Alice Cooper was one of the hundreds of artists, writers, and industry insiders who cast a vote that helped shape Rolling Stone’s all-new 500 Greatest Albums of All Time list. The shock-rocker recently called in to discuss the top 10 picks on his ballot, which ranged from classics like Pet Sounds and Meet the Beatles to lesser-known LPs, like his number-one choice, East-West by the Butterfield Blues Band.
“It’s one of those albums that nobody knows about. Musicians know about it,” Cooper says of the 1966 blues-rock album, which features lead guitar from Elvin Bishop and Bob Dylan sideman Michael Bloomfield.
“The thing that really topped it off, I think, after I had worn the album out maybe five or six times — and I still have it in my 1968 Mustang — is I talked to Elvin Bishop, and he mentioned that most of those tracks were done live in the studio, one or two takes maybe, which made it even more astounding,” Cooper adds. “Because there’s not a mistake, there’s nothing. The feel is magnificent on every song.”
Cooper discusses East-West and his other picks in the above video. At one point, he speaks to the difficulty of selecting just one Beatles record for his top 10. “I picked Meet the Beatles only because it was the first one that totally knocked me out, because I’d never heard anything like that before. We were listening to the Beach Boys and the Four Seasons, and all of a sudden here’s this band coming along with all this hair and Beatle boots and these suits, and they were singing these songs that you could hear them one time and you knew them.”
For Cooper, it was the simplicity of the Beatles’ songwriting that set them apart, and still does to this day. “I’ve always said this, and people might disagree with me, but it’s easier to write something like ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ than it is to write something like ‘I Want to Hold Your Hand,'” he says, adding, “I’m still pretty sure they’re aliens. I don’t think they’re from this planet.”
Laura Nyro’s Eli and the Thirteenth Confession, the Yardbirds’ Having a Rave Up, and Love’s Da Capo are some of the other albums that ranked highly on Cooper’s list. To see how his top 10 compares with Rolling Stone‘s, check out the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.