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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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