In 1979, famous advice columnist Ann Landers wrote a widely-read article in which she strongly criticised “Cold Ethyl” (lyrics), a song about necrophilia/alcohol by Alice Cooper which, she claimed, had the power to corrupt his younger fans. A few weeks after the piece was published, Alice Cooper responded with a letter; that letter was published, along with a reply from Landers, soon after. Both can be read below.
(Source: The Prescott Courier; Image: Alice Cooper, via the Guardian.)
Dear Ann Landers:
I’m really sorry you found that old song of mine crude and offensive. Actually, “Cold Ethyl” is just a harmless number about necrophilia.
The point I want to make is that the kids are not bothered by this — their parents are. The kids see the song and gruesome antics, like with the guillotine, for exactly what it is — satire, done with a sense of humor to a rock ‘n roll beat.
Kids know I am harmless. It’s their parents that make me out to be some kind of a monster. I would like to see you print this in your column, Ann.
Dear Alice Cooper:
Thank you for writing.
For those who don’t know what necrophilia is, it’s sexual intercourse with someone who is dead. You can call it funny if you want to, Alice. I call it sick.
I like satire as much as the next person, but chopping off heads and spurting blood all over the place is not my idea of entertainment. I caught your guillotine number in Chicago several years ago and almost lost my supper. (Guess I’m an uncool cat.)
You have in your group some exceptionally talented performers and you’re no slouch yourself, Alice…I just wish you’d clean up your act.