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Ace Gene
Paul Peter
... ..
....
Kiss are the band everybody either loves or hates. I love them! I have been a fan since I was in grade school. I was introduced to heavy metal through Kiss. My room as a kid was plastered with Kiss posters, and I have never outgrown them. I even got into fights with kids in school because they said Kiss sucked! But enough of my ranting, on to the discs.
Click on the covers with the yellow borders for additional facts about the album.

Kiss Kiss (Casablanca) 1974

1. "Strutter" (3:10)
2. "Nothin' to Lose" (3:27)
3. "Firehouse" (3:17)
4. "Cold Gin" (4:22)
5. "Let Me Know" (2:58)
6. "Kissin' Time" (3:52)
7. "Deuce" (3:06)
8. "Love Theme from Kiss" -instrumental (2:24)
9. "100,000 Years" (3:22)
10. "Black Diamond" (5:13)

Kiss' 1974 self-titled debut is one of hard rock's all-time classic studio albums. Their debut is full of some of their best work that contained elements of the glam rock of the time (ie. New York Dolls) as well as the heavy metal of Sabbath/Zeppelin and the rock & roll vibe of the Beatles. The whole recording is rather raw and almost primitive sounding, both of which give the album a charm that on later albums would be removed by over slick production. Gene Simmons & Paul Stanley wrote a majority of the material here including such timeless classics as "Deuce" (by Simmons), "Firehouse" and "Black Diamond" (by Stanley). Of course who could forget the Ace Frehley anthem "Cold Gin"? Really the only weak track is a cover of the 1959 Bobby Rydell hit "Kissin' Time," which was added to later pressings of the album to tie in with a Kissing Contest promotion the band was involved in at the time. I use to own an original pressing of this album without "Kissin' Time" on it but sold it because the price was right. "Kiss," the album, is in my opinion one of the greatest 70's heavy metal albums of all time.

Death Angel has covered "Cold Gin," Overkill covered "Deuce" as has Redd Kross (on Bordella of Blood soundtrack).

Hotter than Hell Kiss-Hotter than Hell (Casablanca) 1974

1. "Got to Choose" (3:54)
2. "Parasite" (3:01)
3. "Goin' Blind" (3:36 )
4. "Hotter Than Hell" (3:31
5. "Let Me Go, Rock 'n' Roll" (2:14)
6. "All the Way" (3:18)
7. "Watchin' You" (3:43)
8. "Mainline" (3:50)
9. "Comin' Home" (2:37)
10. "Strange Ways (3:18)

Kiss' self-titled debut didn't perform as well as Neil Bogart had hoped so with the album fading on the charts in the summer of 1974, Kiss was rushed back into the studio to work on a new release. What resulted was "Hotter Than Hell," another quintessential Kiss release. "Goin' Blind" is one of the greatest Gene Simmons penned songs he has ever written. Of course "Let Me Go, Rock 'n' Roll" and the title track continued to be played in concert for years to come and both were featured during their 2000 Farwell tour. "Strange Ways" is a song that has been forgotten but is an excellent Ace Frehley song featuring one shredding guitar solo. "Comin' Home," another Ace song, was also all but forgotten until 1996's "MTV Unplugged" album, where it was the concert opener. "Parasite" is one of my favorite all time Kiss songs. The artwork was also a big deal at the time, especially since it wasn't released in Japan until many years later.

Anthrax has covered "Watchin' You" and "Parasite."

Dressed to Kill Kiss-Dressed to Kill (Casablanca) 1975

1. "Room Service" (2:59 )
2. "Two Timer" (2:47 )
3. "Ladies in Waiting" (2:35)
4. "Getaway" (2:43 )
5. "Rock Bottom" (3:54)
6. "C'Mon and Love Me" (2:57)
7. "Anything for My Baby" (2:35)
8. "She" (4:08)
9. "Love Her All I Can" (2:40)
10. "Rock and Roll All Night" (2:49)

Kiss was fast becoming America's top rock concert attraction, yet their record sales up to this point did not reflect their ticket sales so Neil Bogart (President of Casablanca) decided to produce the next KISS album himself. What resulted is one of the all time classic "heavy metal" discs. This disc, along with Black Sabbath's debut, Judas Priest's "Sad Wings of Destiny," Aerosmith's "Rocks" and Deep Purple's "Machine Head" have probably inspired more metal bands than any other discs put together. This is the quintessential 70's KISS studio platter in my opinion. Of course "Rock and Roll All Night" was a big hit, but a pair of songs that were reworked from Gene & Paul's former band, Wicked Lester ("Love Her All I Can" and "She") are two of the strongest tracks. Two other favorites are the Ace Frehley track "Getaway" and the Frehley/Stanley penned "Rock Bottom."

Anthrax has covered "Love Her All I Can" and "She"

Alive! Kiss-Alive (Casablanca) 1975

DISC ONE
1. "Deuce" (3:44)
2. "Strutter" (3:17)
3. "Got to Choose" (3:35)
4. "Hotter Than Hell" (3:12)
5. "Firehouse" (3:59)
6. "Nothin' to Lose" (3:29)
7. "C'Mon and Love Me" (2:53)
8. "Parasite" (3:22)
9. "She" (6:55)
DISC TWO
10. "Watchin' You" (3:40)
11. "100,000 Years" (11:59)
12. "Black Diamond" (5:51)
13. "Rock Bottom" (3:36)
14. "Cold Gin" (5:26)
15. "Rock and Roll All Night" (4:06)
16. "Let Me Go, Rock 'n' Roll" (5:46)

Kiss Alive! Is one of the greatest LIVE albums of all time, if not the greatest. Alive! captured Kiss' raw and heavy live sound that made them concert favorites. The album also rocketed Kiss into mega-stardom. Alive was their first top ten album and it remained on the charts for 110 weeks and went quadruple platinum. (Platinum was a new term for albums that had sold over 1 million copies, something that was more rare in the 70's than it is today.) Kiss' favorite producer, the guy they had wanted since their first demo, Eddie Kramer was brought in to turn the knobs and tweak the sound. He did a great job as he managed to capture Kiss' energy and their early youthful hunger. "Rock and Roll All Night" became the Top 20 hit and was the main reason for the album's success, but there are so many other classic tracks that are just as strong, if not stronger: "Deuce," "Strutter," "Firehouse," "Parasite," "She," "100,000 Years," "Black Diamond," and "Cold Gin" all sound even better in the heavier live setting. Throughout the years there has been complaints, rumors, and speculation over the extensive overdubbing to correct mistakes. All I have to say to that is, "so freaking what!" Who wants to hear mistakes? Alive! remains as one of Kiss' greatest achievements ever and left an indelible mark on heavy metal.

Destroyer
Kiss-Destroyer
(Casablanca) 1976

1. "Detroit Rock City" (5:20)
2. "King of the Night Time World" (3:13)
3. "God of Thunder" (4:13)
4. "Great Expectations" (4:21)
5. "Flaming Youth" (2:59)
6. "Sweet Pain" (3:20)
7. "Shout It out Loud" (2:48)
8. "Beth" (2:45)
10. "Do You Love Me?" (3:33)

Instead of trying to copy the success of their live recording, Kiss decided to go the opposite direction and record an experimental studio album. Alice Cooper/Pink Floyd producer Bob Ezrin was brought in for this album. The band experimented with orchestration for the first time ("Beth") as well as the use of a boy's choir ("Great Expectations"). There was still loads of killer heavy metal to absorb in tracks like the demonic/comic based "God of Thunder" and the sing-along anthems "Flaming Youth," "Shout It Out Loud," "King of the Night Time World," and, of course, the song that would be the band's concert opener for years to come "Detroit Rock City." This was the song that was released as the album's first single with "Beth" as the B-side. To the surprise of everyone, including Kiss and Bob Ezrin, "Beth" became the albums top ten single rather than the strong "Detroit Rock City." The cover painting featured Kiss' new stage costumes that they would use for the next two tours as well as on their 2000 Farwell Tour.

Nirvana would later cover "Do You Love Me?" The Mighty Mighty Bosstones did a killer version of "Detroit Rock City" on the Kiss My Ass tribute.


Kiss-Rock & Roll Over
(Casablanca) 1976

1. "I Want You" (3:04)
2. "Take Me" (2:56)
3. "Calling Dr. Love" (3:44)
4. "Ladies Room" (3:27)
5. "Baby Driver" (3:40)
6. "Love 'Em and Leave 'Em" (3:47)
7. "Mr. Speed" (3:18)
8. "See You in Your Dreams" (2:34)
9. "Hard Luck Woman" (3:34)
10. "Makin' Love" (3:14)

Gene Simmons

Once again, just like the previous album, Kiss decided not to take the safe route. With the massive success of their previous album, the experimental Bob Ezrin-produced /co-written "Destroyer," Kiss could have strived to make their next outing sound very similar and re-hired Ezrin again. Instead they decided to return to the heavy metal/hard rock of their first four albums and hire producer Eddie Kramer. "Rock and Roll Over" is one of Kiss' most consistent records and one of my favorites. The album's hits - the sleaze rocker "Calling Dr. Love," and the acoustic ballad (originally intended for Rod Stewart), "Hard Luck Woman," once again are not my favorites. Instead the heavy metal anthems like "I Want You," "Take Me," and "Makin' Love" all top my charts. "Baby Driver" is a highly underrated stand out cut. This song, like "Beth" was co-written by Peter Criss and Stan Penridge, who had been writing with Criss long before Kiss formed and who would continue to write with Peter for years to come.

The Galactic Cowboys recorded a stellar version of "I Want You."

Love Gun Kiss-Love Gun (Casablanca) 1977

1. "I Stole Your Love" (3:04 )
2. "Christine Sixteen" (3:14 )
3. "Got Love for Sale' (3:27 )
4. "Shock Me" (3:46)
5. "Tomorrow and Tonight" (3:38)
6. "Love Gun" (3:18)
7. "Hooligan" (2:59)
8. "Almost Human" (2:47)
9. "Plaster Caster" (3:28 )
10. "Then She Kissed Me" (3:02)

Love Gun was Kiss' fifth studio album in three years and would be the last studio album for a long time that all the original members would actually play on. By this time KISS mania had overtaken the world. The merchandising was flooding the marketplace with everything from trash cans to lunchboxes to makeup kits to comic books to dolls. However this album was still somewhat focused, although no where near the greatness of their last albums. The album included a few highlights, including the first appearance of Ace singing lead vocals ("Shock Me"). Another Criss/Penridge penned song "Hooligan" comes off as rather immature, especially when compared to "Baby Driver" or even "Beth." This aside however, the title track is one of Kiss' best straight forward hard rockers and "I Stole Your Love" is one of Kiss' most underrated heavy metal numbers. "Almost Human" is another underrated Kiss song that contains another killer guitar solo by Ace. "Plaster Caster" is, however, one of the most insipid songs ever written. Wish it would have been forgotten but Kiss decided to resurrect it for the 1996 MTV Unplugged set. The other weak spot is the Phil Spector song "Then She Kissed Me." The cover painting once again featured what would become the new stage cloths for the bands massive 1977 tour.

Anthrax has covered "Shock Me" on Spacewalk-A Tribute to Ace Frehley.

Kiss-Alive II (Casablanca) 1977

DISC ONE
1. "Detroit Rock City (3:56)
2. "King of the Night Time World" (3:05)
3. "Ladies Room" (3:14)
4. "Makiní Love" (3:13)
5. "Love Gun" (3:40)
6. "Calling Dr. Love" (3:35)
7. "Christine Sixteen" (2:45)
8. "Shock Me" (5:51)
9. "Hard Luck Woman" (3:06)
10. "Tomorrow and Tonight" (3:25)
DISC TWO
11. "I Stole Your Love" (3:35)
12. "Beth" (2:24)
13. "God of Thunder" (5:16)
14. "I Want You" (4:14)
15. "Shout It out Loud" (3:39)
16. "All-American Man" (3:13)
17. "Rockin' in the USA" (2:36)
18. "Larger Than Life" (3:59)
19. "Rocket Ride" (4:07)
20. "Any Way You Want It" (2:33)
Peter Criss 1996

Kiss Alive II was a huge success for the band and is another of my favorite live offerings. Like Alive, there's been quite a lot of speculation concerning extensive overdubbing. Once again, I say, so what! I'd rather hear a good recording than a weak bootleg recording. The entire live portion of the album is adrenaline-charged , and probably testosterone charged as well. Side four of the original vinyl release contained five new Kiss studio tracks. Of all the tracks, the only one to ever see the light of day again was Ace Frehley's "Rocket Ride." This is also the only studio track that Ace played guitar on as Rick Derringer and Meatloaf guitarist Bob Kulick filled in on the rest. A few years down the road Bob's brother Bruce would join Kiss.

Double Platinum Kiss-Double Platinum (Casablanca) 1978

1. "Strutter '78" (3:42 )
2. "Do You Love Me?" (3:34 )
3. "Hard Luck Woman" (3:23)
4. "Calling Dr. Love" (3:19)
5. "Let Me Go, Rock 'n' Roll" (2:14)
6. "Love Gun" (3:17)
7. "God of Thunder" (4:14)
8. "Firehouse" (3:19 )
9. "Hotter Than Hel"l (3:32)
10. "I Want You" (3:03)
11. "Deuce" (3:03)
12. "100,000 Years" (3:22)
13. "Detroit Rock City" (3:35)
14. "Rock Bottom" (5:27)
15. "Rock and Roll All Night" (2:47)
16. "Beth" (2:46)
17. "Makin' Love" (3:13)
18. "C'Mon and Love Me" (2:55)
19. "Cold Gin" (4:25)
20. "Black Diamond" (4:17)

Double Platinum was a double-album collection that featured all the original versions of their hits except for "Strutter." In an attempt to entice collector's who would have already owned all these songs, Kiss recorded "Strutter '78." This new version was no where near as good as the original as it was toned down with a more disco beat. The original album came with a paper platinum record inside a silver embossed cover. The cd re-issue lost all the effects of the original packaging, until 1998 when the album was again released in digi-pack format with all the original elements of the cover art in place, including a smaller version of the platinum record.

Peter Criss Kiss-Peter Criss (Casablanca) 1978

1. "I'm Gonna Love You" (3:19)
2. "You Matter to Me" (3:17 )
3. "Tossin' and Turnin'" (4:01)
4. "Don't You Let Me Down" (3:43)
5. "That's the Kind of Sugar Papa Likes" (3:01)
6. "Easy Thing" (3:54)
7. "Rock Me Baby" (2:53)
8. "Kiss the Girl Goodbye" (2:46)
9. "Hooked on Rock 'n' Roll (3:37)
10. "I Can't Stop the Rain" (4:26)

Uh, let's just say this is one of those discs I bought to complete the collection. Picture Peter Criss wearing red velvet and playing Las Vegas with his backing band, the Cheeze Muffins. It sold millions on the KISS name alone but was still the worst selling of the four simultaneously released Kiss platters. With song titles like "That's the Kind of Sugar Papa Likes" do I really need to say any more? 'Nuff said! The worst part of it all is that despite how bad this record was, Kiss would choose the producer of Criss' album to produce their next studio album. Just goes to show you where their heads were at during this period of their careers.

Paul Stanley Kiss-Paul Stanley (Casablanca) 1978

1. "Tonight You Belong to Me" (4:40
2. "Move On" (3:11)
3. "Ain't Quite Right (3:35)
4. "Wouldn't You Like to Know Me?" (3:18)
5. "Take Me Away (Together as One)" (5:34)
6. "It's Alright" (3:34)
7. "Hold Me, Touch Me" (3:40)
8. "Love in Chains" (3:33)
10. "Goodbye" (4:09)

Paul's album is actually one of the better and the most Kiss-like of the four solo albums, which should be no surprise since Stanley has always written a majority of the Kiss material. Bob Kulick, who had worked with Kiss in the past and had even tried out for Kiss in their early stages, helped out on this release as did well known drummer Carmine Appice. Best songs are "Tonight You Belong to Me" and "Take Me Away (Together as One)."

Ace Frehley
Kiss-Ace Frehley
(Casablanca) 1978

1. "Rip It Out" (3:40)
2. "Speedin' Back to My Baby" (3:37)
3. "Snowblind" (3:55)
4. "Ozone" (4:40)
5. "What's on Your Mind?" (3:27)
6. "New York Groove" (3:03)
7. "I'm in Need of Love" (4:37)
8. "Wiped-Out" (4:13)
9. "Fractured Mirror" (5:26)

BY FAR the best, and the heaviest, of the four simultaneously released Kiss solo albums. Ace wisely chose Eddie Kramer (Kiss, Jimi Hendrix, Derik & the Dominos) to produce his album. Session drummer and future Late Night With David Letterman drummer Anton Fig helped Ace's disc to became the unexpected best seller and the only one to have a hit single in a remake of Hello's "New York Groove." "Fractured Mirror" would later have two more parts while Ace was doing Frehley's Comet. There is not a stinker on this disc. Space Ace was the subject of his own tribute in 1996 with this album being a major focus of the tribute. $7.99 NEW at Hasting's. Haven't seen it used for that price.

Gene Simmons Kiss-Gene Simmons (Casablanca) 1978

1. "Radioactive" (3:51)
2. "Burning up with Fever" (4:22)
3. "See You Tonight" (2:28)
4. "Tunnel of Love" (3:53)
5. "True Confessions" (3:30)
6. "Living in Sin" (3:51)
7. "Always Near You/Nowhere to Hide" (4:12)
8. "Man of 1,000 Faces" (3:17)
9. "Mr. Make Believe" (4:02)
10. "See You in Your Dreams" (2:49)
10. "When You Wish upon a Star" (2:43)

Gene's album was the biggest surprise, and the biggest disappointment, of the four solo albums. Simmons made sure that the top artists of the day lent a hand: Aerosmith's Joe Perry, Cheap Trick's Rick Nielsen, Donna Summer, Cher, Bob Seger, Jeff "Skunk" Baxter, Helen Reddy, among others. Unfortunately, this didn't help any. Perhaps the most surprising and the most embarrassing is the cover of the Disney's "When You Wish Upon a Star," complete with Disney style music. GAK! The rest of the albums jumps from Beatles style pop to '70s funk/disco to AOR. The best part of the album is the intro to 'Radioactive' which deceives you into thinking that a monster of an album is about to be played. Not the worst of the four, that title would go to Peter Criss, but far from the heavy rock and roll we were all expecting and hoping for. "See You in Your Dreams" is a reworking of Gene's song off "Rock and Roll Over," which he was apparently unhappy with on that record. I personally like the 'Rock and Roll Over' version better.

Dynasty Kiss-Dynasty (Casablanca) 1979

1. I Was Made for Loving You (4:30)
2. 2000 Man (4:55)
3. Sure Know Something (4:01)
4. Dirty Liviní (4:27)
5. Charisma (4:25)
6. Magic Touch (4:42)
7. Hard Times (3:31)
8. X-Ray Eyes (3:46)
9. Save Your Love (4:40)

Ace in his Dynasty Costume

Despite all appearances, KISS were in turmoil during this period of time. Even though Peter Criss appears on the album cover. session drummer Anton Fig, who had recently recorded on Ace's solo album, subbed for the ailing Catman. Rumors were that Criss had seriously hurt himself in an accident. Peter Criss, along with Stan Penridge again, did make an appearance on the song "Dirty Livin'." Dynasty marked the beginning of an unfocused KISS which ultimately almost killed the band. They began backing away from their heavy metal roots and embracing pop and even disco. "I Was Made for Loving You," an experimental disco song, actually became a minor hit for the band. There were a few gems mixed in like the melodic rocker "Sure Know Something," but most of the material was ruined by a glossy pop production. Producer Vini Poncia, who also produced the aweful Peter Criss solo album, destroyed Kiss' signature hard rock sound. Ace did a great re-working of the Rolling Stones "2000 Man" which would have been even better with a more raw heavy production. So, "Dynasty" is not the band's worst album, that is to come next, but not up to the standards set by "Kiss" and "Dressed to Kill."

Kiss-Unmasked (Casablanca) 1980

1. "Is That You?" (3:57)
2. "Shandi" (3:35)
3. "Talk to Me" (4:01)
4. "Naked City" (3:50 )
5. "What Makes the World Go 'round" (4:12)
6. "Tomorrow" (3:16 )
7. "Two Sides of the Coin" (3:15)
8. "Sheís So European" (3:30)
9. "Easy as It Seems" (3:24)
10."Torpedo Girl" (3:44)
11."You're All That I Want" (3:02)

Once again producer Vince Poncia brought Kiss to new levels of embarrassment with "Unmasked," an album that is rated by most as Kiss' worst. I have heard the thing so many times, however, that it has sort of grown on me some. Now that's a Kiss die-hard! Anyhow, Peter Criss left the band during the recording of the album and once again session drummer Anton Fig completed the record. Always liked the cover.

Music from The Elder Kiss-Music From the Elder (Casablanca) 1981

1. "Fanfare" (1:21)
2. "Just a Boy" (2:25)
3. "Odyssey" (5:36)
4. "Only You" (4:17)
5. "Under the Rose" (4:51)
6. "Dark Light" (4:18)
7. "World without Heroes" (2:40)
8. "Oath" (4:31)
9. "Mr. Blackwell" (4:52)
10. "Escape from the Island" -instrumental (2:52 )
11. "I" (5:03)
Eric Carr-The Fox

The Kiss prog-rock concept album. Who would have thunk it. New drummer Eric Carr had refueled the band's desire to rock hard so KISS began working on a straight-ahead rock album in early 1981. Since they wanted to return to their "Destroyer" sound, they brought in Bob Ezrin once again. From what I have read, despite Ace and Eric being against going in a different direction, Stanley, Simmons, and Ezrin decided to go with a mythical concept record rather than the metal album that Ace was hoping for. Simmons even visualized a movie and and elaborate rock-opera tour to follow up the record. Instead what happened was the album flopped -- big time! The album quickly went out of print and became a highly sought after collector's item, especially in the mid-80's when Kiss' popularity exploded once again. I actually really liked the album. It didn't resemble the Kiss of the early 70's but it was far better than the disco exploration of the late 70's. Two of the best tracks were written by Ace ("Dark Light" and the instrumental "Escape From the Island"). Frehley officially left the band at this point and only returned to do a small appearance on the late night show Fridays.

Killers Kiss-Killers (Phonogram) 1981

1. "I'm a Legend Tonight" (4:00 )
2. "Down on Your Knees" (3:31 )
3. "Cold Gin" (4:20 )
4. "Love Gun" (3:17 )
5. "Shout It Out Loud" (2:39)
6. "Sure Know Something" (4:01)
7. "Nowhere to Run" (4:33 )
8. "Partners in Crime" (3:48)
9. "Detroit Rock City" (3:56 )
10. "God of Thunder" (4:11)
11. "I Was Made for Loving You" (4:20)
12. "Rock and Roll All Night" (3:59)

"The Elder" bombed so bad worldwide that Kiss' record company outside the U.S., Phonogram, demanded that the band immediately assemble another album to prove to their fans that they were not prog-rockers but still a heavy metal group. The band decided to release another greatest hits package but since "Double Platinum" had just been released four years earlier, the band decided to include four brand new tracks. ("I'm a Legend Tonight," "Down On Your Knees," "Nowhere to Run," "Partners In Crime") The new tracks resemble the KISS of old more than anything they had done recently. Despite Ace being on the cover and listed as a member, Bob Kulick once again subbed for Ace. "Killers" didn't become the chart topper the record company had hoped for but it did proove to fans that Kiss were set to rock once again. Unfortunately this album was never released in the US, so it has always been a highly sought after collector's item. With the addition of the new tracks, it's worth the search. Mine is German and has the German Kiss logo with the backwards ZZs.

CLICK HERE Creatures of the Night Creatures of the Night
Kiss-Creatures of the Night (Mercury) 1982

1. "Creatures of the Night" (4:02)
2. "Saint and Sinner" (4:49)
3. "Keep Me Comin'" (3:55)
4. "Rock and Roll Hell" (4:12)
5. "Danger" (3:56)
6. "I Love It Loud" (4:15)
7. "I Still Love You" (6:06)
8. "Killer" (3:19 )
9. "War Machine" (4:13)

Vinnie Vincent

KISS comes screaming back with one of their heaviest albums ever. The drum sound on this disc has to be the heaviest, biggest sound ever laid down on tape. We're talking cannons here. The song writing is so much more aggressive than the past few disco dabbling albums and surpasses the new material on "Killers." With a little help from Vinnie Vincent (real name-Vinnie Cusano), KISS begins to make a come back. Every song on this disc is excellent. "Rock & Roll Hell" seems to be a song about what Ace was going through at the time. "I Love It Loud" is a Gene Simmons penned anthem with Eric Carr's drums mixed way out front. "I Still Love You" is a Paul Stanley ballad that is better than any he's written in the past few years. His vocals on this song are excellent. "War Machine" is one of the heaviest songs ever written by KISS. I'm surprised some death metal band hasn't picked up on this one yet. "Creatures of the Night" sounds as if Kiss had been reborn! Unfortunately the band had lost so many fans that despite the album being the best they had done in a long time, it didn't do very well and Kiss decided it was time to remove their signature make-up. "Creatures" was re-released after the make-up came off with a completely different cover and an altered sound, due to new mastering (and possibly remixing). The original cover and mix was re-released on cd a few year later when Mercury released the complete KISS catalogue calling it "The Remasters" series. Yup, I have 'em both. Turns out the non-makeup cover is a bit hard to find these days. Still find it rather amusing that the guy who actually played guitar and co-wrote much of this album was never featured on either cover. The original cover art and the video featured Ace Frehley but by this time Ace was long gone despite repeated attempts by the band to get him back for the insuing tour. Eventually Vinnie Vincent became Ace's "permanent" replacement. The non-makeup re-release featured Bruce Kulick on the cover.

Lick It Up Kiss-Lick It Up (Mercury) 1983

1. "Exciter" (4:11)
2. "Not For The Innocent" (4:23)
3. "Lick It Up" (3:56 )
4. "Young And Wasted" (4:06)
5. "Gimme More" (3:44 )
6. "All Hellís Breakin' Loose" (4:34)
7. "Million To One" (4:10 )
8. "Fits Like A Glove" (4:04)
9. "Dance All Over Your Face" (4:16)
10. "And On The 8th Day" (4:03)

Kiss, who were once again becoming masters of marketing, knew the time was right to drop the makeup, so in September 1983 the band shocked the world by unmasking on MTV in the wee hours on the night, after a re-run of a Van Halen concert. MTV at the time considered anything that had to do with Kiss as old hat. That night on MTV, despite the fact that "Lick It Up" was the simplest song the band had ever written, the video for "Lick It Up" helped re-established the band among the growing hordes of heavy metal fans. The album became the band's first record to achieve gold status since 1980's "Unmasked." Of particular surprise was the strong Eric Carr penned track "All Hell's Breaking Loose." Vinnie Vincent had become accepted as Ace's replacement but would soon leave the band to form the Vinnie Vincent Invasion with Dana Strum and Rob Rock. Vincent co-wrote most of the album's stellar, yet simple, material.

Animalize KISS-Animalize (Mercury) 1984

1. "I've Had Enough (Into the Fire)" (3:52 )
2. "Heavenís on Fire" (3:20 )
3. "Burn Bitch Burn" (4:41)
4. "Get All You Can Take" (3:43)
5. "Lonely Is the Hunter" (4:28)
6. "Under the Gun" (4:01)
7. "Thrills in the Night" (4:21)
8. "While the City Sleeps" (3:41)
9. "Murder in High Heels" (3:53)

I saw KISS on this tour in both Rochester, NY and at the Spectrum in Philadelphia. I remember wondering who this new guitar player was, because it wasn't Mark St. John, who had played on the album as Vincent's relpacement. Mark was dealing with some sort of degenerative arthritis in his hands. Newcomer Bruce Kulick was shredding on the stage in his place.

In any case, this was the second strong album in a row from Kiss and once again they were filling up the large stadiums. The album went double platinum. Mark's guitar playing stood in direct contrast to that of Ace, as he was a more technical player, yet in my opinon did not have the same charisma as Ace. Fortunately this worked in the bands favor as shred was what the people wanted. "Heaven's On Fire" became a huge MTV hit. The band seemed as though they were once again at the top of their game. Unfortunately however, Gene Simmons was more concerned with pursuing an acting career, so once again the band would begin to become unfocused, leaving Stanley to pick up the pieces. Simmons contributions to this album already showed his lack of interest, especially in the Spinal Tap-ish "Burn Bitch Burn." (Maybe Gene was hanging out with Biff from Saxon too much.) Overall, however, Animalize was still a strong album.

Asylum Kiss-Asylum (Mercury) 1985

1. "King Of The Mountain" (4:19 )
2. "Any Way You Slice It" (4:03 )
3. "Who Wants To Be Lonely" (4:02)
4. "Trial By Fire" (3:26)
5. "I'm Alive" (3:46)
6. "Love's A Deadly Weapon" (3:31)
7. "Tears Are Falling" (3:55)
8. "Secretly Cruel" (3:44)
9. "Radar For Love" (4:01)
10. "Uh! All Night" (4:03)

I don't know what to say about this one. I was in such Kiss hysteria at this point that I loved this album despite it's overly slick pop metal production. (I played the album so much when I first got it that I wore the grooves off the vinyl.) Kiss began to lose their identity once again sounding like the hordes of pop metal bands that were flooding the market at the time. Bruce Kulick, brother of Bob Kulick, was enlisted as the band's fourth guitarist, but most fans already knew him from the Animalize tour. The album's strongest track is also it's only hit ("Tears Are Falling"). Songs like "King of the Mountain," and "Who Wants to Be Lonely" are still great Kiss songs but would have sounded so much better with a heavier, rawer heavy metal production. The album went platinum. I saw Kiss several times on this tour, once even getting my picture in Faces Magazine in the front row of the Philadephia, Spectrum show. They put on a killer, although stripped down performance.

Crazy Nights Kiss-Crazy Nights (Mercury) 1987

1. "Crazy, Crazy Nights" (3:47 )
2. "I'll Fight Hell To Hold You" (4:09)
3. "Bang Bang You" (3:53)
4. "No, No, No" (4:17)
5. "Hell Or High Water" (3:27)
6. "My Way" (3:59)
7. "When Your Walls Come Down" (3:23)
8. "Reason To Live" (4:00)
9. "Good Girl Gone Bad" (4:34)
10. "Turn Of The Night" (3:18)
11. "Thief In The Night" (4:06)

Paul, Eric, Bruce, & Gene
photo courtesty of the KISS Asylum
The Paul Stanley group, as it was at this point, were sunk deep into the pop metal crevices. Once again, I was so steeped in Kiss-mania that I loved this disc when it came out. I still like it today, but don't play it anywhere near as much as some of their other discs. My friend Alex thinks this is one of Kiss' best discs, and he loves the song "Crazy, Crazy Nights" and was quite disappointed that they did not play it on their 2000 Farwell Tour.

Producer Ron Nevison, who had recently produced chart-topping records for Heart and Ozzy Osbourne, added KEYBOARDS to KISS. Keyboards should have no part of a Kiss record in my opinion. Despite this, hidden under all the gloss were some decent Kiss songs. (ie. "Hell of High Water" & "Thief in the Night") Once again I saw Kiss several times on this tour. With the exception of Eric and Bruce, the band seemed to be on auto pilot. Enjoyed the shows, but it wasn't what it use to be either.

Smashes Trashes & Hits Kiss-Smashes, Trashes & Hits (Mercury) 1988

1. "Let's Put the X in Sex" (3:48)
2. "(You Make Me) Rock Hard" (3:26)
3. "Love Gun" (3:31)
4. "Detroit Rock City" (2:44
5. "I Love It Loud" (3:45)
6. "Deuce" (3:20)
7. "Lick It Up" (3:53)
8. "Heaven's on Fire" (3:19)
9. "Calling Dr. Love" (3:38)
10. "Strutter" (3:18)
11. "Beth" -w/ Eric Carr (voc.) (2:46)
12. "Tears Are Falling" (3:54)
13. "I Was Made for Loving You" (4:29)
14. "Rock and Roll All Night" (2:56)
15. "Shout It out Loud" (3:07)

Another greatest hits compilation that includes songs from their 80's catalogue but strangely leaves out anything from "Crazy Nights." The inclusion of two non-album tracks ("Let's Put the X In Sex" & "(You Make Me) Rock Hard,") made this compilation a must buy. Neither song is as good as the hits from this album and both border on Spinal Tap silliness, but hey, I'm a Kiss fan. I had to own it. Another interest on the album was the inclusion of "Beth" with Eric Carr on vocals. To bad Kiss didn't let Eric sing on more songs as he has a strong voice, as is truly evident on the solo album released after his death.

Hot in the Shade Kiss-Hot in the Shade (Mercury) 1989

1. "Rise to It" (4:08 )
2. "Betrayed" (3:38)
3. "Hide Your Heart" (4:25)
4. "Prisoner of Love" (3:52)
5. "Read My Body" (3:48)
6. "Love's a Slap in the Face" (4:04)
7. "Forever" (3:52)
8. "Silver Spoon" (4:38)
9. "Cadillac Dreams" (3:44)
10. "King of Hearts" (4:26)
11. "Street Giveth and the Street Taketh Away" (3:34)
12. "You Love Me to Hate You" (4:00)
13. "Somewhere Between Heaven & Hell" (3:52)
14. "Little Caesar" (3:08)
15. "Boomerang" (3:30)

"Little Caesar," an Eric Carr penned song, that he was able to sing on as well, is one of the highlights of this album. The production is much less glossy than "Crazy Nights" and the keyboards have been deleted, but the fact that Kiss were using so many pop writers proved that they still had their minds set on conquering the dying pop metal world. The album did spawn Kiss' first Top Ten single in many years with the sticky sweet ballad "Forever," but it failed to do much else. Even the obvious attempts at radio singles like "Hide Your Heart" did little to bring Kiss out of the slump that they were in. Fact is, everybody wanted Kiss to rock hard, not to sing pretty ballads, myself included. Unfortunately this would be the last album for Eric Carr who died of cancer in 1991. I missed KISS on this tour as well.

Ace did a version of "Hide Your Heart" on "Trouble Walkin'" that is far superior to the Kiss version. Molly Hatchet also recorded a weak version of this song.

Kiss-Revenge (Mercury) 1992

1. "Unholy" (3:40)
2. "Take It Off" (4:50)
3. "Tough Love" (3:44)
4. "Spit" (3:32)
5. "God Gave Rock & Roll to You" (5:18)
6. "Domino" (4:01)
7. "Heart of Chrome" (4:02)
8. "You Shalt Not" (3:59)
9. "Every Time I Look at You" (4:38)
10. "Paralyzed" (4:14)
11. "I Just Wanna" (4:07)
12. "Carr Jam 1981" (2:46)
Paul, Gene, Eric, Bruce

I was sort of scared but at the same time excited when I heard that Kiss would be using Bob Ezrin to produce once again. It was also sad to think of Kiss without Eric Carr who had been with the band even longer than original drummer Peter Criss. Kiss replaced Carr with Eric Singer (Black Sabbath, Badlands) "Revenge" was the heaviest disc they had recorded since "Creatures of the Night,", driven by heavy riffs, relentless rhythms and thundering drums. "Carr Jam 1981" is a memorial to Eric Carr. This unfinished version of "Breakout," which appeared on Ace's first Comet album, has newly added guitar solos over top Eric's demo drum tracks. Vinnie Vincent once again has some co-writing credits on two of Revenge's better songs.

Alive III Kiss-Alive III (Mercury) 1993

1. "Creatures Of The Night" (4:40)
2. "Deuce" (3:42)
3. "I Just Wanna" (4:21)
4. "Unholy" (3:43)
5. "Heaven's On Fire" (4:02)
6. "Watchin' You" (3:35)
7. "Domino" (3:47)
8. "I Was Made For Lovin' You" (4:31)
9. "I Still Love You" (6:04)
10. "Rock And Roll All Nite" (3:33)
11. "Lick It Up" (4:18)
12. "Forever" (4:20)
13. "I Love It Loud" (3:40)
14. "Detroit Rock City" (5:11)
15. "God Gave Rock 'N' Roll To You II" (5:21)
16. "Star Spangled Banner" (2:38)

Nice live collection of newer material, although I sort of wish they would not have recorded "Rock and Roll All Night" and "Detroit Rock City" again. I would have rather heard "Crazy, Crazy Nights" or "Tears are Falling" or some other of their 80's material that they haven't already released on an official live disc. Regardless "Alive III" is a good performance by a veteran band. Great to hear three songs from "Creatures" live.

Greatest Kiss Kiss-Greatest Kiss (Mercury)

1. "Detroit Rock City" (3:39)
2. "Hard Luck Woman" (3:35)
3. "Sure Know Something" (4:02)
4. "Deuce" (3:07)
5. "Do You Love Me?" (3:35)
6. "I Was Made for Loving You" (4:31)
7. "Calling Dr. Love" (3:47)
8. "Christine Sixteen" (3:15)
9. "Beth" (2:49)
10. "Strutter" (3:12)
11. "Cold Gin" (4:23)
12. "Plaster Caster" (3:27)
13. "Rock and Roll All Night" (2:49)
14. "Flaming Youth" (3:00)
15. "Two Sides of the Coin" (3:18)
16. "Shout It out Loud" -live (3:39)

Yet another KISS compilation! Kiss or Mercury Records, whoever is responsible, are becoming the kings of compilations. This one is non-essential to any true fan as all the material contained has seen the light of day on other albums. Nothing really new, no unreleased tracks, not even a stinking remix, just one new live track. The 1996 live recording of "Shout it Out Loud" was the only reason for me to buy this, but I waited until I found it real cheap. Got it free through BMG!

MTV Unpluged Kiss-MTV Unplugged (Mercury) 1995

1. "Comin' Home" (2:21)
2. "Plaster Caster" (3:17 )
3. "Goin' Blind" (3:37)
4. "Do You Love Me?" (3:13)
5. "Domino" (3:46)
6. "Sure Know Something" (4:14)
7. "World Without Heroes" (2:57 )
8. "Rock Bottom" (3:20 )
9. "See You Tonight" (2:26)
10. "I Still Love You" (6:09)
11. "Every Time I Look at You" (4:43)
12. "2000 Man" (5:12 )
13. "Beth" (2:50)
14. "Nothin' to Lose" (3:42)
15. "Rock and Roll All Night" (4:20)

Gene Simmons has always been the king of marketing, so it is no surprise that Kiss would attempt to revive their careers with a reunion and an acoustic set all at the same time. Unplugged is the 90's way to revive a career, just look at Eric Clapton. Kiss chose to do this as a celebration of their 25th anniversary. What is surprising is how good this album is and the array of material the band chose to play. Coming off the heels of their recent Kiss Convention tour in which they were already playing all acoustic sets for fans, the band is tight and on the mark. The exception would be Ace who voice sounds a bit rusty. Regardless, it was good to hear him back where he was meant to be. Paul's vocals are very strong, especially on "I Still Love You." If this was just a marketing stunt, then it worked, because it rekindled my somewhat dwindling interest in Kiss. Ace rules!

Kiss-You Wanted the Best (Mercury) 1996

1. "Room Service" (3:38)
2. "Two Timer" (3:15)
3. "Let Me Know" (3:38)
4. "Rock Bottom" (3:33)
5. "Parasite" (3:37)
6. "Firehouse" (4:00)
7. "I Stole Your Love" (3:32)
8. "Calling Dr. Love" (3:35)
9. "Take Me" (3:06)
10. "Shout It out Loud" (3:14)
11. "Beth" (2:33)
12. "Rock and Roll All Night" (4:01)
13. "Kiss Tells All" (17:34)

Paul Stanley 1996

This is the album that was released for the reunion tour. "You Wanted the Best" is a compilation of songs from the first two Alive albums plus the unreleased live recordings of "Room Service," "Take Me," "Let Me Know," and "Two Timer." Not a bad disc, but the original live albums are a better listen. "Kiss Tells All" is a 17-minute interview with the four original band members conducted by Jay Leno. Held out for a used copy but ended up getting it for free from BMG.

Carnival of Souls Kiss-Carnival of Souls: The Final Sessions (Mercury) 1996

1. "Hate" (4:36)
2. "Rain" (4:46)
3. "Master and Slave" (4:57)
4. "Childhood's End" (4:20)
5. "I Will Be There" (3:49)
6. "Jungle" (6:49)
7. "In My Head" (4:00)
8. "It Never Goes Away" (5:42)
9. "Seduction of the Innocent" (5:16)
10. "I Confess" (5:23)
11. "In the Mirror" (4:26)
13. "I Walk Alone" (6:07)

Before Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley reunited with Ace Frehley and Peter Criss, they recorded "Carnival of Souls" with guitarist Bruce Kulick and drummer Eric Singer. It was intended to be their next album but things changed once the reunion happened. Kiss never intended to release the album but bootlegs were floating around so Kiss and Mercury decided to release the disc. "Carnival of Souls" is a heavy Kiss album, but far from being as memorable as even "Revenge." There are some cool songs on this disc, however. "I Confess" was co-written by Ken Tamplin and Gene Simmons. The packaging is weak for a Kiss album as well with only a single page insert. "Hate" would have been a cool song live.

Kiss-Psycho Circus (Mercury) 1998
(2 cd Limited Edition)

DISC ONE (studio)
1. "Psycho Circus" (5:30)
2. "Within" (5:10)
3. "I Pledge Allegiance to the State of Rock & Roll" (3:32)
4. "Into the Void" (4:22)
5. "We Are One" (4:41)
6. "You Wanted the Best" (4:15)
7. "Raise Your Glasses" (4:14)
8. "I Finally Found My Way" (3:40)
9. "Dreamin" (4:12)
10. "Journey of 1,000 Years" (4:47)

DISC TWO (live)
1. "Psycho Circus" (5:08)
2. "Let Me Go, Rock 'n' Roll" (5:30)
3. "Into The Void" (9:06)
4. "Within" (7:54)
5. "100,000 Years" (5:12)
6. "Black Diamond" (6:11)

Gene & Ace 1996

It's 1998 and KISS are still kicking. Since the 1996 reunion tour was such a success, Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons decided to keep Peter Criss and Ace Frehley around for a little while longer to record a full-fledged album. This new reunion studio disc was much anticipated. Sort of a black and white album as half the material is killer KISS and the other half is, uh, well, it's filler fluff. "Psycho Circus," "Raise Your Glasses," and "We Are One" are good to decent KISS tracks. "Into the Void" is an Ace Frehley penned song that is one of the best he has written for KISS since "Shock Me." Ace's solos are througout every song and since he has such a charisma about his playing, that alone made some of the lesser songs better. One the other hand, the Peter Criss sung ballad sucks and "You Wanted the Best" has one of the worst choruses ever written . In usual KISS fashion, however, the packaging is outstanding. The cover has an affect of a curtain opening to reveal a circus wagon with the four Kiss-faces in frames. Also included on the disc is a KISS screen saver.

Well, I was checking out another Kiss fan's cd collector's site and saw that there was a special edition 2-CD version of 'Psycho Circus." Of course, I freaked out and immediately emailed the owner of this site in an attempt to find out where he got it from. Come to find out that this version is somewhat common in his neck of the woods (Norway). Well, to make a long story short, the man hooked me up and I am very grateful. (thanks kmorg) Disc two contains killer live tracks recorded live on December 12, 1998 at ISU Hulman Center, Terre Haute and Deember 13, 1998 at Market Square Arena, Indianapolis, Indiana. These songs also include Ace's guitar solo and Peter's drum solo.

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Video:
Kiss-Second Coming (2 VHS tapes)

Kiss-Psycho Circus 3-D Video (1 VHS tape and 1 CD)

I also collect KISS action figures. Someday I will photograph and post these as well.

Related Bands:
Peter Criss
Eric Carr
Frehley's Comet
Union
Vinnie Vincent Invasion

KISS 1976!

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