In August 1972, Alice Cooper was in the recording studio shouting, “I am your best piece of meat, I am your choice, I want to be elected!” / I’m your yankee doodle dandy in a golden Rolls Royce, I want to be elected!
His Detroit-rooted group were busy reworking their 1969 song “Reflected” into an outburst of revamped political satire titled “Elected.”
The following month the single was pushed to the top and it quickly climbed the Billboard charts, reaching No.5 in the UK and Top 30 in the US. However, the album he was featured on, “Billion Dollar Babies”, reached number 1 in both countries thanks to the LP’s other hits, “No More Mr. Nice Guy” and the title track.
While “Elected” fell short of some of Cooper’s other iconic hits, like “School’s Out,” it is often broadcast and shared on social media, around election time. Beyond that, the late Joey Ramone once said that it inspired his band’s punk classic, “I Wanna Be Sedated”. Not a bad contribution to the punk-rock universe.
Going back to the roots of “Elected”, his prototype (“Reflected”) never went well with Cooper. He himself dismissed the original take as a “false and almost spiritual thing from the ’60s” thanks to its “stupid” lyrics – adding, “We didn’t know what we were talking about.”
However, three years later, when the Alice Cooper Band intersected the failed single with new lyrics, it took off. Even John Lennon was a fan. “Right after I cut ‘Elected’, I was at our New York record company office, and John Lennon walked past me,” Cooper recalls in an interview with Louder Sound. “He said, ‘Great record, Alice’. I said thank you ‘. And then he took about three more steps and turned around and said, “Paul would have done better.” And I looked at him and I said, ‘Well, sure he would – it’s Paul McCartney!’. But I was so thrilled. I mean, come on – John Lennon loved my song. It doesn’t get better than that.
Of course, part of the song’s charm was due to its perfect timing: the 1972 presidential race between President Richard Nixon and US Senator George McGovern.
The secret hero behind the making of “Elected” was the group’s producer, Bob Ezrin, whom Cooper considered to be the “guru” of the group. Ezrin, who had worked with the band for years at this time, always had a soft spot for “Reflected” and felt it could be remade and be “100 times bigger”.
Under Ezrin’s direction, the guys took the original Pete Townshend-inspired riff and a snippet of the tune, and headed to Morgan Studios in London to put together a revised political version.
To further enhance the song’s exaggerated sound, Ezrin brought in additional session players, according to Cooper. “When he added the orchestration at the end of Elected, it really sounded like a big marching band playing at someone’s campaign rally,” Cooper said later. “The song got so theatrical, and that was what Alice Cooper was.”
To add to the rock ‘n roll folklore, Keith Moon was in the studio watching the band record the track, as well as Marc Bolan, Ringo Starr and Harry Nilsson – a prominent rock group that Cooper was known to get belligerent with. . They all contributed musically to the album, but thanks to the booze and other freebies, Cooper admits to not remembering the songs they performed on. A quick Google search shows many photos of the all-star gang bars getting drenched at various parties and nightclubs.
However, the following year it wasn’t the intoxicated Cooper who was ashamed of his career, it was Nixon who found himself at the center of the Watergate scandal – making “Election” even more relevant to. the time. After all, Cooper calls it “a big satire of what it takes to become President of the United States.”
In 2016, Cooper reflected on the song in an interview with the Cleveland Scene. “We didn’t know it would become an anthem,” he said. “I’m so not political so it’s funny that I wrote the song which was one of the more political songs, and I wasn’t trying to be political, I was just having fun with it. The most absurd thing in the world in 1972 would be for Alice Cooper to be president. It would be like saying that Mr. Rogers is now going to sing for the Rolling Stones. It was at that level of absurdity. But it works for every election.
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