Generation Landslide: Alice Cooper’s Billion Dollar Babies at 50

What you may not know about the band’s classic sixth LP

Billion Dollar Babies inside cover photo (Image: Warner Bros. Records)

Released February 25, 1973, Billion Dollar Babies was Alice Cooper’s sixth studio album.

It was the follow up to School’s Out (Warner Bros.’ biggest-grossing record at the time) and another huge success at a time when the band was at its peak of popularity. There’s a ton that can be said about the album – maybe a billion things. Here are just a few:


That’s Donovan singing along on the title track with Alice.

Yeah, that Donovan, the one who had hits with songs like “Sunshine Superman,” “Mellow Yellow,” “Jennifer Juniper” and “Atlantis.” It was a bit of a stretch for the Scottish singer, and you need to stretch your ears a bit to say to yourself, “son of a gun, that IS Donovan,” but those voices complement each other really well.


Donovan wasn’t the only guest on the album.

As Cooper told Classic Rock magazine in 2004, “We had access to a lot of stars [during the sessions]. “In fact T.Rex, Donovan, Harry Nilsson, Ringo Starr and Keith Moon are all on that album somewhere, but none of us know where because the session was so drunk.”

Alice Cooper Billion Dollar Babies, Warner Bros. Records 1973

The side two leadoff, “No More Mr. Nice Guy,” has insinuated itself deep into pop culture.

Professional wrestler Chris Colt used it as his entrance music in 1976 and wrestling icon Jim Cornette used it as his podcast theme song for years. It’s been featured on TV shows like The Simpsons, Family Guy, Ash vs. Evil Dead, and Agents of SHIELD. It’s used in the Guitar Heroes: Warriors of Rock video game. It’s not going away anytime soon.


The album taught Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell that rock could be scary.

“When I was in junior high, every Friday the teachers would let the kids play their favorite records,” he told SPIN Magazine in 1989. “I brought in Billion Dollar Babies and they wouldn’t let me play it. They never vetoed anyone’s choice before. It was then I knew that rock ‘n’ roll could scare the fuck out of certain people.”


The Billion Dollar Babies tour was awesome.

According to the Alice Cooper eChive, the 75-minute performance included Alice killing dolls with a sword, simulating oral sex with mannequins, and being beheaded by guillotine only to return to the stage, after which he and the band beat the crap out of a Nixon impersonator. The tour program was 56 pages and the show was documented in the film Good To See You Again, Alice Cooper.


How awesome was it?

As the rock trivia book Big Bang, Baby reports, a partial list of props from the tour, which required 40 tons of equipment, included a dentist’s drill, a surgical table for a sawing-in-half machine, four whips, six hatchets, 22,000 sparklers, 300 baby dolls, 58 mannequins, 14 bubble machines, 28 gallons of bubble juice, 6,000 mirror parts and 250,000 packages of bubble bath. As Cooper said at the time, “the sicker you kids get, the greater shows we’ll have for you.”


Not everyone was amused.

Just a few months after the tour began in March 1973, as Esquire reported in 1985, British Parliament member Leo Abse tried to have Cooper show banned. “They tell me Alice is absolutely sick,” he said, referring to his own teenage children, “and I agree with them. I regard his act as an incitement to infanticide for his sub-teenage audience. He is deliberately trying to involve these kids in sadomasochism. He is peddling the culture of the concentration camp. Pop is one thing; anthems of necrophilia are another.”

Billion Dollar Babies ad (Image: eBay)

Cooper has said Billion Dollar Babies is his most decadent album.

“It was reflecting the decadence of a time when we were living from limousine to penthouse to the finest of everything including… well, the finest of everything,” he told Classic Rock. “We couldn’t believe people were actually paying us to do this. We would have done it for free, because we were just a garage band who happened to be at the right place at the right time.”


That they were. Though the original Alice Cooper band would break up in 1974, and Cooper would go on to struggle with and recover from alcoholism, he managed to fashion a career across five decades that brought him wealth and fame, not only as a rock star but as a film actor, restaurateur and golfing celebrity.

At the time Billion Dollar Babies was released, though, no one represented rock’s ability to shock and entertain audiences better than Alice Cooper. He and the original band captured and personified a moment in rock history that will always stand alone.


Craig Peters

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Craig Peters

Craig Peters has been writing about music, pro wrestling, pop culture and lots of other things since the Jimmy Carter administration. He shook Bruce Springsteen’s hand in 2013, once had Belinda Carlisle record the outgoing message on his answering machine, and wishes he hadn’t been so ignorant about the blues when he interviewed Stevie Ray Vaughan in 1983.

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