Kiss had released the ‘Music from the Elder’ back in November 1981 and it flopped. The record company was in a panic and needed to get something out so people could forget about the disaster that was ‘the Elder’ so what do they do? Well, they put out a compilation. Phonogram (the band’s European label) requested Kiss go back in and record some new songs for the compilation which they gladly did…well a couple of them gladly did. Ace was pretty much done with Kiss back in 1981 and wasn’t involved at all with any of the new songs. However, he wouldn’t leave the band until after the next album in late 1982. Gene played on them (I think), but didn’t sing or write as he was pretty busy either with his girlfriend Diana Ross or making movies.
The heavy lifting was left to Paul and Eric. Paul wrote or co-wrote all the songs and sang on all of them. The label and band brought in a bunch of outside writers including Mikel Japp, who co-wrote with Paul on his solo album, Adam Mitchell, who would write a lot on the next album ‘Creatures of the Night’, and lastly some guy named Bryan Adams. All the drum work was done by Eric Carr and the late Bob Kulick handled all the lead guitar work just as he did on Alive II, with rhythm guitar on one song done by Mikel Japp. So, I guess it is still Kiss.
The sound is a pre-curser of the band returning to their rock roots and away from the pop and experimental stuff that had come on the previous three albums. Now it wasn’t a full return, but it was a step in the right direction. The album cover used was from photo shoots with the band in their “Elder” attire as you can see Gene with the short hair and Paul with that freaky bandana. Since the record company wanted a heavier sound, they brought in some new blood to produce, Michael James Jackson. MJJ would go on to show that Kiss could still rock with their next two albums as well, ‘Creatures of the Night’ and ‘Lick it Up’.
My version of this album is in pretty rough shape, but it is still a cool version to have. Mine is from Brazil. And someone wrote on the cover, but as I don’t see this in the wild, ever, I grabbed it anyway. The album was released pretty much everywhere, but the United States. And the Japanese edition had two additional tracks including “Escape from the Island” which was not on their version of ‘Music from the Elder” and they had “Shandi” as well. Australia got “Talk to Me” and “Shandi” which is no surprise as “Shandi was a big hit there. Now I am on the hunt for those versions as well. As a lot of these songs have been written about before, I will focus on the four new songs and the songs that had a different mix than the original releases. Let’s get started.
The opening track, “I’m A Legend Tonight” is the band going back to their much heavier, borderline metal roots. With a heavy drum beat from Eric and nasty guitar riff from Bob it instantly lets you know that Kiss can still rock. Paul is at his vocal best with this song. It is full of swagger and pure gold. This one was written by Paul and Adam Mitchell.
Next up is “Down on Your Knees” and this one is nothing but cocky swagger by Paul. It is an average track and is borderline being a great rock anthem. It sounds more 80’s Rock than anything they have done up to this point in the 80’s. This one was written by Paul, Mikel Japp and Bryan Adams. Of course, Bryan hadn’t shot to the stratosphere yet, but that was coming soon enough for him.
All the other songs on Side 1 are original versions with the exception of “Shout it Out Loud” which is off the 1976 album ‘Destroyer’. This version isn’t dramatically different. It is the version that was released on the 7″ single mix which is only slightly edited with the vocals in the center rather than a Gene on left side and Paul on right side thing with the vocals. It is also shorter by only about 9 seconds as it fades out a lot quicker.
Side 2 kicks off with my favorite of the new songs “Nowhere to Run”. This is all Paul and no other co-writers. I love the little drum fill at the beginning with a little acoustic intro and it built up from there. Another one with some great guitar work by Bob as he does lay down an awesome solo on this one as well. Eric’s drums are loud and powerful as he brought such a new life to the Kiss sound. Paul hasn’t sounded better vocally. The song is a little darker than Paul’s fare lately and I think it suits him perfectly.
The final new track is “Partners in Crime” which was written by Paul and Adam. It is even more 80’s sounding than “Down on Your Knees” if that is possible. It is heavy on the sex since it is about an affair with a married woman. It is a typical rock song of the time and I like it. I hate these didn’t get released in the U.S. but it makes sense as Kiss was pretty much dead and the radio wasn’t going to play anything from them.
Now this side has a couple edited tracks including “Detroit Rock City” which cuts out the intro and most of the story line except for the crash at the end. The other edited song is “I Was Made For Loving You” which might be the Single edit. It is shorter than the album version and actually longer than my 7″ Single version. “God of Thunder” is also slightly edited but that edit is only removing the opening with the kids saying “Ok, you can start singing”. All the other kids parts are still there.
No track listing or score on this one since it is a compilation. I leave the Keep or Delete thing for studio albums (mostly). Even though this was never officially released in the U.S., back in the late 80’s I found a CD at a store and bought it and I fell in love with these new songs. For me, this was a fantastic greatest hits compilation and is a great introduction to the band if you hadn’t already been introduced to them prior. I would give this a 4.5 out of 5.0 Stars as I would’ve liked to have the other songs offered on it as well. Kiss needed this boost and they needed to show the world they could still rock…too bad no one really noticed. Can they keep that rock going with the next album? We will see.
Next Up: Kiss – Creatures of the Night (1982)
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)
- Kiss – Paul Stanley (1978)
- Kiss – Gene Simmons (1978)
- Kiss – Peter Criss (1978)
- Kiss – Ace Frehley (1978)
- Kiss – Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park Movie (1978)
- Kiss – Dynasty (1979)
- Kiss – “I Was Made For Lovin’ You” (1979) – 12″ & 7″ Singles (Bonus Edition)
- Kiss – Unmasked (1980)
- Peter Criss – Out of Control (1980)
- Kiss – Music From The Elder (1981)
- Kiss – Killers (1982)
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