Alice Cooper was described as “a violent and evil influence on the nation’s youth,” when he toured Britain in 1973. The dread Cooper inspired led six Members of Parliament to petition the Prime Minister to refuse the singer permission to enter the country. The petition failed.
Then, Mary Whitehouse, doyen of minding-other people’s business, campaigned to have Alice Cooper’s records banned by the BBC. Mrs. Whitehouse also failed, and “School’s Out” went to number one in the UK charts.
The fear of Alice Cooper and his like, led many on the Right to believe the end of civilization was nigh. Hard to believe now, but back then with a 3-day-working week, nation-wide power cuts, food shortages, rising unemployment, a failing economy, and an incompetent Conservative Prime Minister, there were those amongst the Establishment who considered a “Boy’s Own” military coup over their “salmon and lamb cutlets.”
Nothing happened, and Alice Cooper successfully toured the UK. But the “pace” of touring, with its chaotic hotel-living, took a considerable tool, and Cooper became an alcoholic. By the time he returned to the U.K. in 1978, the singer was sober and seemingly “rehabilitated.”
This rare (flickering) interview from the BBC News and Current Affairs show Tonight, in December 1978, has the late Donald MacCormick quizzing Alice about the changes to his life, his new show, and album From the Inside, which was inspired by Cooper’s stay in a New York sanitarium to cure his alcoholism.
Previously on Dangerous MInds
Through A Glass Darkly: Malcolm Lowry, Booze, Literature and Writing
With thanks to NellyM!