Who Wrote the Jubilant “Hello, Hooray” by Both Alice Cooper and…Judy Collins??

A master of rock ceremonies, and spectacle, Alice Cooper would open his shows with a thrilling intro, setting the scene for the shock and macabre that ensued by addressing the crowd:

Videos by American Songwriter

Hello! Hooray!
Let the show begin. I’ve been ready.
Hello! Hooray!
Let the show begin, Let the lights grow dim.
I’ve been ready.

“Hello, Hooray,” which has also been referenced as “Hello Hurray,” opened one of Alice Cooper’s biggest-selling albums, Billion Dollar Babies, and peaked at No. 6 in the UK and No. 35 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Produced by Bob Ezrin and recorded in between Connecticut and London, England, Billion Dollar Babies went to No. 1 in the UK and in the U.S. on the Billboard 200, and cracked open a catacomb of Cooper classics, including the title track, “Elected,” and “No More Mr. Nice Guy.”

Rolf Peter Kempf

Though Cooper had written the majority of the songs on his albums, “Hello, Hooray” was a standout track, penned several years earlier by Canadian singer, songwriter, and producer Rolf Peter Kempf.

After moving from Toronto to Los Angeles to pursue music, his band split shortly after, and his guitar was stolen. Playing on a borrowed guitar, and reflecting on everything that transpired, Kempf began writing “Hello, Hooray,” while sitting near a swimming pool. A few days later, he gave the song to Judy Collins.

Judy Collins, 1968

Before Cooper recorded “Hello, Hooray,” Kempf wrote the song for Judy Collins, who released a more folk-driven version on her 1968 album Who Knows Where the Time Goes.

“I fell in love with it the moment I heard it,” said Collins of Kempf’s hit.

Behind the Song: “Hello, Hooray”

The song dug into the elation of performing and bringing the audience into a musical journey.

Ready as this audience that’s coming here to dream
Loving every second, every moment, every scream
I’ve been waiting so long to sing my song
And I’ve been waiting so long for this thing to come
Yeah I’ve been thinking so long I was the only one

The lyrics were about “renewing the spirit at those times when you have to pick yourself up and start over,” according to the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame, something Cooper connected with immediately as the perfect setting for his stadium-filled shows.

“He got the emotional essence of the tune right,” said Kempf, “and added a tag to bring it home.”

Hello Hooray” Today

Following a childhood bout with polio, Kempf suffered from Post-Polio Syndrome, which can occur 15 to 40 years after the initial diagnosis and recovery. He continues to perform standards in jazz, blues, and pop originals and has released several albums.

Kempf also recorded his own version of “Hello Hurray” and has performed the song during athletic events, including the Vancouver Paralympic Games.

In 2016, “Hello, Hooray,” was inducted into the The Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame.

Cooper famously opened his shows for more than 40 years since 1973 with “Hello Hooray” and continues to include it on his set lists today.

Photo: Denise Truscello/Getty Images for Keep Memory Alive

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