour was one of the most over-the-top excursions of that era. Most of Lou Reed’s band joined Cooper for this record.
It is a concept album; the songs, heard in sequence, form a journey through the nightmares of a child named Steven. It inspired the Alice Cooper: The Nightmare TV special and a worldwide concert tour in 1975, and the Welcome To My Nightmare concert film in 1976. A sequel, Welcome 2 My Nightmare was released in 2011.
The cover artwork was created by Drew Struzan for Pacific Eye & Ear. Rolling Stone would later rank it 90th on the list of the "Top 100 Album Covers Of All Time". The remastered CD version adds three alternate version bonus tracks. Famed film actor of the horror genre Vincent Price provided the introductory monologue in the song "The Black Widow". The original version of "Escape" was recorded by The Hollywood Stars for their shelved 1974 album "Shine Like a Radio", which was finally released in 2013.
Welcome to My Nightmare received generally mixed reviews upon release. Dave Marsh of Rolling Stone called the album "a TV soundtrack that sounds like one. The horn parts are so corny you might imagine that you're listening to the heavy-metal Ann-Margret." He noted the absence of the original Alice Cooper band, stating, "without the wildness and drive of the sound the Cooper troupe had, the gimmicks on which Alice the performer must rely are flat and obvious." He concluded by saying that it "is simply a synthesis of every mildly wicked, tepidly controversial trick in the Cooper handbook. But in escaping from the mask of rock singer which he claimed he found so confining, Cooper has found just another false face."
In addition, Robert Christgau rated the album a B- grade, stating that it "actually ain't so bad – no worse than all the others." He stated that the varying compositions of the songs would potentially cause the album to influence younger listeners, saying: "Alice's nose for what the kids want to hear is as discriminating as it is impervious to moral suasion, so perhaps this means that the more obvious feminist truisms have become conventional wisdom among at least half our adolescents."
However, a retrospective review by Allmusic's Greg Prato was more positive. Prato considered the album as Cooper's best solo work, despite the absence of the original band: "While the music lost most of the gritty edge of the original AC lineup, Welcome to My Nightmare remains Alice's best solo effort – while some tracks stray from his expected hard rock direction, there's plenty of fist-pumping rock to go around." However, he maintained that "the rockers serve as the album's foundation – "Devil's Food," "The Black Widow," "Department of Youth," and "Cold Ethyl" are all standouts, as is the more tranquil yet eerie epic "Steven." He concluded by comparing the album to Cooper's next solo efforts by stating: "Despite this promising start to Cooper's solo career, the majority of his subsequent releases were often not as focused and were of varying quality."
|1.||"Welcome to My Nightmare"||Alice Cooper, Dick Wagner||5:19|
|2.||"Devil's Food"||Cooper, Bob Ezrin, Kelley Jay||3:38|
|3.||"The Black Widow"||Cooper, Wagner, Ezrin||3:37|
|4.||"Some Folks"||Cooper, Ezrin, Alan Gordon||4:19|
|5.||"Only Women Bleed"||Cooper, Wagner||5:49|
|6.||"Department of Youth"||Cooper, Wagner, Ezrin||3:18|
|7.||"Cold Ethyl"||Cooper, Ezrin||2:51|
|8.||"Years Ago"||Cooper, Wagner||2:51|
|10.||"The Awakening"||Cooper, Wagner, Ezrin||2:25|
|11.||"Escape"||Cooper, Mark Anthony, Kim Fowley||3:20|
|2002 CD reissue bonus tracks|
|12.||"Devil's Food" (alternate version)||Cooper, Ezrin, Jay||5:13|
|13.||"Cold Ethyl" (alternate version)||Cooper, Ezrin||2:56|
|14.||"The Awakening" (alternate version)||Cooper, Wagner, Ezrin||4:20|
- Alice Cooper - Vocals
- Bob Ezrin - Synthesizer, Arranger, Keyboards, Vocals, Producer
- Dick Wagner - Electric and Acoustic Guitar, Vocals
- Steve Hunter - Electric and Acoustic Guitar
- Prakash John - Bass
- Tony Levin - Bass
- Pentti "Whitey" Glan - Drums
- Johnny "Bee" Badanjek - Drums
- Drew Struzan - Artwork
|Billboard Pop Albums||5|
|1975||"Only Women Bleed" (released as "Only Women")||Billboard Hot 100||12|
|1975||"Department of Youth"||Billboard Hot 100||67|
|1975||"Welcome to My Nightmare"||Billboard Hot 100||45|
Cooper talked with Rolling Stone over the Theatrical adaption of his album, although there has been little traction on this since 2010.
The 1999 tribute album Humanary Stew: A Tribute to Alice Cooper includes covers of 'Cold Ethyl' by Vince Neil, Mick Mars, Mike Inez, Billy Sheehan and Simon Phillips and 'The Black Widow' by Bruce Dickinson, Adrian Smith, Tony Franklin, Tommy Aldridge and David Glen Eisley. The album also includes covers of the title track and 'Only Women Bleed'. All four tracks also feature the album's producer, Bob Kulick.
- "Rolling Stone's 100 Greatest Album Covers". Rate Your Music. 1991-11-14. Retrieved 2012-01-12.
- "MorleyViews: Kim Fowley (Part One)". AntiMusic.com.
- Prato, Greg. "Welcome to My Nightmare - Alice Cooper". Allmusic. Retrieved May 13, 2012.
- Marsh, Dave (April 25, 1975). "Welcome To My Nightmare". Rolling Stone. Retrieved May 13, 2012.
- Christgau, Robert. "CG: Alice Cooper". Retrieved May 13, 2012.
- Alice Cooper to Give Broadway Nightmares?
"Alice Cooper Blends Rock With Theatrics." The New York Times 07 May 1975: 48. ProQuest Historical Newspapers. Web. 2 Oct. 2014.
- Alice Cooper Welcome To My Nightmare Tour Program
- Alice Cooper Welcome To My Nightmare on Original Album Cover Art