Kiss was flying high. Alive II was doing well and heck, all their albums were selling and some even reaching Platinum status. Kiss had been in and out of the studio and on the road touring for over 4 years straight. They had 6 studio albums and 2 live albums under the belt now and they were tired. Band friction was starting to form. They were about to implode. Ace wanted to do a solo album and to help keep the peace, management and the band came up with the idea of doing 4 solo albums all under the Kiss moniker. To keep the ball rolling and capitalize on their current success, a greatest hits album was put together for a quick cash-grab and to give them more time to finish the solo projects and save the train wreck about to happen.
The album was released on April 2, 1978 and not just a simple single LP. No, this was a 2 LP, 20 song greatest hits compilation. It covers everything. To entice people to buy it, they remixed a number of songs on here so the fan would have something a little different than what they already had. And the packaging was beautiful. The album cover was a gatefold which made sense for a double LP. It was also embossed in a silver, foil-like sheen. And let me tell you that trying to take a picture of this and not have me and the camera visible was very difficult. The front and back cover for my version, are exactly the same. I know some later ones, the back is different.
The inside cover had each band member in bas-relief inside which is a slightly raised surface. You can sort of see in the earlier picture above. The band had started including inserts in to each album as a little gift for fans and this one was no different. My copy of this album, does not have these inserts so I had to steal the pictures from Discogs. You got a replica platinum award printed out as well as a merchandise form to buy as much Kiss merchandise as you want. Heck, the band sold so much merchandise that it is estimated that between 1977-1979, they sold over $100 million in merchandise. Crazy numbers even today, but back then, that is a tremendous number.
I guess we can talk about the music. As there are no new songs on this album and only remixes of about 10 of the songs, we are going to only focus on the remixes and let you know what is different on each song from the original (or as close as I can figure out from crappy aging ears). If you want to know in detail about each song, then please feel free to go check out each album review.
There was one song that was actually re-recorded and that is the track “Strutter”, now called “Strutter ’78”. Is it very different than the original? Yes, it actually is. The tempo is sped up a little and it has a more dance/disco feel to it. Looking back, it should’ve been a clue as to what was going to come. I will stick with the original.
“Hard Luck Woman” has a much longer acoustic version than the original, and the rest seems a little happier and punchier. Outside of that, I really don’t see that big a difference. Then we get “Calling Dr. Love” which opens with some weird Gene sounding evil saving Dr. Love or something like that and then has some weird effect added to the guitar and repeats it twice. There are extra guitar parts added to and the song is trimmed down about 20 seconds by not extending the end like the original.
Side 2 kicks off with “Love Gun” and though not a remix, I wanted to point out that for some reason, this is the only representative from that album which is full of great songs. The only re-mix on this side is “Firehouse” which actually sounds the same only a little more sterile than the original. The mix is a little flat outside of that the changes were minor with the siren being removed and the beginning of the song added back in at the end and faded out.
Side 3 has the most remixes with 4 of the 5 songs being remixed. First up is “Deuce” which might only have the extra punch in Paul when he screams “Do It”. It is much louder than the original. On “100,000 Years”, the song sounds lighter and a little more dull than the original. It has lost all its charm as the mix just feels flat.
The biggest change of all the songs is “Detroit Rock City” which strips out all opening sequence with getting in the car, all the car parts during the song and no crash at the end. It takes away all that was cool about the song. “She” had a weird change added to it when they put the instrumental opening sequence from “Rock Bottom” at the front of the song. Makes no sense. Then they took the opening of the song and put it again at the end to extend the song a little more.
Side 4 has two remixes and the first one is “C’mon and Love Me” which honestly doesn’t feel any different. I can’t really tell what they did with this one. The final re-mix is “Black Diamond” which really mainly changes the ending. It removes the long, drawn out eerie sounding ending that freaked you out as a kid and made you scared of the band and love them just the same. They instead repeated the opening verses and faded it out which cuts off 1 minute of the song.
‘Double Platinum’ despite all its faults with remixing the songs, it is still one of the best compilations the band has ever put out. What is great about it is still the songs. No matter the tinkering, they are still great songs. And what is cooler is to think out of the 20 great songs, there were still some they missed. How many bands can say that. Kiss had 6 albums over 4 years and tons of songs to choose from and they did well. What they really gave the fans was a solid album of 20 songs that were basically singles mixes and is truly what all the average fan is looking to own. Overall, this is still worth every penny you pay to get it and I would easily give it a 4.5 out of 5.0 Stars. For your average fan, this is perfect for them. I love it for the different versions of the songs even though I might find the mix less than stellar compared to the original.
Next Up: Kiss – ‘Paul Stanley’ (1978)
Check out the rest of the series if you have time!!
The Kiss Review Series:
- Wicked Lester and the Progeny Demo Sessions (Bootleg)
- Kiss – Kiss (1974)
- Kiss – Hotter Than Hell (1974)
- Kiss – Dressed to Kill (1975)
- Kiss – Alive! (1975)
- Kiss – Destroyer (1976)
- Kiss – “Flaming Youth” 45 Promo Single – Bonus Edition (1976)
- Kiss – Special Kiss Album For Their Summer Tour (1976)
- Kiss – The Originals (1976)
- Kiss – Rock & Roll Over (1976)
- Kiss – Love Gun (1977)
- Kiss – Alive II (1977)
- Kiss – Double Platinum (1978)
The Bootleg Series:
- Kiss – ‘Accept No Imitations’ (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (ASYLUM TOUR)
- Kiss – Look Wot You Dun to Me (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (CRAZY NIGHTS TOUR)
- Kiss – The Summer of Satan: The Devils Ride Out! (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (DESTROYER TOUR)
- Kiss – Return to Capital Center (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (DYNASTY TOUR)
- Kiss – With Fire & Thunder (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (HOTTER THAN HELL TOUR)
- Kiss – Northhampton PA March 19th, 1975 (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (DRESSED TO KILL TOUR)
- Kiss – The Hottest Show On Earth (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (THE HOTTEST SHOW ON EARTH TOUR 2010)
- Kiss – All the Way to the Ball Room (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (Australian Tour 1995)
- Kiss – Kiss of Thunder (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (The Rising Sun Tour 2006)
- Kiss – Agora Ballroom 1974: The Cleveland Broadcast plus Bonus Cuts (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (THE KISS TOUR)
- Kiss – Hotter Than Hell: Radio Broadcast 1976 (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (ROCK & ROLL OVER TOUR)
- Kiss – The Tickler (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (LICK IT UP TOUR 1983)
- Kiss – Barbarize (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (ANIMALIZE WORLD TOUR 1984 – North American Tour)
- Kiss – They Only Come Out At Night (Bootleg Series) – Album Review (ANIMALIZE WORLD TOUR 1984 – EUROPEAN TOUR)
- Wicked Lester and the Progeny Demo Sessions (Bootleg)
Kiss – The Box Set:
- The Box Set (Part 1 of 6)
- The Box Set – Disc One 1966-1975 (Part 2 of 6)
- The Box Set – Disc Two 1975-1977 (Part 3 of 6)
- The Box Set – Disc Three 1976-1982 (Part 4 of 6)
- The Box Set – Disc Four 1983-1989 (Part 5 of 6)
- The Box Set – Disc Five 1992-1999 (Part 6 of 6)
Gene Simmons – The Vault:
- Part 1 – The Grand Opening
- Part 2 – Disk 1
- Part 3 – Disk 2
- Part 4 – Disk 3
- Part 5 – Disk 4
- Part 6 – Disk 5
- Part 7 – Disk 6
- Part 8 – Disk 7
- Part 9 – Disk 8
- Part 10 – Disk 9
- Part 11 – Disk 10
- Part 12 – The Bonus Disk
- Part 13 – The Best Songs of the Vault
- Part 14 – The Worst Songs of the Vault
- Part 15 – The Final Verdict