Alice Cooper got a lot of good mileage out of watching the late night movies.  For example, a lot of the Steven manchild haunted toybox Welcome to My Nightmare stuff come straight out of Bette Davis as Baby Jane- right down to the smeared mascara. He also got the inspiration for his great early ultimate classic "Ballad of Dwight Fry" from the actor most famous as Dracula's humpbacked assistant.  Here he's trying to fight his way through a bout of mental delusions and despair, apparently addressing this lament to a young daughter.

This must rate as one of Cooper's most artistically ambitious compositions.  He goes through some fairly unusual structures to get at his closest and best musical expression of insanity and despair.  It's a thing of beauty.  Bob Dylan once noted that he considered Alice Cooper to be an underrated songwriter.  This would be one of the best examples of why someone might say that.

From the Triple J Alice Cooper trivia file:  

* Ballad Of Dwight Fry off '71's Love It To Death (their 3rd album) is described by Alice as the definitve Alice Cooper stage song. The song was written about the character actor Dwight Frye who appeared as a lunatic in the 1931 films Dracula and Frankenstein. The song follows his descent into madness. Alice sang it on stage wearing a straitjacket. Bob Ezrin (at that point their new producer) says the band put Alice under a whole pile of folding chairs to give him the feeling of being trapped when singing it. The explosion in the song is the sound of a Alka-Seltzer being dropped into water and the recording of it slowed down.


Alice Cooper group photo



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