Love It to Death is the third album by Alice Cooper, released in February 1971. It reached #35 on the Billboard albums chart and received praise from critics such as in the pages of Rolling Stone. Hits include "Ballad of Dwight Fry", "Is It My Body", and "I'm Eighteen" (also known as just "Eighteen"), which is one of Cooper's famous songs. Many of the tracks have been played in various live performances over the past decades.
Following the commercial disappointment of the band's first two albums, Love It to Death performed well and brought the Alice Cooper band into the mainstream. Much credit is generally given to producer Bob Ezrin, protégé of record giant Jack Richardson, for cleaning up the band's sound with fresh ideas and making it more accessible, most notably on the track, "I'm Eighteen". It originally was a much longer song, and in more of a psychedelic vein like the band's first two albums, which contained several longer songs.
The album cover caused much controversy at the time of its release. Early pressings show Cooper holding his cape around him in such a way to give the illusion of an exposed penis (see cover photo). This led Warner Brothers to censor it (four different versions of the front cover exist on LP). Alice Cooper's thumb along with his right arm is clearly airbrushed out on censored versions. The original CD release uses the most common censored LP cover for the booklet cover.
In 2003, Love It to Death was ranked #460 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. Both "Second Coming" and "Ballad of Dwight Fry" were covered by alternative metal band The Melvins for their album Lysol. "Is It My Body" was covered by Sonic Youth and Emilie Autumn. "Hallowed Be My Name" was also covered by Sonic Youth on the Lovedolls Superstar OST.
The first issue of the album was on Straight Records, a company created by Frank Zappa and manager Herb Cohen. By the time the album became a success it had already been re-issued by Warner Bros Records, who were the original distributors of the Straight label.
|1.||"Caught in a Dream"||Michael Bruce||3:10|
|2.||"I'm Eighteen"||Bruce, Alice Cooper, Dennis Dunaway, Neal Smith, Glen Buxton||3:00|
|3.||"Long Way to Go"||Bruce||3:04|
|1.||"Is It My Body"||Cooper, Dunaway, Bruce, Smith, Buxton||2:39|
|2.||"Hallowed Be My Name"||Smith||2:29|
|4.||"Ballad of Dwight Fry"||Bruce, Cooper||6:33|
|5.||"Sun Arise"||Harry Butler, Rolf Harris||3:50|
Rolling Stone's John Mendelsohn found it favorable. He explained that it "represents at least a modest oasis in the desert of dreary blue-jeaned aloofness served up in concert by most American rock-and-rollers." However, referring to "Black Juju" he also stated that "the one bummer on this album is so loud a bummer that it may threaten to neutralize the ingratiating effect of the aforementioned nifties." Robert Christgau rated it a B-, stating that he "never would have figured this theatre type to come up with it" and calling "I'm Eighteen" "as archetypal a hard rock single as you're liable to hear in this flaccid year, or maybe ever." Allmusic's Greg Prato rated Love It to Death four-and-a-half out of five stars. He explained that it "can be pinpointed as the release when everything began to come together for the band." He also stated that "it was an incredibly consistent listen from beginning to end."