Alice Cooper‘s luckless Muscle of Love had the unenviable task of following up two consecutive star-making albums, School’s Out and Billion Dollar Babies. Exhaustion and dysfunction got the best of everyone, however, and the underperforming Muscle of Love hastened the demise of the original Alice Cooper band.
After toiling for years as a mid-level band, Alice Cooper soared to stardom with 1972’s School’s Out, a hard-rock tour de force that peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 and spawned a Top 10 hit with its title track. They one-upped themselves the following year with the chart-topping Billion Dollar Babies, a decadent concept album featuring the band’s signature macabre lyrics, gallows humor and vaudevillian flair.
These back-to-back albums turned Alice Cooper into one of the biggest acts of the early ‘70s, but they also took their toll. Within less than a year, Alice Cooper were back in the studio to record Muscle of Love, which found them stripping away the complex theatricality of their recent albums in favor of a back-to-basics hard rock sound. They also ditched longtime producer Bob Ezrin, working with co-producers Jack Douglas and Jack Richardson instead.
A sense of weariness permeates Muscle of Love, which rocks dutifully but lacks the grandiosity and indelible hooks of its predecessors. Fans and critics picked up on this dynamic shift when Alice Cooper released Muscle of Love on Nov. 20, 1973. The album received mixed reviews and peaked at No. 10 on the Billboard 200, only earning a gold certification after Billion Dollar Babies and School’s Out both went platinum. By 1974, Alice Cooper would break up, and singer Vincent Furnier would take the band name for himself, embarking on a successful solo career with 1975’s Welcome to My Nightmare.
Watch the video below to learn more about Muscle of Love, and tune into our “Doomed to Fail?” video series each week as we dust off ill-fated classic rock albums and determine whether they’re hidden gems or better left forgotten.
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