How Alice Cooper Became The Godfather Of Shock Rock

GRAMMY nominee on his patented blend of high-energy hard rock and grand theatrics
  • Photo: Mark Sullivan/
    Alice Cooper
July 18, 2014 -- 9:00 am PDT

GRAMMY-nominated shock rocker Alice Cooper recently participated in an installment of the GRAMMY Museum's Reel To Reel series. Before an intimate audience at the Museum's Clive Davis Theater, Cooper, joined by filmmakers Sam Dunn and Reginald Harkema, discussed the making of his documentary Super Duper Alice Cooper and why he believes he is considered the godfather of shock rock.

"I think it was the fact that I opened the door to theatrics," said Cooper. "We proved that you could sell records and be theatrical … and we understood that if you're going to go up against Led Zeppelin and the Rolling Stones, and people like that, you had to be a great band first, then you put the theatrics on it."

Born Vincent Furnier in Detroit, Cooper is considered a hard rock pioneer. Inspired by Broadway musicals, horror movies, vaudeville, and rock music, he released his debut album, Pretties For You, in 1968, which cracked the Billboard 200. Several hit albums followed, including 1972's School's Out (No. 2), 1973's Billion Dollar Babies (No. 1), 1975's Welcome To My Nightmare (No. 5), and 1989's platinum-selling Trash (No. 20). Cooper received his first career GRAMMY nomination for Best Video Album for 1983 for Alice Cooper "The Nightmare." In 1996 he collaborated with Rob Zombie for "Hands Of Death (Burn Baby Burn)," which garnered a GRAMMY nomination for Best Metal Performance.

In April Cooper released Super Duper Alice Cooper, a documentary that chronicles his storied career, his battles with drugs and alcohol and his recovery. Cooper is currently the special guest on Mötley Crüe's final tour, which has dates scheduled through November. 

Upcoming GRAMMY Museum events include Spotlight: A.J. Croce (July 22), Great Guitars: Pete Anderson (July 30), Omar Souleyman In Conversation With Henry Rollins (Aug. 3), and The Drop: Billy Joe Shaver (Aug. 7). 

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