I was once a little…um, okay, terribly obsessed with iTunes. I got my first iPod in 2004 and became immediately entranced by Apple’s seeming infinite lists of music for sale. Over the years, I spent way too much time on iTunes and spent way too much money on music, some of which was great, and some of which was not. In 2011, for the sake of my sanity and my bank account, I went cold turkey. I suspended my iTunes activities and completely stopped visiting site. With the iTunes Diaries, I take a look back, highlighting the good, the bad, and the ugly in music that I just had to have in the moment.
While most of my rampaging on iTunes was brought about by my own machinations, on occasion outside influences played roles in the songs that I chose. Take for instance, “Is it My Body” from Alice Cooper’s album Love it To Death. A few years back, a friend of mine posted this video of the song on Facebook:
From YouTube User Mike Frehley.
It’s a really great song, no doubt, but one that I hadn’t heard before. As a youngin’, I first saw Alice Cooper on an episode of the Muppet Show — he fit right in with all the zaniness! Later on, I was introduced to many of his songs through our local classic rock radio station (“I’m Eighteen,” “No More Mr. Nice Guy,” and “School’s Out” were staples), and one of his songs, “Poison,” was a sizable hit in the late 80s/early 90s. Fast forward to the present — when I listened to “Is It My Body,” it reminded me of the some of the sinuous, sizzling, and straight-up rock that came out of the 1970s. It also rang true to glam rock and punk, and it touched upon an era of unforgettable stage shows that were full of special effects, from simple flash-and-bang concerts to full-on stage productions inspired by Le Théâtre du Grand-Guignol. We’re talking David Bowie, the New York Dolls, Roxy Music, MC5, Slade, Sweet, Spirit, and dozens upon dozens of others.
And Cooper himself was no one-trick pony. Starting with “Is it My Body” and lots of help from the Internet, I listened to any of his early stuff I could find. (It bears mentioning that up to the mid-1970s, “Alice Cooper” was the name of his band. The point at which he began performing solo under that name began around 1975.) His range was quite dramatic and it seemed he could sing just about anything, from outrageous rock to soft ballads. Genius, if you ask me.
“Is it My Body” was more than enough to get the playlist ball rolling. Initially I thought about forming a list of his songs with that one as the nucleus. But after gorging on his albums, I knew that I never be able to pick only the cream of the crop. So the list became a sampling of rock and punk-y sounds of the late 1960s to 1970s with songs from some of the folks I mentioned previously, along with Rainbow, Yes, Gary Glitter (a questionable choice, I’ll admit), Blue Öyster Cult, Uriah Heep, and others. Was it your body, Alice Cooper, that rocked me into the sultry depths of iTunes? Um…not so much. It was your voice, your music, and your spirit.