Alice Cooper was unstoppable during the 1970s when the band released four consecutive platinum albums and five Top 40 hits like “I’m Eighteen”, “School’s Out”, “No More Mr. Nice Guy” and “Elected”. Rhino will reissue two of those platinum albums — “Killer” (1971) and “School’s Out” (1972) — with newly remastered sound, rare recordings, and previously unreleased live performances.
Both Deluxe Editions will be released on June 9 as 2-CD sets and 3-LP versions on 180-gram vinyl. “Killer (Deluxe Edition)” retails for $69.98 (LP) and $29.98 (CD). “School’s Out (Deluxe Edition)” will be available for $89.98 (LP) and $29.98 (CD). Pre-orders are available HERE.
A previously unreleased live version of “Be My Lover” from the upcoming “School’s Out (Deluxe Edition)” is available today digitally. Listen below.
Released in 1971, “Killer” was the fourth studio album recorded by the founding quintet of singer Alice Cooper, lead guitarist Glen Buxton, rhythm guitarist/keyboardist Michael Bruce, bassist Dennis Dunaway and drummer Neal Smith. Bob Ezrin produced all four of Alice Cooper‘s platinum albums from the 1970s, including “Killer” and “School’s Out”.
“Killer (Deluxe Edition)” introduces a newly remastered version of the original release, which peaked at No. 21 on the Billboard albums chart. Along with the singles “Under My Wheels” and “Be My Lover”, the record also includes “Yeah, Yeah, Yeah”, “Desperado” and the prog-rock-inspired epic “Halo Of Flies”. The bonus material features alternate takes for “You Drive Me Nervous”, “Under My Wheels” and “Dead Babies”.
The collection also gives fans an unreleased live recording of the band’s performance at Mar Y Sol Pop Festival in Puerto Rico on April 2, 1972. Recorded a few months before the band returned to the studio to make “School’s Out”, the show previews “Public Animal #9” from the upcoming album. The band played most of “Killer” during the concert, including “You Drive Me Nervous”, “Under My Wheels” and “Halo Of Flies”. They also tapped the group’s 1971 album, “Love It To Death”, for live versions of “Is It My Body?”, “Long Way To Go” and the smash hit “I’m Eighteen”.
Shortly after the festival, the band released the title track from its follow-up album, “School’s Out”. The single was released several weeks ahead of the full album to ensure it hit radio airwaves before the school year ended. It worked. By the time school was out, the song was a hit, reaching No. 7 in the U.S. and No. 1 in the U.K.
“School’s Out (Deluxe Edition)” begins with a newly remastered version of the 1972 original, which peaked at No. 2 on the albums chart. Essential tracks like “Luney Tune” and “Alma Mater” are joined by “Gutter Cat Vs. The Jets”. The latter is an homage to “West Side Story”, a significant influence on the band. The song incorporates lyrics from “Jet Song” from the 1957 musical, which led to an unlikely songwriting credit for Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim on an Alice Cooper track.
The Deluxe Edition contains rarities like the single versions of “School’s Out” and “Gutter Cat Vs. The Jets”. Two previously unreleased tracks are also included, an alternate version of “Alma Mater” and an early demo for “Elected”, a song that would appear in 1973 on the band’s first No. 1 album, “Billion Dollar Babies”.
Alice Cooper‘s concert in Miami on May 27, 1972, adds even more unreleased music to the collection. The show was recorded a few weeks before the band entered the studio to record “School’s Out”. The live performance features standout versions of “Halo Of Flies”, “School’s Out” and “Yeah, Yeah, Yeah”, a song that gives Cooper a chance to show off his impressive harmonica skills.
The vinyl versions for both Deluxe Edition recreate the original album sleeves down to the smallest detail. For “Killer”, that means a gatefold sleeve that opens to reveal a detachable 1972 calendar with a photo of Cooper in the gallows. The cover of “School’s Out” looks like a wooden school desk and opens to reveal the LP wrapped in a pair of panties. The band stopped including the underwear following a controversy as to whether or not they were flammable. Thankfully, the lacy unmentionables in the new Deluxe Edition are not a fire hazard.
Both sets come with booklets that include track-by-track commentary by band members and former Creem magazine editor Jaan Uhelszki, plus liner notes by Bill Holdship, also a former Creem magazine editor. In “Killer (Deluxe Edition)”, Holdship writes: “Listening to ‘Killer’ again after all these years to write these notes was rewarding because, like THE BEATLES and Elvis, it’s gratifying to realize I ended up ‘wasting’ my life on something that, even in retrospect, really was that great. Fifty years later, ‘Killer’ remains a perfect — perfect! — rock ‘n’ roll record.”
In addition to experiencing the unearthed concerts on these two new deluxe editions, fans can also see Alice Cooper revisit “School’s Out” and “Killer” on an extensive tour spanning spring and summer. Beginning this weekend, the run of more than 40 shows will bring him and his band all across the country, including dates with DEF LEPPARD and MÖTLEY CRÜE, plus a month-long run with ROB ZOMBIE, MINISTRY and FILTER for this year’s “Freaks On Parade”.