Muscle Of Love Era

Background

Muscle Of Love is the 7th Alice Cooper album and was released in 1973.  Following the success of Billion Dollar Babies, Muscle Of Love performed comparatively poorly in terms of sales and critical reception and was to ultimately signal the end of the original Group (at least for the time being). The reason for the album’s failure is more complicated than simply the quality or production of the music (which is, generally, very good) and more to do with poorly executed marketing and the notable absences of both Glen Buxton and producer Bob Ezrin.

 

What also didn't help was that all the Group members were tired after years of recording and touring and the creepy / shocking songs that were their hallmark were binned in favour of ‘nicer’ material. None of this went down well with the record buying public who begun to turn their back on the Group in their numbers. Just like that, the Alice Cooper Group was finished.

 

Debates over the single reason why the Group split have been going on for years and the passing of time has done little to clarify this. In fact, if anything, it has made the situation worse with blurred or romanticised accounts often being presented. The simple fact is that there were probably far more than one single reason and that the split was an incremental process formed by fatigue, changing lifestyles, differences of opinion, different career aspirations and market forces. This is probably best described in Dennis Dunaway's 2015 autobiography 'Snakes! Guillotines! Electric Chairs!, My Adventures In The Alice Cooper Group'.

Muscle Of Love Album Cover

Muscle Of Love 12" Promotional Vinyl Album

1973, Warner Brothers, BS 2748

This USA 12" promotional copy of the final Alice Cooper Group album is a real oddity due to the use of a thick die-cut cardboard box, which is designed to look like a carton containing muscles. The only problem is that they must have leaked, which explains the amusing fake stain at the bottom! It's all very funny although the record stores apparantly weren't very happy with this release as (a) they weren't easy to store / display due to the depth of the box (b) didn't jump out to customers as an Alice Cooper album and (c) many of the customers who did work out what it was thought that the boxes were actually damaged!

 

The inner sleeve features images of the Alice Cooper Group dressed as sailors both before and after a clearly eventful visit to the 'Institute Of Nude Wrestling'! Also provided in the box is a blue-tone insert featuring images of the Alice Cooper Group (plus the mysterious Mr Trudnich, Dean Of Men), track listings and credits. It also includes some folding instructions, which apparently allows you to create a book cover.   

 

As this is a promotional copy, it includes white Warner Brothers vinyl labels and an additional pink Warner Brothers 'PROMOTIONAL COPY NOT FOR SALE' sticker on the back. There is also a small saw cut on the bottom of the box, which was commonly added to promotional records to deter their resale to the public. Finally, this copy also came with a promotional Muscle Of Love 'Record Town' T-shirt (which has aged rather well).

 

Finally, almost all copies of Muscle Of Love feature a pink poker chip printed on the rear with the track listings contained within. Bizarrely though, the tracks are listed in completely the wrong order! This isn't the first time this happened on an Alice Cooper album though, with similar(ish) issues also present on some editions of Easy Action and School's Out. No definitive explanation is known for why this is the case here, but it may have been as simple as the need to satisfactorily fit the track titles within the poker chip!

 

Discogs Link: Click Here

Muscle Of Love 12" Vinyl Album

1973, Warner Brothers, BS 2748

This USA 12" 1st pressing of Muscle Of Love is exactly the same as the promotional copy (above) only that it features 'Palm Tree' Warner Brothers labels and does not have the promotional sticker on the back of the box.

 

Discogs Link: Click Here

Muscle Of Love 12" Vinyl Album

1973, Warner Brothers, BS 2748

This further USA 12" 1st pressing of Muscle Of Love is exactly the same as the above copy only that the matrix number on the dead wax is slightly different, which indicates that it was manufactured at a different pressing plant (there were several used for Alice Cooper records).

 

What makes this copy interesting is that the faux stain on the front and back of the box is notably more pronounced than my other copies (see comparative image below). This is again most likely due to this copy being manufactured at a different pressing plant, although it's quite rare to see a USA copy like this, as the majority were more discreet. This is the opposite of pressings in some other countries, such as Australia and Japan, which generally all featured very pronounced staining like this copy.

 

Discogs Link: Click Here

Muscle Of Love 12" Quadraphonic Vinyl Album

1973, Warner Brothers, BS4 2748

Both the Billion Dollar Babies and Muscle Of Love albums were subject to unique 'Quadradisc' editions in the USA. Better known as 'Quadraphonic' releases these provided a different, 4-channel, mix which were designed to be enjoyed using a 4-speaker set-up (effectively meaning that it was the first notable attempt at 'surround sound'). The downside of enjoying such audio pleasure was that it could only be fully achieved with a suitably expensive hi-fi / speaker set-up, meaning that this format never really landed with the mass music-buying market.

 

As with other 'superior' quality products, the enhancements offered will be fairly hard to identify for most listeners (especially if they're not using a suitable set-up), but audiophiles would no doubt be able to point out that both the vocals and instrumentals have unique discernible attributes.

 

In terms of the packaging, it is exactly the same as the main USA release (above) only that it features an additional Quadradisc hype sticker on the front. Also, the vinyl labels feature an extra Quadradisc logo and a slightly different code (i.e. BS4 2748 rather than BS 2748).

 

Discogs Link: Click Here

Muscle Of Love 12" Vinyl Album

1973, Warner Brothers, K 56018

This UK 12" 1st pressing of Muscle Of Love is exactly the same as the USA versions (above) only that it features a different product code on the front of the box and vinyl labels.

 

Discogs Link: Click Here

Muscle Of Love 12" Vinyl Album

2013, Friday Music, FRM-2748

This USA 180 gram vinyl re-issue by Friday Music is welcomed but was always going to be comprimised when compared to the original release (above). Gone is the bizarre cardboard packaging of the original album in favour of a more traditional gatefold version, which features the original inner sleeve artwork. The vinyl is excellent quality though and Big Apple Dreamin sounds especially nice!

 

Discogs Link: Click Here

Muscle Of Love 8-Track Album

1973, Warner Brothers, M8 2748

This USA 8-track album features a black cartridge and includes abridged artwork on the front. The wrap-around sticker also provides the product code on the side and track listings on the rear. This copy also includes a matching black card sleeve.

 

As with other editions of this album, the track listings provided on the pink poker chip are in completely the wrong order to that of the original vinyl version. To make matters more confusing, the running order on this edition is different again and was presumably due to the need to adequately fit everything into the four 'programs' on the cartridge.

 

I have two copies of this release, one opened and one sealed. 

 

Discogs Link: Click Here

Muscle Of Love Cassette Album

1973, Warner Brothers, WB M5 2748

This USA 1st edition cassette version of Muscle Of Love comes in a plastic 'Slipcase' containing abridged artwork on the front and track listings on the back. Inside is a black tape with printed additional track listings. 

 

Discogs Link: Click Here

Muscle Of Love Cassette Album

1990, Metal Blade Records, 926447-4

This remastered USA cassette version of Muscle Of Love by Metal Blade Records is notable in that, whilst it includes similar (if somewhat comprimised) artwork as the original LP release (above) it also features the following additional 'hand-written' note by Alice:

 

"Muscle Of Love was a landmark for my career in an odd way. It followed School's Out (no 2) and Billion Dollar Babies (no 1). Strangely enough it was the original Alice Cooper Band's last album. It featured Teenage Lament, a top twenty single, and a bunch of other strange little songs. We still do Muscle Of Love on stage when we need a shot of adrenaline. Man With The Golden Gun was written for the James Bond movie but they were too scared to use it. All in all I never really understood this album. I think that's good".

 

The opaque white cassette features the track titles and, interestingly refers to Working Up A Sweat as 'Workin' Up A Sweat' (which I've not seen abbreviated like this on any other releases of the Muscle Of Love album).

 

Metal Blade Records also made similar cassette and CD releases for the Lace And Whiskey and From The Inside albums (both of which contained hand-written notes by Alice).

 

Discogs Link: Click Here 

Muscle Of Love CD Album

1990, Metal Blade Records, 926447-2

This remastered USA CD version of Muscle Of Love by Metal Blade Records contains slightly enhanced artwork to the cassette version (above) and again includes the additional 'hand-written' note by Alice. The CD is also provided with nice, complimentary, artwork. 

 

Discogs Link: Click Here

Muscle Of Love CD Album

1990, Warner Brothers, 7599-26226-2

This European CD version of Muscle Of Love comes in a jewel case and features a 12-page booklet containing track listings, credits and artwork from the original vinyl release (above).

 

Discogs Link: Click Here

Muscle Of Love 'Mini LP' SHM CD Album

2011, Warner Brothers, WPCR-14305

In 2011, all the Alice Cooper albums from Pretties For You through to From The Inside were re-issued in Japan on 'Super High Material' (SHM) CD format. SHM CD's are, apparently, made of improved material, that provides a clearer medium for the reading of the data and so reduces read errors and thus can improve sound quality.

 

A notable feature of all the SHM releases is that they closely replicate the original packaging of the vinyl releases. In the case of Muscle Of Love, this includes the die-cut cardboard box and book cover insert. An additional black-and-white bilingual lyric booklet and external 'Obi Strip' are also provided (both of which are common features of Japanese music releases).

 

What would have been really cool though is if they had made the CDs look more like minature vinyl discs. What is offered is still more than satisfactory though and the SHM releases are definitely the quintessential Alice Cooper CD editions of all the available variants out there.

 

Discogs Link: Click Here

Muscle Of Love SACD Album

2015, Audio Fidelity, AFZ5 229

This USA release by Audio Fidelity offers a mulitchannel 4.0 mix of Muscle Of Love, which is understood to be the same as the original Quadraphonic vinyl (above). As with their Billion Dollar Babies re-issue, this features an SACD rather than the '24k' gold CDs that were used in their other Alice Cooper releases (e.g. Love It To Death, Killer, and School's Out).  

 

The packaging remains fairly true to the original, with a cardboard box effect sleeve and CD, plus the single-sided 'Institute Of Nude Wrestling' insert. There is also a small booklet provided which contains track listings, credits and original album artwork.     

 

This is a limited edition release and is numbered #1,372 on the back of the sleeve. I'm not sure how many were produced but I assume it is 5,000 like the Audio Fidelity 24k releases.

 

A further 24KT+ Gold releases were also made by Audio Fidelity for both the Love It To Death and Killer albums.

 

Discogs Link: Click Here

NOTE: Further CD copies of this album are featured in the Compilations and The Studio Albums 1969-1983 sections of this website.

Muscle Of Love, 7" Vinyl EP

1974, Warner Brothers, S2748

This USA 7" vinyl EP features 'Palm Tree' Warner Brothers labels, comes in a paper envelope sleeve, and includes Working Up A Sweat and Never Been Sold Before on Side A and Muscle Of Love and Teenage Lament '74 on Side B (all from the Muscle Of Love album).  

 

The front of the sleeve has blue-tone 'Institute Of Nude Wrestling' artwork as previously seen on the inner sleeve of the Muscle Of Love album (above) and on the back are track listings. Original copies came with a sheet of 10 jukebox strips, with half of those intact here.

 

This great item was a very generous gift from hardcore UK-based Alice Cooper Group fan Chris Daniels. Thanks Chris!

 

Discogs Link: Click Here

Teenage Lament '74 7" Promotional Vinyl Single

1973, Warner Brothers, WB 7762

This USA 7" promotional vinyl single features white Warner Brothers labels and includes Mono and Stereo versions of Teenage Lament '74 (from the Muscle Of Love album) on Sides A and B respectively. This was a common feature of promotional singles at the time, as it enabled radio stations to play songs on both AM (Mono) and FM (Stereo) stations.  

 

Each label also includes an 'Intro' time, which helped DJs to understand how long they had to introduce a song prior to the lyrics beginning.

 

The labels on either side are stamped with 'Property of WCAO Record Library' as this record was originally issued to WCAO Records in Baltimore, Maryland and, more specifically, iconic local DJ and emcee Johnny Dark.

 

Discogs Link: Click Here

Teenage Lament '74 7" Vinyl Single

1973, Warner Brothers, WB 7762

This USA 7" vinyl single features 'Palm Tree' Warner Brothers labels, comes in a Warner / Reprise paper sleeve, and includes Teenage Lament '74 on Side A and Hard Hearted Alice on Side B (both from the Muscle Of Love album).

 

Discogs Link: Click Here

Teenage Lament '74 7" Vinyl Single

1973, Warner Brothers, WB 16344

This German 7" vinyl single features 'Palm Tree' Warner Brothers labels, comes in a paper sleeve, and includes Teenage Lament '74 on Side A and Working Up A Sweat on Side B (both from the Muscle Of Love album).  

 

The sleeve has the same 'Institute Of Nude Wrestling' artwork as previously seen on the inner sleeve of the Muscle Of Love album (above) on both the front and back.

 

Discogs Link: Click Here

Teenage Lament '74 7" Vinyl Single

1973, Warner Brothers, K 16345

This UK 7" vinyl single features 'Palm Tree' Warner Brothers labels and includes Teenage Lament '74 on Side A and Hard Hearted Alice on Side B (both from the Muscle Of Love album).

 

Discogs Link: Click Here

Teenage Lament '74 7" Vinyl Single

1973, Warner Brothers, 16344

This French 7" vinyl single features green etched Warner Brothers labels, comes in a paper sleeve, and includes Teenage Lament '74 on Side A and Working Up A Sweat on Side B (both from the Muscle Of Love album).  

 

The sleeve has an image of the Alice Cooper Group dressed as sailors on the front and on the back is promotional material for 6 of the Alice Cooper Group's albums (School Days, School's Out, Love It To Death, Billion Dollar Babies, Killer and Muscle Of Love).

 

Discogs Link: Click Here

Teenage Lament '74 7" Vinyl Single

1973, Warner Brothers, WB 16344

This Dutch 7" vinyl single features 'Palm Tree' Warner Brothers labels, comes in a paper sleeve, and includes Teenage Lament '74 on Side A and Working Up A Sweat on Side B (both from the Muscle Of Love album).  

 

The sleeve has the same image of Alice performing live on both the front and back (although the front of mine has gained a Smurf transfer!).

 

Discogs Link: Click Here

Teenage Lament '74 7" Vinyl Single

1973, Warner Brothers, P-1271W

This Japanese 7" vinyl single features 'Palm Tree' Warner Brothers labels, comes in a Warner Brothers paper sleeve complete with colour insert, and includes Teenage Lament '74 on Side A and Woman Machine on Side B (both from the Muscle Of Love album).  

 

The insert features an illustration by Joe Garnett of a 'Medusa' Alice, which was originally made for the front cover of the May 1973 edition of Amercia's iconic Time magazine, but was subsequently withdrawn at short notice due to the emerging Watergate scandal. However, it can also be seen hiding on the novelty-sized Billion Dollar Bill that came with original vinyl releases of the Billion Dollar Babies album. On the inside are track listings, lyrics and credits on the inside and promotional material for the Love It To Death, Killer, School's Out and Billion Dollar Babies albums on the back.

 

A promotional copy of this release also exists, which is identical except that it features white vinyl labels instead.

 

Discogs Link: Click Here

Teenage Lament '74 7" Vinyl Single

1973, Warner Brothers, 74601

This rare Turkish 7" vinyl single features green Warner Brothers labels, comes in a paper sleeve, and includes Teenage Lament '74 on Side A and Working Up A Sweat on Side B (both from the Muscle Of Love album).

 

The front of the sleeve features a striking silhouette-style drawing of Alice complete with white detailing, white flowers and red snake-eye makeup and on the back are track listings.

 

Discogs Link: Click Here

Teenage Lament '74 7" Vinyl Single

1973, Warner Brothers, N-S-63-56

This Portuguese 7" vinyl single features 'Palm Tree' Warner Brothers labels, comes in a paper sleeve, and includes Teenage Lament '74 on Side A and Working Up A Sweat on Side B (both from the Muscle Of Love album).  

 

The sleeve has a grey-tone image of the Alice Cooper Group dressed in tuxedos with hair pulled back in ponytails, with a further image of Alice superimposed (both images previously featured on Billion Dollar Babies era 7" single releases). On the back are track listings and credits.

 

Discogs Link: Click Here

Muscle Of Love 7" Promotional Vinyl Single

1973, Warner Brothers, WB 7783

This USA 7" promotional vinyl single features white Warner Brothers labels and includes Mono and Stereo versions of Muscle Of Love (from the Muscle Of Love album) on Sides A and B respectively. This was a common feature of promotional singles at the time, as it enabled radio stations to play songs on both AM (Mono) and FM (Stereo) stations.  

 

Each label also includes an 'Intro' time, which helped DJs to understand how long they had to introduce a song prior to the lyrics beginning.

 

Discogs Link: Click Here

Muscle Of Love 7" Vinyl Single

1973, Warner Brothers, WB 7783

This USA 7" vinyl single features 'Palm Tree' Warner Brothers labels and includes Muscle Of Love on Side A and Crazy Little Child on Side B (both from the Muscle Of Love album).

 

Discogs Link: Click Here

Muscle Of Love 7" Promotional Vinyl Single

1974, Warner Brothers, WB 16374

This German 7" promotional vinyl single features white Warner Brothers labels, comes in a paper sleeve, and includes Muscle Of Love on Side A and Crazy Little Child on Side B (both from the Muscle Of Love album).

 

The vinyl labels state 'Unverkäufl. Warenprobe ohne Wert' and 'Echantillon gratuit / Trade Sample' which, converted to English, reads 'Not for sale. Sample without value' and 'Free sample / Trade Sample'. 

 

The sleeve has the same image of Alice dressed as as a sailor with 'Popeye' style forearms and calves on both the front and back.

 

Discogs Link: Click Here

Muscle Of Love 7" Vinyl Single

1974, Warner Brothers, WB 16374

This German 7" vinyl single is excatly the same as the above promotional copy only that it features 'Palm Tree' Warner Brothers labels.

 

Discogs Link: Click Here

Muscle Of Love 7" Vinyl Single

1974, Warner Brothers, 16374

This French 7" vinyl single features 'Palm Tree' Warner Brothers labels, comes in a paper sleeve, and includes Muscle Of Love on Side A and Crazy Little Child on Side B (both from the Muscle Of Love album).  

 

The front of the sleeve has artwork that closely resembles the Muscle Of Love album cover and on the back is promotional material for 4 of the Alice Cooper Group's albums (Killer, School's Out, Billion Dollar Babies and Muscle Of Love).

 

Discogs Link: Click Here

Muscle Of Love 7" Vinyl Single

1974, Warner Brothers, WB 16374

This Dutch 7" vinyl single features 'Palm Tree' Warner Brothers labels, comes in a paper sleeve, and includes Muscle Of Love on Side A and Crazy Little Child on Side B (both from the Muscle Of Love album).  

 

The sleeve has an image of Alice dressed as as a sailor on the front with 'Popeye' style forearms and calves, whereas the back features the Alice Cooper Group outside the 'Institute Of Nude Wrestling' as previously seen on the inner sleeve of the Muscle Of Love album (above).

 

Discogs Link: Click Here

Muscle Of Love 7" Promotional Vinyl Single

1974, Warner Brothers, P-1295W

This ultra-rare Japanese 7" promotional vinyl single features white Warner Brothers labels, comes in a generic paper sleeve complete with colour insert, and includes Muscle Of Love on Side A and Crazy Little Child on Side B (both from the Muscle Of Love album).  

 

The insert has an image of Alice dressed as as a sailor on the front with 'Popeye' style forearms and calves with additional flamboyant detailing / hype text and track listings, lyrics and credits on the back.

 

Discogs Link: Click Here

Muscle Of Love 7" Vinyl Single

1974, Warner Brothers, N-S-63-62

This Portuguese 7" vinyl single features 'Palm Tree' Warner Brothers labels, comes in a paper sleeve, and includes Muscle Of Love on Side A and Crazy Little Child on Side B (both from the Muscle Of Love album).  

 

The sleeve has an orange-tone image of the Alice Cooper Group dressed as sailors on the front and on the back are track listings and credits.

 

Discogs Link: Click Here

For information on the post Alice Cooper Group careers of Mike Bruce, Glen Buxton, Dennis Dunaway and Neal Smith Click Here.

 

For the Welcome To My Nightmare era Click Here.