Such was the immense success of Cooper’s solo project that he decided to continue as a solo artist, and the original band became officially defunct. Bruce, Dunaway, and Smith would go on to form the short-lived band Billion Dollar Babies, producing one album—Battle Axe—in 1977. While occasionally performing with one another and Glen Buxton, they would not reunite with Alice until October 23, 1999, at the second Glen Buxton Memorial Weekend for a show at CoopersTown in Phoenix. They reunited for another show, with Steve Hunter on guitar, on December 16, 2010, at the Dodge Theatre in Phoenix. This lineup would perform together again on March 14, 2011, at the induction of the original Alice Cooper group into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, as well as on May 11, 2011, at London’s Battersea Power Station at the Jagermeister Ice Cold 4D event .
In 1975, Alice Cooper returned as a solo artist with the release of Welcome to My Nightmare. To avoid legal complications over ownership of the group name, “Alice Cooper” had by then become the singer’s new legal name. The success of Welcome to My Nightmare marked the final break-up of the original members of the band, with Cooper collaborating with their producer Bob Ezrin, who recruited Lou Reed’s backing band, including guitarists Dick Wagner and Steve Hunter, to play on the album. Spearheaded by the US Top 20 hit ballad “Only Women Bleed”, the album was released by Atlantic Records in March of that year and became a Top 10 hit for Cooper. The album School’s Out reached No. 2 on the US charts and sold over a million copies. With Cooper’s on-stage androgynous persona completely replaced with brattiness and machismo, the band solidified their success with subsequent tours in the United States and Europe, and won over devoted fans in droves while at the same time horrifying parents and outraging the social establishment. In the United Kingdom, Mary Whitehouse, a Christian morality campaigner, persuaded the BBC to ban the video for “School’s Out”, although Whitehouse’s campaign did not prevent the single also reaching number one in the UK.
Accompanying the album and stage show was the television special The Nightmare, starring Cooper and Vincent Price, which aired on US prime-time TV in April 1975. The Nightmare was regarded as another groundbreaking moment in rock history. Adding to all that, a concert film, also called Welcome to My Nightmare produced, directed, and choreographed by West Side Story cast member David Winters and filmed live at London’s Wembley Arena in September 1975, was released to theaters in 1976. Following the 1976 US No. 12 ballad hit “I Never Cry”; two albums, Alice Cooper Goes to Hell and Lace and Whiskey; and the 1977 US No. 9 ballad hit “You and Me”, it became clear during his 1977 US tour that Cooper was in dire need of help with his alcoholism . Following the tour, Cooper had himself hospitalized in a sanitarium for treatment, during which time the live album The Alice Cooper Show was released.
Bruce, Dunaway, and Smith appeared on three tracks they co-wrote on Alice’s 2011 album Welcome 2 My Nightmare. In 2017, they appeared on two tracks they co-wrote on Alice’s album Paranormal, released in July, and in November they joined his current live band for five tour dates in the United Kingdom.
During this time, Cooper relocated back to Los Angeles and started appearing regularly on television shows such as The Hollywood Squares, and Warner Bros. released the Alice Cooper’s Greatest Hits compilation album. It featured classic-style artwork and reached the US Top 10, performing better than Muscle of Love. However, the band’s 1974 feature film Good to See You Again, Alice Cooper (consisting mainly of 1973 concert footage with ‘comedic’ sketches woven throughout to a faint storyline), released on a minor cinematic run mostly to drive-in theaters, saw little box-office success. On March 5, 1974, Cooper appeared on episode 3 of The Snoop Sisters playing a Satanic cult singer. The final shows by Alice Cooper as a group were in Brazil in March and April 1974, including the record indoor attendance estimated as high as 158,000 fans in São Paulo on March 30, at the Anhembi Exposition Hall at the start of the first ever South American rock tour.
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