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40 Years Ago: Alice Cooper Falls Off Stage, Breaks Six Ribs

Hulton Archive / Evening Standard / Getty Images

There’s never been any shortage of blood and guts in Alice Cooper‘s stage show, but on June 23, 1975, a real-life injury put him temporarily out of commission.

Rolling Stone informed readers that Cooper took a tumble during the opening number of his tour stop in Vancouver when he got tangled up with a prop and ended up “flipping … on his head into the security barriers.” After being escorted backstage, he learned he’d broken six ribs and suffered a concussion, but returned for a few more songs anyway — and later pledged to continue the tour unabated.

“I’m going to try. I think I can,” Cooper told the Associated Press after word of his injury got out. “But my ribs hurt when I try to catch my breath. I tried to sing and couldn’t get any volume.”

Calling the circumstances of his fall “such a silly thing,” he explained, “I was using a toy box as a prop and it fell over and knocked me off the stage. I cracked my ribs and hit my head on the cement floor. I put my hand on my head and it felt like a baseball. But we came back on in that old ‘show-must-go-on’ bit.”

Cooper would unfortunately be reacquainted with that pain decades later, when a rehearsal mishap sent him back to the hospital — and left him to soldier on through another round of tour dates with broken ribs.

“I just got back from the emergency ward,” Cooper told the Las Vegas Sun in September 2008. “I have two broken ribs. During one segment in the show, the ‘Welcome to My Nightmare’ segment in about the middle of the show, they change everything — all the lights go down, the zombies come out. During the rehearsal I got knocked into a staircase and broke two ribs.”

As he went on to explain, Cooper’s theatrical flair made performing with busted ribs even more painful. “It makes the hanging scene a little harder,” he admitted. “When you get hung you have this jolt. The floor drops out and the device that keeps you from really hanging gives you a darn good jolt. Yeah, my rib lets me know that’s not my favorite part of the show. I feel like I took a left hook in the body from Roberto Duran.”

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