Claude D'Anna's film of Verdi's Macbeth is a gloomy affair, stressing the descent into madness of the principal villains. It's acted by the singers of the Decca recording of the opera (with two substitutions of actors standing in for singers) and the lip-synching is generally unobtrusive. The musical performance is superb, conducted by Riccardo Chailly with admirable fire, and sung by some of the leading lights of the opera stages of the 1980s.
Alice Cooper's third album, Love It to Death, can be pinpointed as the release when everything began to come together for the band. Their first couple of albums (Pretties for You and Easy Action) were both largely psychedelic/acid rock affairs and bore little comparison to the band's eventual rip-roaring, teenage-anthem direction. The main reason for the quintet's change was that the eventually legendary producer Bob Ezrin was on board for the first time and helped the Coopers focus their songwriting and sound, while they also perfected their trashy, violent, and theatrical stage show and image. One of the band's most instantly identifiable anthems, "I'm Eighteen," was what made the album a hit, as well as another classic, "Is It My Body." But like Alice Cooper's other albums from the early '70s, it was an incredibly consistent listen from beginning to end.
Pan flutist Leo Rojas (full name: Juan Leonardo Santillia Rojas) was born in Ecuador in 1984 and is best known for winning the 2011 season of the German casting show Das Supertalent. Rojas moved to Spain in 2000 and then to Germany, living in Berlin with his Polish wife; he often performed as a street musician until a passer-by informed him about the casting show. He became a contestant in the show's fifth season, succeeding to the semi-finals with his rendition of "El Condór Pasa" (best known in a 1970 version by Simon & Garfunkel) and then winning the show with a cover of "Einsamer Hirte," a hit song written by James Last and performed by Gheorghe Zamfir in 1977. Rojas' version of "Einsamer Hirte" was released as a single shortly after the show's finale (reaching number 48 on the singles charts), followed by his first full-length album, Spirit of the Hawk.
Trombonist Dicky Wells once said that Al Cooper's Savoy Sultans were "…a living headache to everyone. They could swing and make most bands happy to play 'Home Sweet Home.' When a band like that's on your tail, the night seems to never end. They didn't seem to know the meaning of letting up." As the house band at Harlem's Savoy Ballroom, this group undoubtedly knew how to keep a large crowd entertained with music for dancing purposes. In person they must have been tight and right in order to warrant such praise from other musicians and to hold down their gig at the Savoy for nine years…
The Alice Cooper Show is a live album by Alice Cooper, released by Warner Bros. in December 1977. It was recorded live in Las Vegas at the Aladdin Hotel on August 19 and 20, 1977, during Cooper's "King of the Silver Screen" United States tour. The TV special Alice Cooper and Friends featured live footage from that tour.
Dragontown continues the assault of Alice Cooper's gift to the new millennium that was Brutal Planet. Considered a third chapter of a trilogy initiated by 1994's The Last Temptation, this shadowy production plays like hardcore in slow motion. There is no one identifiable song like "Gimme" or "Brutal Planet" from the last episode, but the production values are high and the innovative riffs consistent. This work stands on its own, chock-full of the dark prince of pop's nasty humor. "It's Much Too Late" is supposed to be for John Lennon, but the Beatlesque backing vocals sound like Carole King's hit from Tapestry on hard drugs. There are references to the sacrilege spread out over Lennon's work from Plastic Ono Band to Imagine, but here Alice takes off the gloves and gives the church the finger: "I'm sending you all to hell/I'm tired and I'm wired here…."