March 1971: Alice Cooper Blows Up with LOVE IT TO DEATH

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Tuesday, March 9, 2021
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LOVE IT TO DEATH

Alice Cooper was chomping at the bit when it came time to record Love It to Death. The band had been kneecapped by producer David Briggs on their second album, Easy Action (1970, who according to drummer Neal Smith, "hated our music and us." Looking for a spark of inspiration, the outfit relocated to the heart of rock and roll in America at the dawn of the 1970s: Detroit, rock city.

Once ensconced in the thriving Motor City music scene, Alice Cooper teamed up with an emerging producer by the name of Bob Ezrin. The young taskmaster convinced the band to hone some of their epic jams into more focused and structured songs. When the crew emerged from the studio, they delivered Love It to Death, released by Warner Bros. Records on March 9, 1971.

The album's lead single, "I'm Eighteen," proved to be Alice Cooper's first breakout hit, peaking at #21 on the Hot 100 for the week of April 24, 1971. The #1 song in America that week: Three Dog Night's "Joy to the World." In Canada, the track climbed as high as #7 on the national charts.

While the second single from the album, opening track "Caught in a Dream," stalled at #94 on the Hot 100, it was a moot point. The notoriety of "I'm Eighteen" coupled with the growing legend of the band's notoriously wild shows was enough to pique the interest of American teens at large. The writing was already on the wall: Alice Cooper were destined to be stars. From the theatrical nine-minute set piece, "Black Juju," to the tribal psychedelia of "Sun Arise,"  Love It to Death had the energy to crash the top 40 of the Billboard 200, peaking at #35 for the week of May 15, 1971. The top-selling LP in the country that week: Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young's 4 Way Street. Love It to Death was certified gold on November 6, 1972. The record achieved platinum status in 2001.

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