ALICE COOPER sent cigars and flowers to thank critics who tried to get his music banned, because the publicity ensured a number one hit.

Cooper - real name VINCENT DAMON FURNIER - took the inspiration for his legendary rock persona from Bette Davis in the film WHATEVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE and immediately provoked a backlash from MPs and campaigners who were appalled by his on-stage antics.

He says, "As soon as MARY WHITEHOUSE (the late clean-up TV campaigner) and LEO ABSE (an MP who fought to get him banned from Britain) got a whiff of Alice Cooper they were down on me.

"But telling me I was banned was the greatest publicity I ever got; you couldn't buy that. I sent him cigars and her flowers.

"As soon as they banned me, my record went to number one."