Alice Cooper

ARTICLE ABOUT Alice Cooper FROM SOUNDS, September 20, 1975

Mr. Barton was not convinced by Cooper going it alone. Quite an interesting perspective in this one.
Read on!

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Alice`s pantomime

Concert review by Geoff Barton

“Well, …. it`s surrealist, innit?” remarked the girl sitting in front of us, eyes open wide, staring at the impressive Empire Pool stage.
Alice has obviously spared no expense for this show: two tall, translucent grey pillars with a thick beam lying on top of them, like a futuristic version of Stonehenge, dominated the platform. In between them was a bed of twisted metal, beside them an over-large toy box, behind them provision had been made for a band. Surrealist indeed.
The Heavy Metal Kids got the evening off to a raucous start: front man Gary Holton was as obnoxious as ever, tripping over periodically and telling his year-old jokes (“We`re gonna play a dancin` number now, but seein` as you`re sittin` down rub your asses on the seats”) The Kids were brash and loud, but didn`t try quite hard enough to win over the crowd. No encore.
Alice took to the stage after a long interval and, tugging at his red leotard, cavorting gormlessly around to tunultous cheers, snarled out the appropriate opening lines to `Welcome To My Nightmare`.
It soon became clear, however, that what should have been the ultimate fusion of rock and theatrical excess was in fact no more than a rather lewd pantomime.
Alice, taking the lead role in this epic, has well and truly discarded his malevolent, blood-lusting `Killer` image and now reminds you of a demented Jack minus his beanstalk.
He plays the frightened little boy, plagued by rotten dreams: he`s taunted by groups of superbly acrobatic dancers, he cowers, crawls, sits cross-legged in front of the toy box and enjoys a Punch and Judy show – in all, a rather embarrassing role.
He acts a vengeful Peter Pan figure who slashes with a sword, kicks around a limp female dummy, is attacked by bulbous spiders and decapitates a blundering cyclops – theatrical overkill, at times laughable and mostly less than convincing.

This was Alice`s trip. If nothing else, it served to tax his abominable voice and reveal to one and all that he has the absolute minimum of stage presence. He should never really have gone it so completely alone.
Alice`s musically excellent band were demoted to mere backing musicians. They were lined up at the back of the stage and could generate little excitement because of their seemingly minor roles (except for the Steve Hunter/Dick Wagner guitar duel, one of the highspots of the evening). Alice had to carry the whole show – and he just failed to pull it off.
It was all precisely timed and choreographed: a combination of live and filmed action, where dancers would leap from and into a cinema screen was quite impeccable – even though it wasn`t rock and roll. Many were all too easily impressed by the effects – the biggest cheer of the evening arose when a giant spider`s web was hoisted up from wisps of dry ice and not when, for example, Alice sang `No More Mr Nice Guy` or `Department Of Youth`.
Even when the theatricals were over and the band played straight rock and roll for the encore, it was strictly anti-climatic. I believe solos were played, though the only clear view I had was of the keyboard player`s head.
“I expected something a little more spectacular,” said the same girl at the end of the concert. I wouldn`t necessarily agree with that – but I do believe that Alice should save shows like this for Broadway and at the same time carefully assess his position in the leading role.

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The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!
1. Send me an e-mail if you are interested. Send it to: geirmykl@gmail.com
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ARTICLE ABOUT Alice Cooper FROM SOUNDS, September 6, 1975

Just as Kiss did some years later, taking off their make-up and revealing who they were, so did Alice by being very open and honest about the fact that Alice Cooper was just a character made up for stage. By doing this some of the magic disappeared for both. Not that I don`t love Kiss or Alice just as much, but I think there is a certain element that got lost when they suddenly became “ordinary” people.
Anyway, a good article, so read on!

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A teddy bear`s picnic with Alice

Martin Hayman talks to Stephen, the man behind the mask of Alice Cooper

If we looked at Alice Cooper as a latter-day Mr Bojangles he would probably be flattered. Fred Astaire would certainly be puzzled and the thousands of Cooper fiends would look askance at the connection: what sort of a snake is Ginger Rogers?
But if the all-singing, all-dancing and definitely showbiz Alice isn`t doing a contemporary version of blackface (exorcising through the medium of stage lampoon) the lurking chilly fears then I`ll trade in my hi-fidelity stereo system for a bag of golf clubs and sign myself Bing Crosby.
Meanwhile back at the headband conference, Alice, Mr Nice Guy, hangs out in a suite at the Savoy and, for the benefit of reporters` entrèes, takes in a little target practice with plastic spring guns shooting rubber-suckered darts with dubious accuracy. Acolytes range themselves in front of the shooting range – a number of Heineken cans perched in a row along the top of the TV, which is noiselessly flickering images of white-flannelled heroes on the green sward – and adopt a variety of shooting positions, from Widmark to Bronson.
Alice – for so his entourage describe him to a man, though Cooper is later to deny that such a person exists outside the confines of a stage – is smaller and slighter than you expect, and is wearing a pair of immaculate white trousers and, on his torso as well as, one presumes, the rest of his body, an almost insultingly healthy tan; though one remarks with satisfaction that his thin aquiline beak is just beginning to peel. Too many lingering hours on the links? one speculates.

MADNESS

Alice Cooper, unsurprisingly, is here on tour. In fact his sojourn at the Savoy is a mere break, for the European operation, campaign you might say, will have begun in Scandinavia by the time you read this. For a man who has just completed a 66 city tour of the US (which his record company dutifully reports was seen by one million and a quarter people) and is about to embark on a further 14, his affability is unflagging.
Particularly as he too confesses to the touring madness: “After about five shows I lose track of where I am I call up the roadies and ask `Where am I`? You get to a mentality where you don`t care what city you`re in, there`s always a Holiday Inn and a MacDonald`s. In Europe it`s different though. You learn to love it… or you get a nervous breakdown.” He laughs. It does not sound like the hysterical laugh of a man on the brink. “It`s a lot easier to get to love it. Breakdowns take too much time.”
He says his favourite stop on the route is going to be Munich, “just because it`s such a party town – I love it. And the girls there! And they do have Budweiser, too.” This is a reference to Alice`s favourite brand of beer, without which no interview with Alice would be completed. Rarely can one man have done so much to promote his favourite beverage; he surely must be to Budweiser what Rod Stewart is to football, or the Bay City Rollers to Tartan scarves.
A propos of football, Cooper reports that the game is really beginning to get a hold in America, and that newly sprung up leagues there have succeeded in attracting no less a talent than Pele as a professional coach. He had to confess himself – ah – stumped by cricket, though doubtless the TV watching which goes so agreeably in hotel rooms with a crate of chilled tubes might induce some understanding of this extraordinary form of competition. If it`s showbiz, Alice can dig it!
Still on the subject of beer: “You know, I never did a paid advertisement for Budweiser. But I`m a real beer drinker,” he says with a broad smile and a hint of confidentiality. “I wake up at 7 am and I have to have a Budweiser. It`s better than coffee. Actually I don`t drink beer to get drunk, I drink it as a habit. I drink Seagram`s whisky to get drunk. Beer just keeps you on a nice even keel.”

This all on a slightly ribbing note; when the serious word habit is murmured there is a hint of a cloud and, unsolicited: “I don`t do any drugs at all, just because I saw too many of my friends dying – Morrison and Hendrix were good friends of mine. If any good came of their deaths, it`s that people tended to move away from them.
“I used to sit around and get drunk with Morrison a lot. It`s too bad a talent like that was lost… he just wouldn`t take care of himself. If I drank a bottle of whisky he`d drink three.” Something like a death wish? “Mmm…
I think it shows up. He`d jump out of moving cars, never go to the doctor if he was sick. Everything about him was really original but he was always trying to destroy it. I don`t think he liked the responsibility of being a spokesman, though he was a natural.
“I think the whole culture is turning away from drugs. I`ve noticed that everybody is drinking a lot more. Maybe it isn`t bad, but it`s legal at least you don`t go to jail for drinking… unless you`re Keith Moon.
Alice chortles at the joke on his confrere and neatly ducks out of what was starting to look suspiciously like a bit of hobby-horse riding. The mention of Moony provokes recollections of his (Moon`s) party at LA, and how Peter Sellers had donned his `Pink Panther` persona Inspector Clouset. Alice chuckles with mirth at the idea of his pal Sellers muttering and bumbling his way through detection of the “guilty party”.
Alice says he`s a great fan of Sellers and the Pink Panther, which he had been to see soon after his stage accident: “I went to see it and I was laughing so hard I swear I had to turn away from the screen at least three times because it hurt me so much. It`s hard to laugh when you`ve got cracked ribs.”
On cue, Alice demonstrates one of the ribs which is sticking out at an odd angle from his bronzed torso. It was one of the six; he also sustained facial injuries in the accident at Vancouver necessitating 12 stitches, but they aren`t evident. The incident occurred when one of his stage props collapsed. It`s a point when Stephen (Alice`s persona for the `Nightmare` show) thrusts the dancers back into the “toybox”. The lid of the box collapsed, overbalancing Alice into the eight-foot orchestra pit, where he hit a photographer en route.
“It totally knocked me out. I just couldn`t focus on anything. But I went straight back on because I had so much adrenalin going. It was only when I realised that I couldn`t focus on anything that I thought I must have a concussion. You have super powers when you`ve got the adrenalin going.”

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Happily for the customers this was the 63rd show of the tour so there were few who got the abbreviated version. All credit to Cooper for keeping the show on the road despite the injuries: “All we had to do was re-schedule the show so that I wasn`t on as long as I should be. But also when you`ve got broken ribs you can`t hit the notes. But after a week of rest it was OK.”
It also meant the deletion of some of the more risky, or should I say spectacular parts of the show such as when the nine-foot cyclops picks Alice up and hurls him bodily across the stage. This was more complex than might appear, for the whole show is tightly produced by choreographer David Winters and re-arrangement of any part affects cues for the action.
“The whole show is programmed like a musical, not a rock show,” says Alice. “I would hate to say rock opera, because it`s a musical. The whole idea is of Alice playing a character called Stephen. I`m not actually Alice Cooper, it`s just a stage persona.”
Alice explained that the theme of the show was this nasty, bratty kid-brother called Stephen waking up in the middle of the night to find that his teddy bear had turned into a cyclops and his toy-box disgorged by monsters.
“Everything that he`s very familiar with turns into a nightmare in front of him.”
The production is filled with clever props, including a piece of back-projected film which features Stephen, pursued by monsters, rushing headlong toward the stage. At the point the film image disappears Alice emerges from a concealed trapdoor on the stage (in person) leaving the monsters to beat helplessly at the celluloid barrier. All rather “Alice through the Looking Glass”-ish, but it calls for impeccable timing and unwavering discipline on the part of musicians and dancers; and also of course sizeable funds – the “magic screen” device represents 45,000 dollars` worth alone.
Alice Cooper – we`re talking about the real Mr Nice Guy and golfer now – believes in the showbiz production through and through. “I really believe that rock and roll should go into that level,” he says. “At seven dollars, why should an audience just go and see a rock band play? It`s much better to produce it visually. As far as I`m concerned I don`t care how much it costs as long as the audience get their money`s worth. Why not do a Barnum and Bailey? I wouldn`t feel right in pair of Levi`s.
Cooper is certainly putting his mouth where his money is, for the American tour was an unprecedented success and, so they say, sold out LA`s 18,000 capacity Forum in a phenomenal 17 minutes. It`s the attitude that`s  all-important, he thinks: “I never go on and think, here goes, I hope you`ll enjoy it. I like to really take hold of them – it`s almost a sexual thing. I think people like the sensationalism.

BRAINLESS

“When I first came over here people thought I was the devil incarnate. The rumours that preceded me were so diabolical they almost scared me! They understand now that the Alice Cooper thing was total showbiz – it`s fun. Nobody should ever take Alice seriously as a horror show. He was always a fun ghoul.”
Al`s taste for the bizarre was fostered from an early age when he used to see old Bela Lugosi movies which, he says “used to scare me out of my pants”. But it`s healthy enough he reckons; balance in all things. “For every John Denver you have to have an Alice Cooper, for every Elton John you have to have a David Bowie.
“So many people think that rock and rollers are brainless idiots with loud guitars, but if you want to make rock and roll showbiz then it can be. I think the audience love that. Rock and roll can`t just stay in the same place for ever – I`m so glad Elton has got into that. Everybody`s gonna have to get into it sooner or later. People just won`t have that old stuff any more.
“The difference between a star and a superstar is that the superstar can not only sell his music but sell himself visually as well – though the audience sometimes do love to see the artist blow it. On the `Billion Dollar Baby` tour for example we had a show where everything fell apart. I was stuck in the guillotine without a microphone. That night the audience just laughed, and I realised the only way to play it was slapstick.”
So we`re invited to notice the wink behind the mask of terror? “As much as a character Alice is an attitude,” says Cooper. “He`s a brat, the kid that puts the tack on your chair, a bratty little brother – but everybody likes Alice. I like Alice. I like being Alice – once a night. But when I get off the stage, that`s when I leave him behind. I never become Alice off-stage. I would get into trouble, he`s got such an arrogant attitude, he thinks he can get away with anything.
“When I first created Alice I thought I had to play him out. I wore black leather and drank about a bottle of whisky a day and got into fights in bars.
“But now I put the eye make-up on and become Alice, but as soon as I come off I take off the make-up and stop being Alice. I remember one time this guy who must have weighed 240 pounds came on stage, crazy-drunk, and I – or rather Alice – got hold of him and threw him about 10 feet across the stage. He looked really surprised that this skinny little punk did it. But it was Alice that did it. Like a character inside me.
“But Alice has toned down a lot now. He`s more directed than before, he`s not as crazy as he used to be. I used to do anything for sensation, but now we direct the energy.”
Before leaving, I venture that, if showbiz ever palls, or if the public move on to more and more grandiose spectacles, Alice could always become a golf pro (he has a handicap of nine).
“Yes,” he returns, quite seriously, “I`d like that.”

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The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!
1. Send me an e-mail if you are interested. Send it to: geirmykl@gmail.com
2. The offer should be 20 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.

ARTICLE ABOUT David Bowie, Alice Cooper, Kansas and Argent FROM BILLBOARD, March 15, 1975

I thought that these record reviews from Billboard would be fun to share with you. It is especially interesting to read these because of their recommendations to dealers. You`ll see what I mean.
Read on and enjoy!

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Record reviews

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DAVID BOWIE-Young Americans, RCA APL 1-0998.

David Bowie is back with his latest musical look, this time an excursion into the land of soul. It works well. The key here is that Bowie’s sophisticated soul sound (with strings, big arrangements and lots of soulful backup voices) does not sound the least bit put on. He sounds as at home here as he has in all his other musical changes, and in parts, more so. The vocals do not sound nearly as strained as they have on some of his more raucous rockers, nor do they sound as camp. Guest artists John Lennon, Willy Weeks, Andy Newmark and Jean Millington add a fine touch to the set, which should not only endear Bowie even more to his current fans but should open up an entirely new avenue of fans for him. Expect soul play on this set, for he is truly handling the music, not copying. Some non-soul oriented cuts are also included.
Best cuts: “Young Americans,” “Fascination,” “Right,” “Across The Universe,” “Can You Hear Me.”
Dealers: Bowie is one of the major superstars in pop. All you have to do is display the set.

Alice

ALICE COOPER-Welcome To My Nightmare, Atlantic SD 18130.

Solo set from Alice is by far the best musical project he has yet undertaken. LP is soundtrack to upcoming TV special, and is vastly different in parts from his group efforts, but similar enough to retain old fans. Fine use of horns and strong arrangements throughout, as well as the powerful metallic sound (Dick Wagner on guitar) and razor sharp vocals Alice is associated with. More universally appealing than previous LPs, with the vocals simply better than on recent LPs, the arrangements more interesting and sophisticated and the package more commercial. There’s a John Lennon type song here that is beautifully arranged and sung, some material reminiscent of “School’s Out,” and a variety of other things. Alice has always been recognized as a masterful rocker, but we see here there is far more to him than that. He proves himself able to handle many kinds of music, though the rock is still dominant. A truly superb effort.
Best cuts: “Devil’s Food,” “Some Folks,” “Only Women Bleed” (the Lennon styled cut), “Department Of Youth” (like “School’s Out “), “Cold Ethyl.” “Steven” (a truly frightening piece of rock theater), “Escape.”
Dealers: First new product in over a year from this superstar, and he and his group are set for an 80-city world tour this spring.

Kansas

KANSAS-Song For America, Kirshner PZ 33385 (CBS).

The group whose debut LP caught a lot of people by surprise with strong sales offers a much stronger effort this time around, mixing the kind of synthesizer oriented /harmonic vocal sounds that characterize groups like Yes with some more standard sounding blues-oriented rock and a touch of country added to both, courtesy of an electric violin. The long, electronic cuts lend themselves best to FM exposure. The mix of electronics and more familiar rock is a clever one which should broaden the base appeal of the band, and while there are touches of several other groups here, the set is undoubtedably the property of Kansas.
Best cuts: “Song For America,” “Lamplight Symphony,” “Lonely Street,” “The Devil Game.”
Dealers: Band built a loyal and strong following with first effort and this is a musically superior set. Expect this to be a big album.

Argent

ARGENT-Circus, Epic PE 33422 (CBS).

Back within several months of their charted live LP, veteran British rockers change format a bit and move from the metallic rock they are best known for to a concept type LP that is dominated by Rod Argent’s work on a variety of keyboard instruments and solo and harmony vocals that dart in and out of long instrumental solos. A general feeling of “flow” throughout the LP featured by the Yes school of bands. The change for Argent works well, for they are skilled musicians and vocalists, and the concept is present without being overbearing. Set should surprise fans, but will not alienate them. Several ballads help break up the LP’s general focus. FM should be the launching pad here.
Best cuts: “Highwire,” “Trapeze,” “Shine On Sunshine,” “Clown.”
Dealers: Another band with a strong following. You might want to display this with first solo effort of departed guitarist Russ Ballard, also on Epic.

ARTICLE ABOUT Alice Cooper FROM SOUNDS, March 1, 1975

Well, I will give it you straight: This is one of my favourite albums ever. I have played it so much that I`ve had a break from it for some years now. I almost overdosed on the sounds from this album. There is much to like here, but I would recommend playing “Steven” loud in a darkened rooom. What joy to listen to this – I think I need to play it again just because I`m writing this…
Read on!

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Necrophiliac nightmare boogie

Alice Cooper: `Welcome To My Nightmare` (Anchor 2011).

Record review by Pete Makowski

This is Alice`s soundtrack album… when you come to think of it, weren`t all his others? Mr Cooper has finally left the golf course to make a very welcome comeback to horrorock and rollsville. It`s strange, I wasn`t particularly enamoured by Cooper`s efforts on `Muscle Of Love` while a lot of people who were previously adverse to him went bananas over the album. Now with the arrival of this disc the same clan yell abuse when it touches the turntable. I think this is definitely Alice`s best offering yet. If you`ve never heard him before this is undoubtedly the one to get, it encapsulates all his previous ideas into one neat package – in fact Alice features a lot of his previous themes. This may be due to lack of ideas, but still the whole thing makes Alice sound fuller, more potent than ever before. A lot of credit must be given to the band backing him. Who could ask for a stronger line up than Steve Hunter and Dick Wagner (guitars), Johnny (Bee) Badanjek (drums), Jozef Chirowski (keyboards), Bob Ezrin (keyboards), Whitey Glan (drums), Tony Levin (bass)? A gathering of the finest session men who manage to inject a limitless amount of feel and excitement into Coopers work. Credit go to an assortment of writers, including Wagner, Ezrin (who also produced the album), Kim Fowley, and, of course, dear old Vinnie Furnier who spits and snarls those vocals with that lovable venomous fury as he takes you through his nightmare. The atmosphere is enhanced by a particularly powerful, maybe a bit corny, narrative from Vincent Price who is featured as the curator in `The Black Widow`.

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`Devil`s Food` has that same sinister phasing that can be found on `I Love The Dead`, although the necrophiliac boogie is reserved for `Cold Ethyl` on side two which features some searing guitar work from Steve Hunter. `Department Of Youth` is a tailor-made `Schools Out` type single that has a demented chorus line sung by Dave Ezrin and The Summerhill Children`s Choir. `Years Ago`, `Steven` and `The Awakening` is a trilogy (I think) about Steven going through phases of madness which still leaves you unsure whether he`s insane or not.
The final track `Escape` is almost Alice`s anthem and features those familiar screams of `I wanna get out of  here` that can also be heard on the `Love It To Death` album. The playing and arrangements are solid and consistent throughout, the only place this album falls short is in the lyrics which are a little corny at times. Apart from that, this platter confirms the return of the mascara-covered shock rocker. Now that I`ve heard the album I can`t wait to see the film!

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I have personally transcribed this from the original paper. Any errors in the text from the original magazine may not have been corrected for the sake of accuracy. If you have a music-related web-page where this fits – please make a link to the article. With credits to the original writer of the article from all of us music fans!

This number of Sounds also contains articles/interviews with these people: Joe Cocker, Argent, Paul McCartney, The Troggs, Chaka Khan, Lindisfarne, Rupert Holmes, Black Oak Arkansas, Labelle, Return To Forever, Arthur Lee, Flying Burrito Brothers, Glitter Band, Andy Fraser, John Entwistle, The Sound of Philly, Back Door, Ronnie Lane, ELO, Tom Paxton.

The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!

1. Send me an e-mail if you are interested. Send it to: geirmykl@gmail.com
2. The offer should be 20 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.

ARTICLE ABOUT Alice Cooper FROM SOUNDS, December 1, 1973

I love Alice Cooper a lot, having bought everything he and the band released, but I don`t feel that this album is their proudest moment. I think he would agree, and I imagine a lot of other fans would agree too. But, Mr. Mackie seemed to like it, so what do I know?

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Album review:

Alice Cooper: “Muscle Of Love”
(Warner Bros. K 56018)

By Rob Mackie

“Muscle Of Love” must be Alice Cooper`s best album yet. While most of the earlier sets only really came to life as part of the bizarre stage show, and sounded hollow and monotonous without it, the new one works splendidly in its own right as a straightforward, uncomplicated rock album, which has gained a lot in melody, and lost a little in repetition. The much-publicised vocal help from Ronnie Spector, Liza Minnelli and the Pointer Sisters (Alice and co. don`t miss a PR trick) is in fact only on one track. “Teenage Lament”, which is just that, a look back at teen value. Otherwise, it`s the band pretty much on its own, but with lots of touches to add colour to the rather stark sound they used to get. True they`re not startingly original – shades of Lou Reed in Alice`s singing on “Never Been Sold Before”, some early Santana style percussion on “Hard Hearted Alice” (poking fun at the stage persona), a little Leon Russell flavour on “Crazy Little Child”, a whole mock Hollywood title theme on “Man With The Golden Gun” – but it fits together as a whole better than the Coopers have done before. Michael Bruce again shows what a good guitarist he can be in quite a variety of styles, and Alice is far less grinding in his delivery. Some of the songs are fine too, with “Hard Hearted Alice” a standout, opening at a surprisingly gentle pace before Alice switches to the Mr. Hyde character for a spat-out piece about “Mind scrambled like eggs”, and other splendid topics. There`s been a bit of a lull since that mammoth US tour, and the signs are that he has paid dividends.

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I have personally transcribed this from the original paper. Any errors in the text from the original magazine may not have been corrected for the sake of accuracy. If you have a music-related web-page where this fits – please make a link to the article. With credits to the original writer of the article from all of us music fans!

This number of Sounds also contains articles/interviews with these people: Wings, Mott the Hoople, Roxy Music, Dave Mason, Smokey Robinson, Kiki Dee, Richie Havens, Back Door, Lance LeGault.

The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!

1. Send me an e-mail if you are interested. Send it to: geirmykl@gmail.com
2. The offer should be 20 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.