Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Tuesday Tuneage
Alice Cooper - "Generation Landslide"

A brief rock 'n' roll history lesson, because few I have talked to over the years seem to know this: The name "Alice Cooper" originally applied to the whole band - Glen Buxton and Michael Bruce on guitars, Neil Smith on drums, Dennis Dunaway on bass, and Vincent Furnier on lead vocals. After seven albums -five on Warner Bros. and four of those produced by the masterful Bob Ezrin - the band split up (likely due to artistic differences, right?) and Furnier went on to a solo career as "Alice Cooper." It is important to understand this, it's why the original band's (best captured on 1974's Alice Cooper's Greatest Hits) music is better than Alice's later solo stuff. Plus it makes the "she asked me why the singer's name was Alice" line in "Be My Lover" all the better in the By The Way Which One's Pink Sweepstakes.

I first heard "Generation Landslide" in the movie Dogtown and Z-Boys (the movie so nice Stacy Peralta wrote it twice) and not owning any Alice Cooper aside from Greatest Hits was intrigued. I acquired the song and it's brilliant. Acoustic guitar opening, hooks galore, Dylan-like lyrics, a damn fine harmonica solo, and a hard rock ending that's worthy of The Who. The song is about the generation gap - I think, though the first time I heard "landslide" used colloquially was after the 1972 presidential election - but nobody has anaylzed these lyrics like those of "American Pie" though the song is just as good and over and done with much quicker.