Tag Archives: casablanca records

“You Wanted The Best!!!” – KISS “Alive II” Is Forty Years Old!!! (1977-2017)

Stand up on top of your seats and raise your fist in the air and light that lighter to its highest flame because KISS “Alive II” has reached its fortieth anniversary and was released on this date back in 1977. As this is one of my very favorite albums of all time I am pretty stoked to reflect upon its awesomeness. Here we go.

In some sense it began for me with the opening line that shouted “You Wanted The Best And You Got The Best! The Hottest Band In The World —- KISS!!!” From the moment this album began with that intro I started my first truly full exploration into a band that I had only heard every now and again at that point in history. I would sometimes hear them if my parents had the Rock radio station on in the car and songs like “Rock and Roll All Night” or “Strutter” came across the airwaves. I liked those songs enough to the best of my recollection but that was all I was able to absorb since I was still at a pretty young age. When KISS “Alive II” came out I was still in grade school and for some reason I can still recall seeing a double page advertisement for it in one of the major newspapers of the day. Since money was not really in my own control around those years it would be a couple of years later when I finally got my own copy of the album but of course I had heard it quite a few times by then since some older friends had it and allowed me to indulge in its greatness and be schooled in a sense with what truly was “The Hottest Band In The World” to my young ears. To me, Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons, Ace Frehley and Peter Criss were Rock and Roll superheroes and their wild image was like watching the comic books that I was reading come to life.

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KISS “Alive II” 1977 LP Front Cover

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KISS “Destroyer” Is Still Shouting Out Loud @ 40 Years (1976-2016)

There sure are a lot of music milestones to address this year and many of them I don’t mind at all because it’s fun to reflect on a particular albums importance in my own world along with that of the larger populace around me. This is especially a treat when we are talking about the absolutely seminal, must have this in your music collection without a doubt album by KISS, the one and only “Destroyer”. This was the bands fourth album and followed that other iconic release “Alive” and for many fans of my own vintage (or close to it) is the album that molded ones KISS appreciation into a diehard allegiance. Personally speaking I had been hearing KISS on the radio since “Dressed To Kill” as I knew some tunes from that and “Alive” and while I would hear “Destroyer” in the same fashion, I would not yet be purchasing albums all that easily. Music purchasing power was still in the hands of the parents and I would begin my own KISS commerce with “Alive II”. Sorry, I’m going off track here a little bit so where was I – Oh yeah “Destroyer”.
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KISS’ “Hotter Than Hell” Melting Stereos For 40 Years (1974-2014)

“She looked good she looked Hotter Than Hell, all dressed in satins and lace. I looked at her and it was just too clear…..I had to get on the case”……. Yeah the words still come to me so many years after I first heard the sophomore effort by KISS and their album “Hotter Than Hell”. Of course the album’s title track was the recordings fourth number on the LP but I digress. Can you believe that is has been that long since it was released? Now I’ll admit that given my own personal vintage that I was not a KISS fan at the time that this album came out (that epiphany would hit me around the time of “Destroyer” or maybe it was even with “Alive” but the memory is slightly cloudy on it). I had heard the band already since the radio stations of the day would play some KISS tunes but would not own albums of my own for some years to come but I digress….yes “Hotter Than Hell”, wow forty years old today October 22nd 2014.
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Forty Years Ago Today; Celebrating The KISS Debut “KISS” (1974-2014)

I’m pretty shocked to be writing these words down but today is the official fortieth anniversary of the debut album by KISS, congratulations to NYC’s own Masked Men of Hard Rock and Roll. The eponymous release came care of Casablanca Records and co-produced by Richie Wise (who some might remember as a member of Dust). At the time of the album’s release the band only been in the makeup that we have come to know and love for a relatively short time so looking back on this cover is like looking into a time capsule. The album is said to have pressed 500K copies and only sold about 75K of them and that is not good at all but this would be the case for its two succeeding albums as well and it’s been historically proven that they would not explode as a force to be reckoned with until their first live album “Alive”. According to numerous interviews, both Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley have stated that much of the material that we find on “KISS” was already written with some being in use previously when they were a part of Wicked Lester. Years ago I heard “She” by Wicked Lester and it’s surely different from what we have been tuned into for so many years after first hearing it on “Dressed To Kill” but that is an album for a different milestone posting to come. Let’s get back to the point about the debut. For starters the album is almost completely written by Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons and while Ace Frehley did write the seminal concert classic “Cold Gin” he does not sing it and the job falls to Gene. Ace will not showcase his voice until “Love Gun” with “Shock Me”. Peter on the other hand sings on a few numbers but was not responsible for any of the writing.
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KISS’ “Gene Simmons” Solo Album Is 35 Years Old (1978-2013)

I’ve really been enjoying sharing these “Music Milestones” with you and well, to be honest anything in the “Milestone” category brings a smile to my face because it’s fun to reflect upon something that I remember buying way back in the day or have looked upon fondly for many years. Today’s “Milestone” is actually the first of four related topics because we are at the 35th Anniversary of the KISS Solo Albums – Lifelong KISS fans of a certain age might recall how in 1978 on this very day, four distinct albums were released to the public that showcased the creative side of each of the bands members. I’ll start with Gene Simmons since he has long been my favorite member of the band but as far as deep analysis of the album goes I am going to leave that to the Official Wikipedia entry which is at the bottom. You don’t need me to repeat what is already documented.
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