Alice Cooper schools us: Listen to the Beatles, Burt Bacharach

Written by Scott Mervis on .

alicecooperSchool's out for summer, but that hasn't stopped Alice Cooper from holding class.
In a recent interview, most of which can be read here, the 65-year-old Rock and Roll Hall of Famer talked about what separates the rock songwriters of his generation from the hard rockers of today:
"People say, 'What’s the difference between bands now and in the '60s and '70s?' The reason our songs hold up is because they’re more melodic. They're songs. There’s a verse, a B section, a bridge, a chorus. We were closer to the Beatles, so was Ozzy, so was Aerosmith. Our era bands were so much closer to the Beatles, even though we took it in a whole different direction.
"Take any bands out there now and I say, 'OK, you got a pretty decent riff, and you've got a pretty decent drummer, and you’re yelling at me, you’re angry, I get it. But there’s no song here. It’s just you yelling at me.
"I say to that band, 'Why don’t you for one week just listen to the Beatles, Burt Bacharach, Laura Nyro, Paul Simon and the Beach Boys, and maybe the Four Seasons, and listen to how a three-minute song is constructed. And then write me a song about how much you hate your father. But make it a song.' It’s very hard for them to do it.
"I remember sitting with guys in The Doors and guys in a band called Clearlight and guys in Pink Floyd, listening to Burt Bacharach’s greatest hits. And sitting there going, 'Wow, listen to that, listen to that chord structure, listen to how that melody works with that.' Here’s a bunch of hard rock maniacs listening to one of the masters and understanding why it works. I don’t think young bands will do that now."

Join the conversation:

To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner. Thank you.