Ace Frehley! This ratty kid walks into the audition with a mismatched pair of shoes and Gene and Paul are not sure what to think of this mess. He plugs in and plays and the rest is Kisstory as they say. Ace is the one of the main reasons I love rock & roll. His playing was amazing and he played with such feel that you wanted to be Ace. When you and your friends wanted to pretend to be Kiss, I always wanted Ace and if I couldn’t get Ace, I was Paul (no one wanted to be Peter, not even Peter…old joke).
His time with Kiss was tumultuous at best. But when the band did their solo albums back in 1978, Ace showed he had the goods to do this on his own and eventually that is what he did. Eventually due to his drinking and other issues, Ace was let go and his solo career began. And that solo career is the focus. We will include the Kiss solo album because it is an Ace Frehley album, but only Ace’s stuff, no other Kiss. And only studio albums will be counted, no live or compilations.
Sit back and enjoy the ranking of the Ace Frehley albums from Worst to First…
THE WORST – FREHLEY’S COMET – SECOND SIGHTING (1988)
Now when it comes to Ace, I am a little biased. I do enjoy all his albums so for me “worst” is a little harsh. I would just say it is the least favorite and not really the “worst”. I have heard some pretty awful albums and this isn’t one of them. But, it isn’t that great either in my humble opinion. I know some would disagree (right LeBrain!!).
The songs are decent enough, but not that memorable. It came out pretty quick after the debut and I feel it felt rushed. It only had a few songs worth anything for me including “Insane”, “Dancing With Danger” and “The Acorn is Spinning” which are all Ace songs. I couldn’t get in to Tod Howarth’s songs when he sang for some reason. I also felt the production was lacking a little as well. I was just never able to fully get in to this release.
#7 – ORIGINS VOL. 1 (2016)
Now, I know I have this almost at the bottom, but it is a decent release for a covers album. I am usually not a big fan of cover albums. I don’t mind that he does a cover song on almost every album, but a whole album…ugh. And really the only reason it is this low is because when a song misses, it really and truly sucks so bad my cheeks hurt…“Wild Thing” with Lita Ford and I didn’t care for “Magic Carpet Ride”.
But, there are some good songs. “Fire and Water” with Paul Stanley on vocals was a real treat and one of my favorites off the release. I also dug “Parasite” with John 5 and the Led Zeppelin cover of “Bring It On Home”. The rest were decent enough to make it an album worth getting for any Ace fan, but might not be one of you top Ace releases.
#6 – SPACE INVADER (2014)
After Anomaly, Ace took a few years before another release and I have to say I was a little disappointed as I didn’t think it was as strong as Anomaly or a lot of his other releases. You also didn’t get another instrumental chapter in the Fractured Series which was a downer as well. I just felt the songs weren’t as strong and not sure the focus was there either.
That doesn’t mean there weren’t some songs worth adding to the Ace collection. You get a couple really strong songs with “Gimme a Feelin”, “Space Invader” and “Toys”. I also liked “Inside the Vortex”, but this time his cover wasn’t one I enjoyed as he covered Steve Miller’s “The Joker”. It was missing something for me. Anyway, overall still worth having just not up to par as the rest of this list will show.
#5 – FREHLEY’S COMET (1987)
The first somewhat solo release since leaving Kiss is Ace Frehley’s Frehley Comet release. It featured Ace and Tod Howarth on vocals as well as John Regan on bass and Anton Fig on drums. It was a great debut and would have been a lot higher if Ace hadn’t gotten so good these last few years.
The opening track is fantastic. The song “Rock Soldiers” is a little autobiographical for Ace about his accident back in 1983. It was a wake-up call for him (although he didn’t listen for very long). We also were given such great songs as “Breakout” (co-written by fellow Kiss member Eric Carr), “Into the Night”, “Something Moved” and the weird ass song “Dolls”. We also get our second of the continuing instrumental saga of the Fractured series with “Fractured Too”. For me, I loved this album and it helped revive my love for Ace.
#4 – TROUBLE WALKIN’ (1989)
For the longest time, I thought this would be the final Ace Solo album, but we would finally get one 20 years later. I thought this was a great way to go out (at the time). I was so excited we got our first true solo album after the Frehley’s Comet albums. It was everything I had been waiting for since the 1978 release.
This album gave us the great ELO cover of “Do Ya” and the great title song “Trouble Walkin” which I thought Ace sounded sensational both vocally (which is hard to Ace at times) and musically. And I can’t forget one of my favorites “Five Card Stud”, “Shot Full of Rock” and “Lost in Limbo” and let’s not forget “Fractured III”. He had to have an instrumental. I actually go back to this release a lot and I hope to find it on vinyl one day.
#3 – ANOMALY (2009)
When I thought of doing this release, my #3 would have been “Trouble Walkin'” until I dive deep into Anomaly again. Wow, I forgot how good this one really is. This was the first solo album since he left Kiss for a second time and 20 years since his last true solo album back in 1989. We get a sober Ace for the first time I believe and what we get is a more focused Ace and one ready to play.
The album gave us 3 great mostly instrumentals including “Genghis Kahn”, “Space Bear” and the fourth Fractured song “Fractured Quantum”. All worth the price alone. Ace was really trying to prove something with this release. As far as songs, you get “Foxy and Free”, “Outer Space” (personal favorite), ‘Too Many Faces” and a great cover with “Fox on the Run”. This was just a solid release for me. I have really enjoyed digging through this one again.
#2 – SPACEMAN (2018)
Who would have that that 40 years after the first Solo album, that Ace would deliver something as good as this? I didn’t. Another great album from beginning to end. With a little help from Gene on two songs, Ace brought to us his most reflective album and another inspiring release. His playing was some of his best and production was top notch.
The songs “Rockin’ With the Boys”, “Bronx Boys”, “Pursuit of Rock And Roll” and “Mission to Mars” are now some of my favorite Ace songs. Not since the debut have I been drawn in to his music so quickly. The songs felt fresh while reminding us of the good ol’ days with the sound and the lyrics. It is just a classic Ace release. And what was also cool about this one is there are so many cover variations and colored vinyl that any collector will go broke trying to get all of them. It is awesome!!
#1 – KISS ACE FREHLEY SOLO ALBUM (1978)
The 1978 Solo album was mind blowing. It was the most rocking of the four and between Paul’s and Ace’s you could argue on any given day that these two were the best. There is not a bad song on the album, nothing you would skip. You would only crank them up louder and louder.
From the big hit “New York Groove” to “Snowblind” to “Rip It Out” to “Speedin’ Back to My Baby” it was one awesome guitar solo after another. The guitar work was inspiring, the songs were catchy and the overall sonics and production were some of the best. And the tops was that intricate instrumental “Fractured Mirror” to end the album. After this release, we knew Ace could be on his own and could be out front and the spotlight. Too bad the drinking got in the way so much.
And there you have it, the Ace Frehley studio albums in order of how I rank them from the worst to the best. Let me know what you think. Where did we differ and where did we agree. What is fun about these list is how differently each album impacts people. What I like, you might not, but we like the same band and that is all that matters really.