40 years ago today Alice Cooper released his shock-rock masterpiece Billion Dollar Babies

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      Forty years ago today—or Feb. 25, 1973 for the calendar-challenged among us—shock-rock legend Alice Cooper released Billion Dollar Babies, his sixth album and his fourth great one.

      Its songs covered everything from politics ("Elected") to necrophilia ("I Love the Dead") to fear of the dentist ("Unfinished Sweet"), and boasted some of the catchiest guitar riffs known to man on "No More Mr. Nice Guy" and the title track.

      In other words, for a 16-year-old kid obsessed with horror and guitar-rock, it was the ultimate 12-inch prize.

      But it wasn't just the music on Billion Dollar Babies that was so captivating—the packaging itself was incredible. The LP was designed to resemble a green snakeskin wallet, and inside was a poster-sized billion-dollar bill that looked just fine on your bedroom wall.

      The record-sleeve itself had the album notes and lyrics on one side and a picture of the awesome Alice Cooper Band surrounding a ton of cash and a crying baby with Cooper-type eye-makeup on.

      And if you wanted to you could take out the perforated pictures of the various members and use them as trading cards or something. I'm pretty sure I kept one of the in-concert band shots in my own regular-sized, non-snakeskin wallet for a while.

      Billion Dollar Babies was the last of the four best Cooper albums--after the '71 double-shot of Love It to Death and Killer and 1972's School's Out--but the first one to feature heavy use of outside players, namely ace sessions guitarists Dick Wagner, Steve Hunter, and Mick Mashbir, who were brought in to pick up the slack for the Alice Cooper Band's drug-addled lead-guitarist Glen Buxton.

      I never knew that back in '73, though, and the use of hired hands sure as hell wasn't pointed out in the liner notes that I scoured on a regular basis. To me it was just the Alice Cooper Band rocking out-the same one that had done the lions' share of the glorious damage on what is arguably the ACB's greatest-ever disc, Killer.

      Billion Dollar Babies forever!


      You can follow Steve Newton on Twitter at @earofnewt.