Billion Dollar Babies from 1973 is by far the then commercial peak for the Alice Cooper band. With a number one album under their belt, the band released a collection of tunes featuring a wide variety of subject, including two of their most recognisable singles.
Truth be told, the average rock fan knows this album on the weight of the singles, Election and No More Mr. Nice Guy, and rightfully so. These two tracks are great platforms to build your album on with great hooks, a catchy chorus and a sound that is as recognisable now as it was then. But that is not the only great song here, after all this record is wall to wall with great tunes. You have the title track Billion Dollar Babies, which I think everyone knows at this point. Then there are some like the great opener Hello Hooray, Mary Ann and the particularly haunting Sick Things, which are lesser known numbers (to a point) but are up there in terms of song writing that they really warrant a listen on their own merits alone.
As far as music talent goes, this is easily the best the band have sounded. The guitars from Buxton and Bruce are a great mix of straight up heavy chord sequences and more complex fills. There is a similar approach to the bass and drums, as both Dennis Dunaway and Neal Smith keep the songs simple enough that the infectious glam rock beats exists through out, but they still manage to throw in their own fills and tricks to put their own personal spin on things, and to show how they have grown as musicians.
For whatever reason, Billion Dollar Babies features an array of guest/studio musicians. Steve Hunter for example contributed a lot of guitar solos to the album, and other contributions coming from Mick Mashbir and Dick Wagner, the latter is mostly known for contributing to Alice Cooper’s classic solo album, Welcome To My Nightmare and featured on a lot of his later records. The most interesting guest on the album (in my opinion) is that of the folk singer songwriter Donovon. His contribution is the the duet with Cooper on the albums title track.
Much like every other album from the Alice Cooper band, the production style and over all sound is raw, boasting the kind of garage rock sound that made them famous. But even with the low budget guitar tones and raw sounding drums, the production has been superbly handled by Bob Ezrin. He gives the record his own personal touch by letting the band continue to be who they are whilst giving them a professional sheen makes their album sound just as good as the best of the time.
When it comes to musical merit, Billion Dollar Babies is by far the best album that the Alice Cooper band released. Through it was filled with guest musicians, the record is superbly crafted from top to bottom and is really a great ’70s rock stand out. Even if it has a distinct ’70s sound, the record still holds up extremely well and should be looked at by rock and metal enthusiasts. There is a lot of interesting themes musically and lyrical here, that it has kept its classic status after all these years and I doubt that will change anytime soon.
Where to buy :
Track Listing :
- Hello Hooray
- Raped and Freezin'
- Billion Dollar Babies
- Unfinished Sweet
- No More Mr. Nice Guy
- Generation Landslide
- Sick Things
- Mary Ann
- I Love the Dead