November, 20, 1973 - Alice Cooper: "Muscle of Love" is released.
"The album in the plain brown, slightly greasy wrapper"
Muscle of Love is the seventh and final album from the original Alice Cooper Group. It was released on November 20th, 1973 and was the follow up to the hugely successful Billion Dollar Babies album which was released in February of the same year. Muscle of Love was considered a failure upon it's release as it peaked at No.10 on the Billboard charts and only attained gold status whereas Billion Dollar Babies had made it to the No.1 position on the charts and sold in excess of a million copies.
Muscle of Love was an attempt by the band to make a straight ahead rock and roll record without all the trappings and theatrics that they had so carefully crafted with their previous albums. Muscle of Love was the bands first album to not be produced by Bob Ezrin since their breakthrough 1971 album Love It To Death. It was originallly reported that Ezrin dropped out of the project because of an illness but later reports indicated that Ezrin was at odds with the band.....mainly guitarist and chief songwriter Michael Bruce.....over the direction the album was taking. It was decided that Jack Richardson and Jack Douglas would co-produce the record in Ezrin's absence. The result is a solid collection of songs that have aged well. Over the years Muscle of Love has become a fan favorite and many feel it is right in line with all the other Cooper classics of the day. Two singles were pulled from the record..."Teenage Lament '74" and the title track....but neither track managed to make much of a dent on the singles chart. Other highlights on the album include "Working Up A Sweat", "Big Apple Dreamin' (Hippo)", "Never Been Sold Before", "Hard Hearted Alice" and "The Man With the Golden Gun". "Man With the Golden Gun" was originally intended for the soundtrack of the James Bond film of the same name but the band turned the song in too late and the song was not used in the film......so the band decided to include on their album.
The packaging of the album is unique as it came in a shallow corrugated cardboard carton with a stain intentionally printed along the bottom of the carton. Many of the records were returned by retailers because they thought the cartons had been damaged in shipment....so it's actually pretty tough to find vinyl copies of this album that don't have a "cut-out" notch on one of the corners that indicates it as a return.
This album marks the last time the original Alice Cooper Group would record together as it was decided that Alice Cooper (the group) and Alice Cooper (the man) needed a break from each other. Alice would release his first album as a solo artist in 1975....with his very successful Welcome To My Nightmare. It was originally thought that the group would reunite for another record after Alice finished up with Welcome To My Nightmare....but this never happened and three of the original Alice Cooper Group members formed the band Billion Dollar Babies and released an album entitled "Battle Axe" without Alice. "Battle Axe" was a bomb and the band disappeared soon after.....Alice would continue on with his solo career and is still releasing new music and touring to this day.
In 2011 The Alice Cooper Group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and later that year the surviving members of the original Alice Cooper Group joined Alice in the studio for the first time since the Muscle of Love record and they contributed to a few songs on his Welcome 2 My Nightmare album. Sadly Alice Cooper guitarist Glen Buxton passed away in 1997...so a full Alice Cooper Group reunion wasn't in the cards.
In recent years Alice has been performing the title track from Muscle of Love in concert.....which is a nice tip of the hat to an album that many have forgot about. If you are an Alice fan.....I'm sure you have heard this record before but if not....I highly recommend that you give it a listen.