Springfield Newsleader

Originally Published: May 03, 1999

Cooper Collection shows depth

Four cd's may be much, but the rock showman does display his talent

Author: Mark Marymont

Alice Cooper is a lot more then the cartoon character he now seems to be. Apparently more interested in golf than music, he's little more than a rock cliche. But in his day Cooper was a master showman, turning rock n roll into a circus of outrageous fun and frivolity and hard-driving music.

This four disc collection --84 tracks from 21 albums done between 1969 and '97--- reveals more depth to this guy than you might think. All the big hits are here, including "Elected", "Schools Out", "I'm Eighteen", "Under My Wheels" and other teen-age angst anthems. There are also obscure pieces from his early days in the Spiders and Nazz and cuts from various movie soundtracks. There's a long and colorful booklet with lots of wild photos, Alice commentary on each song, a snide introduction from Johnny Lydon, a long history of the artist and his band and tributes from a wide range of fellow performers. You also get an order form for a video of his infamous "Welcome to My Nightmare" concert and lots of tacky merchandise, from T-shirts to lighters.

While Cooper made some interesting music, four discs may be a bit much for one sitting. But if you leisurely drift through his work, checking a few hits, then an obscure goodie, then back to the hits, you will realize there's more variety and power to his work than might first seem apparent, especially if you tend to think more of his goofball persona than any actual talent.