“Gold: 1974-1982” Sound and Vision by KISS

Artist: KISS
Title: “Gold: 1974-1982” Sound and Vision
Label: Mercury/Universal Music
Release Date: 10/5/2004
Genre: Hard Rock
Rating: 4.5/5

Thanks to the fine folks over at Universal Music there is no short supply of “Greatest Hits” packages from those masked masters of Rock & Roll KISS. The first “official” hits compilation was the pristine “Double Platinum” and this was released during the band’s original heyday so it remains a cherished favorite of mine. It was followed by “Killers” which was pretty much a Japan only release that some of the fans managed to get their mitts on and how could they not when it was learned how four unreleased songs were a part of its presentation. From there it got a little out of hand and the compilation packages began to be very repetitive and sometimes didn’t even offer up any new photos for us to enjoy. To avoid repetition I am once again presenting my views on the “Gold” (remaster) – It’s easier to do it like this since I obviously feel the same way about this part of the content.

“When you look it up online there really seem to be a lot of KISS “Greatest Hits” albums to choose from. They start at “Double Platinum” and run until “Gold” and when tallied up there are nine such releases to choose from plus the career-encompassing boxed set. Included among this number are Mercury/Universal’s two different “Masters” collections and honestly those are more for the beginner or best served as gifts to those that are for some reason still clueless to the bands impact. With “Gold” however one is able to get a “cream of the crop” collection of the best material from self-titled “KISS” until their album “Killers” which is an import best-of that featured 4 new songs that many KISS fans have not had exposure to. Essentially more of an Anthology package the 40 songs presented here really do give both the KISS fan and the casual listener a great amount of music to enjoy. There are some differences between this and other hits releases by this one making sure that it not only features a handful of live recordings but also a track from each of the member’s solo releases. Overall this is a very well-rounded package and while it omits any music past the “Killers” album there really is a lot of music to sate ones appetite. “Gold” essentially becomes a worthy collection of music from the beginning in 1973 until 1982. Perhaps “More Gold” or “Gold 2” will see the light of day and give focus and attention to the fifteen albums that will come from the band. Paying careful attention to the group’s visual nature there is a nice collection of band photos that I think will go over very well. There are a couple of the most famous shots in the bands history represented such as the Empire State Building shot and the Love Gun era photo that is often used. Historical information is also presented in the booklet that runs a total of 20 pages. There is also a detailed list of the musicians who performed on many of these songs which is interesting information for any musical historian to have. Overall it is an impressive packaging for a hits package. I have to admit that I am a KISS purist and while I followed the band continually during their career I lean to the years that the original line up recorded and toured. Like many fans my very favorite songs come from this era and growing up during the years of their original release makes me say that this is a must have for any KISS fan. It’s even good for the KISS Collector who wants no gaps in their catalog and more important someone who only likes a defined number of hits rather than individual records. Given the growing popularity of buying music online I can see this item doing well via that medium as well.”

DVD: KISS “Exposed” – I am not too sure what led to the decision to include the 1987 long form music video “Exposed” with the “Gold” (remaster) and I had to say that it left me a little puzzled. Don’t get me wrong, as this is really a fantastic release and when it was first issued on VHS, it was only the second official KISS video release. What made it special was how it presented a lot of historic footage from the vaults of KISS and yes there was a lot of cool makeup footage of the original band. Remember in 1987 KISS was no longer sporting the face paint and to see clips of them in action from as far back as 1975 was stunning to the KISS fans. My views of this release are represented here so check them out please.

“I remember when this DVD first came out as a VHS tape very clearly. When it was advertised we were told that not only would we get to have a lot of KISS’ videos on one tape but we would also for the first time-ever get an authorized product that featured 8 makeup years live performances. These clips would range from very early in the career to just before the makeup was taken off. Originally released in 1987 I don’t think that there was a KISS fan in existence that did not race to the store to get a copy. The video was setup as a “mock-umentary” with a member of the short-lived television show “Fridays” as the host who would be interviewing the members of KISS in their homes on a normal day. Obviously the outrageous settings of these homes was not true to what living was like for them yet in the needs of the video it fit in. Cutting between comedic lines we do get some good information on some of these clips and the old live performances especially. The earliest footage suffers a little due to its time of record while the later material such as the 1977 stuff is crystal clear and makes you long for a full show. At the time the band was Gene, Paul and Eric Carr and Bruce Kulick and sadly these last two members are hardly visible in the video and do more of a “Walk-In” appearance rather than contribute to anything being discussed. There is no commentary from original members Ace Frehley and Peter Criss either. There are no bonus features to speak of and this is literally a direct transfer of the original VHS to the DVD Medium. However if you were like me an owned the tape you will also find the re-issue of this a blessing because just how long can these tapes last anyway. This is an easily and highly recommended piece of the KISS Video collection as its fun to watch and you get your appetite for classic clips fed. If you enjoyed the non-makeup years of KISS music this is especially good since it has the videos from those albums they released. If you gave up on KISS when they took the face paint off then this will bring you a nice reminder of the glory days.”.

Whew. So now the question remains about whether to buy this release or not and I have to remain on the fence and say to some people “yes, you should most certainly purchase this” and to the others “no, be sure to avoid this one if at all possible”. To those who I said yes to, this would be the case if you do not yet own the “Gold” remaster or the “Exposed” DVD. It makes perfect sense to add this to your library if that is the case. Of course on the other side of the coin, if you do own one or both of them then you should not spend the extra money. Generally the KISS maniacs lay down their hard-earned cash on anything that comes out even if it is a duplicate or a close to what is already out there. That is the signs of the Gene Simmons implant doing its work and continuing to keep us maintaining the engine. It’s up to you.

Track Listing:
1. Strutter
2. Nothin’ To Lose
3. Firehouse
4. Deuce
5. Black Diamond
6. Got To Choose
7. Parasite
8. Hotter Than Hell
9. C’Mon And Love Me
10. She
11. Anything For My Baby
12. Rock Bottom
13. Cold Gin
14. Rock And Roll All Night
15. Let Me Go Rock And Roll
16. Destriot Rock City
17. King Of The Night Time World
18. Shout It Out Loud
19. Beth
20. Do You Love Me
21. I Want You
22. Calling Dr. Love
23. Hard Luck Woman
24. I Stole Your Love
25. Love Gun
26. Christine Sixteen
27. Shock Me
28. Makin’ Love
29. God Of Thunder
30. Tonight You Belong To Me
31. New York Groove
32. Radioactive
33. Don’t You Let Me Down
34. I Was Made For Lovin’ You
35. Sure Know Something
36. Shandi
37. Talk To Me
38. A World Without Heroes
39. Nowhere To Run
40. I’m A Legend Tonight

Official Web site: http://www.kissonline.com

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