SickthingsUK: John Lennon. The Beatles

Kyler Clark

John Lennon And Alice Cooper
Cindy Lang, Alice Cooper, John Lennon and May Pang in 1974.

Alice, a huge Beatles fan, hung out with John Lennon several times back in the 70s, especially when Lennon had his "Lost Weekend" in LA and was getting drunk with the Hollywood Vampires every night. The first time their paths crossed was at the legendary Toronto Rock'n'Roll Revival concert in 1969, scene of the infamous chicken story. Lennon's 'Plastic Ono Band' played the festival, but there are no suggestions the two actually met at the event and it's likely Alice would have mentioned it endlessly over the years if they had. Interestingly the show the first time Lennon ever performed 'Cold Turkey', which The Hollywood Vampires would later cover.

Alice often recalls Lennon particularly liked 'Elected'. The details of the tale change but it essentially goes as follows:

"When 'Elected' came out [1972], that to him was like a great poke in the eye to all politics. He came to listen to the record at the office in New York, and he kept bringing people in, like, "You've gotta hear this record!" One time he's walking out and I'm walking in. "Hey John, how are you doing?" "Hey Alice! Great record." Then he says: "Paul would have done it better." And I went: "Well, of course he would – he's Paul McCartney!" The fact that he loved the record was a big deal."

Another Lennon story Alice retells involves Brian Wilson of 'The Beach Boys'.

“I was sitting backstage after the 1974 Grammys with Bernie Taupin (Elton John's lyricist) and John Lennon. This was when Brian was really having some mental issues. During the course of the conversation, I kept seeing Brian out of the corner of my eye, just kind of staring at us from different angles. Finally, he came up to the table, bent down and whispered in my ear 'Hey Alice, introduce me to John Lennon.' I couldn't BELIEVE that these two men had never met! They were virtually neck and neck in the 60s as the greatest bands on the planet, and I'm SURE they must have crossed paths at some point. But then I thought to myself, 'Wow, if they REALLY have never met, I'm going to be the one to introduce them and become a part of rock history!'

So I merely said, 'Brian Wilson, this is John Lennon. John Lennon, this is Brian Wilson.' Lennon was very cordial and polite, saying things like 'Hello Brian, I've always wanted to meet you. I've always admired your work, and Paul and I considered 'Pet Sounds' one of the best albums ever made.' Brian thanked him and walked away, at which point Lennon went right back to his conversation like nothing had happened.

About ten minutes later, Brian came by our table again, leaned down and whispered something to Bernie, and all of a sudden, Bernie was saying 'Brian Wilson, this is John Lennon. John Lennon, Brian Wilson.' Lennon was just as cordial and polite as the first time, saying essentially the same thing about always wanting to meet him.

As soon as Brian walked away, John looked at both of us and casually said in his typical Liverpudlian accent, 'I've met him hundreds of times. He's not well, you know.'”

In 1996, Alice was considering recording a Lennon Song ('Cold Turkey' was mentioned) for a John Lennon tribute album set to be released on Hollywood Records but it didn't happen. The original plan was to perform the song with White Zombie but no sessions ever took place. Once he had formed 'The Hollywood Vampires' the same Lennon song was included on the debut album.


While Alice often seems to have been closest to Lennon, he's also had connections to two other Beatles. In fact the only Beatle he rarely mentions is George Harrison.

Ringo Starr was a regular at the original Hollywood Vampire's drinking club at the Rainbow Bar and Grill on Sunset Strip in the mid-70s. They also both made cameo appearances in 'Sextette' in 1978, and much later both were featured an advert for 'Aviva' although it's unlikely they met up for that as they don't appear together. However Alice rarely mentions Starr in stories so perhaps the most interesting ones happened when they were both too drunk to remember!

The third Beatle was of course Paul McCartney. While Alice tells fewer Paul McCartney stories then Lennon ones, from various comments over the years it's clear he's known him for a long time as well. His favourite anecdote includes Groucho Marx and a bed, which McCartney appeared to confirm when they pari were on the 'Later with.. Jools Holland' show a few years back:

Paul McCartney And Alice Cooper
Johnny Depp, Paul McCartney, Bob Ezrin, Alice Cooper
and Joe Perry, Recording 'Come And Get It in 2015.

"McCartney was much more of a fun guy [then Lennon]. I sent Paul McCartney one time… I went to his house in Scotland. And he was building this great big room, that was a meditation room. It was a big round room, and I just happened to have this gigantic round bed that Groucho Marx gave me, right? And so I said, "I have a gift for you Paul." I sent this bed to him, and the note with it said, "Neither one of us had any luck with this bed. Good luck!" And he says he still has it in the house."

Sir Paul McCartney also appears on the first Hollywood Vampire's record, playing on 'Come And Get It', a song he originally wrote for 'Badfinger'. Alice recalls:

"Paul just sat down at the piano and started playing it and we just went along with it. We were like, 'OK, we'll do that.' He says to me and goes, 'You sing the high part and I'll do the melody. Johnny you take the rhythm and Joe you take the lead.' We ran through it about four times and it was done. And then he goes, 'Do you want me to play bass on this?' And I went, 'No Paul, we have a better bass player than you… (laughs) Of course we want you to play bass on this!' He pulled out his left-handed Hofner Beatle bass and we just all stood around like Indiana Jones and the Ark of the Covenant going, 'Wow, that's the bass…!!'"

Earlier Alice had recorded 'Eleanor Rigby' and 'Smile Away' for an all-star tribute to McCartney called 'The Art Of McCartney' in 2014. Before that he had recorded a version of 'Hey Bulldog' for the 'Butchering The Beatles' tribute album, and at small charity shows he often throws in other Beatles songs.