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. Continue reading Forty Years Ago Today; Celebrating The KISS Debut “KISS” (1974-2014)→
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. Continue reading KISS’ “Gene Simmons” Solo Album Is 35 Years Old (1978-2013)→
Today marks the 40th Anniversary of the first gig of the legendary KISS; Yep, on this day back in January of 1973, Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Peter Criss and Ace Frehley performed together under this name for a mere handful of people at a place known as the Popcorn Club. This venue would later be renamed to The Coventry which is very familiar to those who know their KISStory. The band wore garish makeup and each of them was a character of their own design with The Demon, The Starchild, The Cat and the Space Ace and it was a shock to the Rock and Roll system of the time when they all appeared together in this manner.
I’ve never been shy of admitting how KISS is my favorite band above them all so when there is something cool being released I love being able to speak a little bit about it and that brings us to this release broadcast. I figured it was alright to do this one because I have been discussing when big catalog issues such as Frank Zappa, Pink Floyd and The Beatles had come out. While this is a singular release, it still spans a lengthy amount of releases and years. Take a look at the official specs below the logo. I coped the official press release for easier digestion.
The Press Release:
Rock legends KISS were the first signing to the late Neil Bogart’s newly formed Casablanca Records label after he saw and recognized their talent and showmanship during their spectacular performance at a showcase concert at New York City’s Le Tang’s Ballet Studio in 1973, offering them a contract on the spot. Now, KISS celebrates their 40th anniversary in 2013 having broken box-office records set by The Beatles and Elvis, more than 28 U.S. gold albums—the most gold records for any American rock band—40 million sales in the U.S. and a total exceeding 100 million worldwide. Continue reading The KISS “Casablanca Singles” Are Coming (12/4/2012)→
It was a sad couple of days for many music fans and while we are primarily known for being a Hard Rock and Metal focused site here at the PiercingMetal Command Center; it was hard to ignore the dimming of the Disco ball when both Donna Summer and Barry Gibb passed away within mere days of each other. Donna Summer was the undisputed “Queen Of Disco” and with songs like “Love To Love You Baby”, “MacArthur Park”, “Dim All The Lights” and “Hot Stuff” helped keep her label Casablanca Records afloat. This little bit of information is important for Hard Rock fans because Casablanca Records was the home of KISS and kept their fans in release after release. Donna Summer was born LaDonna Adrian Gaines, was a Mezzo-Soprano vocalist and had won five Grammy Awards over the course of her career. There is so much more to tell about her but I will leave that to your own discovery. Our post is just a simple tip of the finely coiffed head. In the end it would be lung cancer that took Donna away from us on May 17th of this year – she was 63 and was not a smoker. According to reports, she believed that her illness stemmed from fumes and particles inhaled after the 9-11 attacks on New York City.
Then three days later we all learned of the passing of the second Bee Gee’s member Robin Gibb. He was the brother to Maurice (who had passed away in 2003) and it was without question that his contributions to modern music were exemplary. As a member of the BeeGees, Robin, Maurice and Barry were formed in 1958 but really grew to their largest prominence and acclaim with their work on the soundtrack for the Disco film “Saturday Night Fever”. I’ll admit now that even though I was a growing Rocker at the time of this release that even I owned a copy of it. Hey. Everyone owned one and sometimes you fear the peer pressure as a youth. It was in middle April that the news about Robin being critically ill hit the channels and it was reported that he was pretty much on death’s door and on watch with his close family at that time. The singer would hold on for awhile and during that span of time we would lose both actor Jonathan Frid (Barnabas Collins) and musician Levon Helm (from The Band). It would be complications from colon cancer and its affecting his liver and kidneys that would cause him to pass on. He was just 62 years old.
That being said I wish to express sincere condolences to the families, friends and worldwide fans of both Donna Summer and Robin Gibb. No matter what your musical preference actually is, it is without question that these peoples offerings helped to sustain the industry and their legacy is somewhat astounding when you come to think about it. To say that you were only a fan of the hits that the BeeGees had would translate into your owning no less than four full albums worth of songs. They had nine Grammy Awards for their musical accomplishments. Donna had five but her work was no less extraordinary. Thank you both for the music that you have given us. Your songs are that of legend and forever mark a part of Pop Culture history. May you both rest in peace.
Read more about these performers illustrious careers via their Wikipedia entries below: