Alice Cooper – Billion Dollar Babies

More Alice Cooper

  • A killer Shootout Winning copy with a Triple Plus (A+++) side two and a side one that’s right up there with it (A++ to A+++) 
  • Far more open, present and balanced than practically any other copy we played, with plenty of Rock and Roll power and energy
  • Relatively quiet, Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus throughout – this is as quiet as they get, folks
  • 4 1/2 stars in Allmusic: “Song for song, Billion Dollar Babies is probably the original Alice Cooper group’s finest and strongest … It remains one of rock’s all-time, quintessential classics.”

Billion Dollar Babies can sound really big and powerful, but not many copies bring the sound to life the way this one does. For once you can hear a big room around the instruments; the bass is tight and well-defined, and there’s plenty of tubey richness.

This was also one of the copies that managed to get real three-dimensional space in the soundfield, bringing Alice up front, with the rest of the band arrayed behind him from wall to wall.

What to Listen For (WTLF)

Less grit – smoother and sweeter sound, something that is not easy to come by on Billion Dollar Babies.

A bigger presentation – more size, more space, more room for all the instruments and voices to occupy. The bigger the speakers you have to play this record the better.

More bass and tighter bass. This is fundamentally a pure rock record. It needs weight down low to rock the way Glyn Johns wanted it to.

Present, breathy vocals. A veiled midrange is the rule, not the exception.

Good top end extension to reproduce the harmonics of the instruments and details of the recording including the studio ambience.

Last but not least, balance. All the elements from top to bottom should be heard in harmony with each other. Take our word for it, assuming you haven’t played a pile of these yourself, balance is not that easy to find.

Our best copies will have it though, of that there is no doubt.

The average copy of this album is dark, murky, recessed, compressed, thick and congested. There are a lot of green label Warner Bros. records from the ’70s that sound like that, one might even call it their “house sound.”

When you play the later pressings it’s obvious that they’ve gone overboard in cleaning up the murk, leaving a sound that is lean, flat and modern — in other words, unmusical.

Finding the right balance of fullness and clarity, especially on this album, may not be easy, but it can be done. This copy is proof!

Best Practices

If you have five or ten copies of a record and play them over and over against each other, the process itself teaches you what’s right and what’s wrong with the sound of the album. Once your ears are completely tuned to what the best pressings do well that the others do not do as well, using a few specific passages of music, it will quickly become obvious how well any given pressing reproduces those passages.

The process is simple enough. First you go deep into the sound. There you find something special, something you can’t find on most copies. Now, with the hard-won knowledge of precisely what to listen for, you are perfectly positioned to critique any and all pressings that come your way.

TRACK LISTING

Side One

Hello Hooray 
Raped and Freezin’
Elected 
Billion Dollar Babies 
Unfinished Sweet

Side Two

No More Mr. Nice Guy 
Generation Landslide 
Sick Things 
Mary Ann 
I Love the Dead

AMG Review

Song for song, Billion Dollar Babies is probably the original Alice Cooper group’s finest and strongest. Such tracks as “Hello Hooray,” the lethal stomp of the title track, the defiant “Elected” (a rewrite of an earlier song, “Reflected”), and the poison-laced pop candy of “No More Mr. Nice Guy” remain among Cooper’s greatest achievements…

Not only is Billion Dollar Babies one of Cooper’s very best; it remains one of rock’s all-time, quintessential classics.

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