Thursday, February 9, 2012

Remember the Coop

They've just released some mini LP CD editions of Alice Cooper's 70s back catalogue in Japan. They've also been digitally rejiggered (something that has been long overdue for these albums) and the ones I have sound great. But the reason I'm posting about them is that I've never seen CD reissues with such incredible attention to detail as these.

The picture above is the package for the School's Out album. Everything is there, from the folding out desk sleeve, to the tracklisting insert and even (and they're gilding the lily here) a set of mini nonwoven panties to mimic the notorious ones they used on the original vinyl one.

The Muscle of Love one is even more impressive. The cardboard sleeve is an uncanny replica of the one used for the vinyl album, and the inner sleeves are all present and accounted for. Note as well, how they have the correct versions of the Warner Label on the respective CDs. These guys haven't missed a trick.

Of course this just reminds you how much thought and expense went into the packaging on those albums when they first came out. Whether it was 1972 calenders, desks, billion dollar notes or LP sleeves as lunatic asylums, these records have some of the more memorable packaging of the time, and let's be honest, they probably contributed significantly to the band's success. Which in some ways is a shame because those albums didn't really need that much help. The four records that the band made with Bob Ezrin (Love it to Death, Killer, School's Out and Billion Dollar Babies) are all strong albums, especially the last one, which is stuffed to the gills with hits. Though to be fair, others, such as the patchy Muscle of Love needed all the help they could get.

If you know the albums, you'll know that - the odd bit of overproduction aside - they've aged pretty well. Killer in particular sounds as fresh as paint. In fact, it's a bit puzzling why the band isn't regarded more highly: they were undoubtedly influential - the group photo on the cover of the School's Out single (below) was the template for just about every band that hung out on Sunset Strip during the 80s. Come to think of it, maybe that's the problem.