Poison (Alice Cooper)

I remember the song as a 9-yr old. Mainly because the singer was a man and he called himself Alice. I remember trying to figure out if it could actually be a woman singing it every time I heard it on the radio.

Released in the second half of 1989, it just about qualifies as an 80s song – it definitely sounds like one however – it’s typical 80’s pop-metal with a terrific vocal on top.

When I’m learning how to play a song (not that there’s much piano playing in this), the first thing I do is to write a chord chart. It gives me an idea of the overall structure of the song and any unusual features I really need to look out for.

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And while some people look out for rhythmic patterns, some for lyrics, I look for chords.

And check out the chords in the chorus below…

In the first 8 bars of the chorus (0:56-1:12) it changes key 4 times! Very unusual for a song of it’s time and genre, but man does it work, and along with the vocal it provides a huge build and massive intensity, climaxing with the line (1:13) – ‘your lips are venomous POISON’. On the word ‘poison’ the tension created by the key changes is released and he rocks out in the same key for the rest of the chorus.

If you have any interest in working out chords to songs/ear training it would be great practice to have a go at this. You can always refer back to the picture once you think you have it…

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