Alice Cooper arrived on the music scene to make people look twice and ruffle feathers in every room he walked into. His stage presence was fresh and freaky, but when he’s not prancing on stage for thousands, Cooper leads a relatively normal life. Furthermore, his favourite song of all time isn’t exactly in character.
What makes him such a captivating figure is his loyalty to the facade he’s built up, but he’s not always donning eyeliner and wearing skin-tight leather pants. Sometimes, he just wants to play a round of golf, followed by coming home to listen to one of his favourite blues records like your average 73-year-old man.
Once commenting on his modus operandi when he strolled into the public eye, Cooper said: “We were into fun, sex, death and money when everybody was into peace and love. We wanted to see what was next. It turned out we were next, and we drove a stake through the heart of the Love Generation.”
His favourite song of all time comes from that same period and from another artist who was an undisputed rock ‘n’ roller, who, like Cooper, wanted to put an end to the year of the hippie. Paul Butterfield might be a name unfamiliar to everybody reading this, but he was a Muddy Waters-endorsed icon of the blues who sadly passed away in 1987 when he was only 44.
Even though his life and career were both cut short, his 1965 effort East-West with The Butterfield Blues Band, not only has been named by Cooper as one of his favourite records of all time, but it also features ‘Work Song’, which is the one track he simply couldn’t live without.
He made this revelation during an appearance on the BBC’s Desert Island Discs. The institution sees famous guests choose the eight songs they’d take with them if they were stranded, as well as a book and a luxury item of their choosing. At the end of the programme, the islanders also name their ‘Castaway’s Favourite’, and for Cooper, that was an easy decision to make.
“It’s one of those albums that nobody knows about. Musicians know about it,” Cooper once told Rolling Stone about the album in which ‘Work Song’ appears.
He heartfully added: “The thing that really topped it off, I think, after I had worn the album out maybe five or six times — and I still have it in my 1968 Mustang — is I talked to Elvin Bishop, and he mentioned that most of those tracks were done live in the studio, one or two takes maybe, which made it even more astounding. Because there’s not a mistake, there’s nothing. The feel is magnificent on every song.”
His choice is a somewhat surprising one when you consider his sound, but Cooper is just in total awe of the song, which is also an instrumental, and the record as a whole. Perhaps, it’s because it’s from the opposite side of the rock ‘n’ roll spectrum to him, which allows Cooper to enjoy it from afar, and just marvel at the majesty of The Butterfield Blues Band.