Alice Cooper (born Vincent Damon Furnier; February 4, 1948) is an American rock singer, songwriter and musician whose career spans more than four decades. With a stage show that features guillotines, electric chairs, fake blood, boa constrictors, and baby dolls, Cooper has drawn equally from horror movies, vaudeville and garage rock to pioneer a grandly theatrical and violent brand of
heavy metal designed to shock.
Originating in Detroit in the late 1960s, Alice Cooper was originally a band consisting of Furnier on vocals and harmonica, lead guitaristGlen Buxton, Michael Bruce on rhythm guitar, Dennis Dunaway on bass guitar, and drummer Neal Smith. The original Alice Cooper band broke into the international music mainstream with the 1971 hit "I'm Eighteen" from the album Love It to Death, which was followed by the even bigger single "School's Out" in 1972. The band reached their commercial peak with the 1973 album Billion Dollar Babies.
Furnier's solo career as Alice Cooper, adopting the band's name as his own name, began with the 1975 concept album Welcome to My Nightmare; in 2011 he released Welcome 2 My Nightmare, his 19th album as a solo artist, and his 26th album in total. Expanding from his Detroit rock roots, in his career Cooper has experimented with a number of musical styles, including conceptual rock, art rock, hard rock, New Wave, pop rock, experimental rock and industrial rock.
Alice Cooper is known for his social and witty persona offstage; The Rolling Stone Album Guide has called him the world's most "beloved heavy metal entertainer". Cooper is credited with helping to shape the sound and look of heavy metal, and he is regarded as being the artist who "first introduced horror imagery to rock'n'roll, and whose stagecraft and showmanship have permanently transformed the genre".Away from music, Cooper is a film actor, a golfing celebrity, a restaurateur and, since 2004, a popular radioDJ with his classic rock show Nights with Alice Cooper.
In 2011 the original Alice Cooper band was inducted into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Cooper was born as Vincent Damon Furnier in Detroit, Michigan, USA, the son of Ella Mae (née McCart) and Ether Moroni Furnier. His father was a lay preacher in the Church of Jesus Christ (also known as the Bickertonite Church) which, historically, is an offshoot of the Latter Day Saint movement. He has French Huguenot, Sioux Native American, English, Scottish, and Irish ancestry, and was named after one of his uncles (Vincent Collier Furnier) and the writer Damon Runyon.[ His paternal grandfather, Thurman Sylvester Furnier, was an apostle in the Church of Jesus Christ (Bickertonite). Vincent Furnier was active in his church at the ages of 11 and 12. While growing up in Detroit, Furnier attended Washington Elementary School, then Nankin Mills Jr. High, now Lutheran High School Westland. Following a series of childhood illnesses, Furnier moved with his family to Phoenix, Arizona, where he attended Cortez High School in north Phoenix.Vincent had gained admission into the University of Arizona, University of Colorado and University of California-Davis – he declined all these offers.