We all have a song that changed us, which took our brain and smashed it into a thousand tiny pieces, only to rearrange it in an entirely new way. In a recent interview, Alice Cooper named the song that did that for him. Below, we take a look at how the music of The Beatles changed Cooper’s life entirely.
Alice Cooper is as synonymous with American rock music as the Les Paul guitar. With his raspy wail and theatrical stage shows, Cooper helped forge heavy metal aesthetics, drawing from horror and vaudeville to create a new form of rock music, which embraced the camp and the obtuse to great effect. Today, he is regarded as the godfather of shock-rock.
Cooper was born in 1948 and grew up on a diet of spiritual music and classic blues. He recalls that Chuck Berry’s ‘Maybellene’ was the first song he ever heard: “I lived in Detroit and my parents were very much into music. My Dad was a big band guy. I remember my uncle coming over and putting a 45 on and it was Chuck Berry. I thought it was the greatest thing I’d ever heard. Chuck Berry was the basis of everything that we do and the greatest lyricist of all time –he could tell a story in three minutes. That’s how I learned to write.”
However, for Cooper, there was one song that changed everything. The Beatles’ She Loves You’ had an immense impact on the young Cooper. He remembers that it was: “The first song by The Beatles I ever heard and it literally changed something in my brain. It inspired what Alice Cooper became.” I know; it came as a surprise to me too. You couldn’t get further from Cooper’s hot-blooded blend of glam-rock if you tried. But, it’s important to remember that for so many of Cooper’s generation, The Beatles – even in their straight-laced, bowl-headed incarnation – represented an entirely new way of life. Their music came from a place that young people could relate to, from a place in which people from even the most ordinary of backgrounds could become extraordinary.
‘She Loves You’ was released as a single in 1963 and quickly shot to the top of the UK charts. It remains the group’s best-selling single and the top-selling single of the 1960s by any artist. The song was composed by John Lennon and Paul McCartney while The Beatles were on tour with Roy Orbison in 1963. According to Lennon, the duo started writing the song on the tour bus and then finished it back at McCartney family home in Liverpool.
According to McCartney, the song was influenced by Bobby Rydell’s hit ‘Forget Him’, he explained: “As often happens, you think of one song when you write another. I’d planned an ‘answering song’ where a couple of us would sing ‘She Loves You’ and the other ones would answer ‘yeah yeah’. We decided that was a crummy idea but at least we then had the idea of a song called ‘She Loves You’. So we sat in the hotel bedroom for a few hours and wrote it – John and I, sitting on twin beds with guitars.”
You can listen to The Beatles’ She Loves You’ below.