Alice Cooper


Composed by Alice Cooper / Michael Bruce

Song Review by

This moody power ballad found the Alice Cooper group stretching out their shock rock sound into new territory. In the process, they created one of their most memorable tracks. The lyrics forsake the usual gruesome wit of an Alice Cooper song to create a grim and surprisingly serious portrait of a gunslinger. Although the title character is quite deadly, lines like "I'm a picture of ugly stories/I'm a killer and a clown" show he is not at peace with his evil nature. The most fascinating passage reveals that he is actually envious of his victims: "You're a notch and I'm a legend/You're at peace and I must hide." The music behind these lyrics is appropriately moody, mixing verses that quietly build intensity with a chorus that raises the proceedings to a peak level of drama. Alice Cooper's recording wraps "Desperado" in a cinematic arrangement that suits its melodramatic feel nicely: Spanish-styled guitar lines give the song an effective Western soundtrack-type opening, the rhythm section adds the right amount of hard-hitting dynamics on the choruses, and the sweeping Bob Ezrin string arrangement that is layered on near the end gives it a suitably grand finale. "Desperado" was probably a little too grim to become a hit, but its high quality merits its appearance on Alice Cooper's Greatest Hits album and it remains a favorite with hardcore Alice Cooper fans.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Killer 1971 Rhino
Alice Cooper's Greatest Hits 1974 Rhino / Warner Bros. 3:30
Trashes the World 1990 EPC
Beast of Alice Cooper 1993 Warner Bros. 3:28
A Fistful of Alice 1997 Friday Music
The Life & Crimes of Alice Cooper 1999 Rhino / Warner Music
Mascara & Monsters: The Best of Alice Cooper 2001 Rhino / Warner Bros. 3:28
The Definitive Alice Cooper 2001 WEA International
No Image 2001 Rhino
3 for 1 Box Set 2001 Warner Music 3:30
Live at Cabo Wabo 96 2005 EMI / EMI Music Distribution 4:10
Live [Disky] 2005 Disky 4:10
No Image 2008 Epic
Rhino Classic Albums Collection [f.y.e. Exclusive] 2009 Rhino 3:29
Original Album Series 2012 Rhino / Warner Bros. 3:30
The Studio Albums 2015 Rhino 3:30
No Image
Various Artists
blue highlight denotes editor's pick