Back on June 18, there was another small Record Store Day for those items that were delayed from the main one on April 23. I was on the hunt for the Collective Soul first vinyl release of ‘Disciplined Breakdown’ and the Halestorm Tomb-Shaped Single which I did get both. I wasn’t able to get up and be there when it started so I was worried I would miss out. Around Noon, my youngest daughter and I headed out to our first stop Repo. Repo had the Halestorm, but not the Collective Soul…dang it. And while we there, we figured we’d look around.
I decided to go over to the shelves and look for some Kiss (like there was any chance I was going to find one I didn’t have. The Kiss albums were on the bottom shelf and to properly go through them, you have to sit on the slimy, sticky floor…it wasn’t that bad. When my bones creaked and moaned and I finally got down there, I saw a box sitting across the top of the albums that was not visible from above. A factory sealed Monopoly game with Kiss as the theme!! Hell Yeah!! I had been looking for it for at least a decade or more. And it was factory sealed!! Hell Yeah Again!!
I’ve found a few Kiss singles lately and this is the last in the bunch…for now. This time around I found the single to the song “Calling Dr. Love” off the band’s 1976 album ‘Rock And Roll Over’. The song was the band’s fourth Top 20 hit going all the way to #16 on the Billboard Hot 100. It was the second single on the album which following the success of the album, ‘Destroyer’, went on to sell over a million copies and hit platinum status. Kiss was on a roll at this time and their popularity was growing by leaps and bounds.
A fun fact on the song is that it was written by Gene while he was at a Holiday Inn where I am sure he was “living in sin” (let’s see who gets that reference). The song title was inspired by a Three Stooges film called ‘Men in Black’ which contained a hospital intercom announcement, “Calling Doctor Howard, Doctor Fine, Doctor Howard.” And thanks to wiki for that reference.
My version is again, the standard U.S. version with the boring Casablanca / Filmworks standard sleeve. No picture sleeve. The B-Side is the Paul Stanley sung song “Take Me”. No special remixes, no unreleased tracks, just the same old stuff, but I still had to have it. I’m a little nuts that way.
A couple weeks ago we talked through the Kiss 7″ Single for “Beth”. I know, I know…the Kiss Review Series will never die as I’ll always keep finding stuff to show off. Now, I found another one of their singles and this one is from their 1977 album ‘Love Gun’. It is “Christine Sixteen” and the song features Gene Simmons on the lead vocals. As far as chart success, it went all the way to #25 on the Billboard Hot 100. Not bad!
I say not bad because of the subject matter of the song, a lot of stations wouldn’t play it or would only play it after 7pm as if that made it any better. The basis of the song is about an older man infatuated with a girl of the tender age of 16. That wouldn’t fly at all today, but back then, it wasn’t terrible or unforgivable, merely frowned upon I would say based on the fact it still sold like hotcakes. Imagine the chart position if all the stations played it any time of day.
My version is the standard U.S. version, with no picture sleeve. It has the standard Casablanca/Filmworks sleeve which is pretty basic. The B-Side of the song might actually be better than the A-Side is it is Ace Frehley’s song “Shock Me”. More on that later. First let’s discuss the A-Side.
I’m always out searching for Kiss music that I don’t have on vinyl and right now that is mostly singles. The latest time I was out digging, I came across a 7″ Single for the song “Beth” off their 1976 classic ‘Destroyer’. The original single for this album was “Detroit Rock City” as the A-Side and “Beth” as the B-Side. When that went out to the radio stations, the DJ’s ended playing “Beth” which quickly became the most requested songs on a lot of stations.
After that, the decision was made to reissue the single with “Beth” as the A-Side and “Detroit Rock City” as the B-Side. That is the copy I have. It was released in August 1976. Now, my version I found doesn’t have a picture sleeve as shown as the header. I used that to make the post more enticing. My version actually just came in a plain white sleeve but the original at least would’ve had the Casablanca Sleeve that would’ve looked something like the above picture…If I find any singles out there with that sleeve I will buy it (regardless if it is Kiss or not just so I have the correct one).
By 1978, Kiss had reached the peak of stardom. Kiss was flying high and a couple members were too. Trouble was brewing and most especially with Ace Frehley and Peter Criss. From what I have read, they both wanted to do solo albums, but the band needed to keep the train rolling. So Bill Aucoin and others came up with a strategy to help keep the peace. The entire band would each do a solo album and they would all be released at the same time on the same day, however, they would be under the Kiss umbrella. Brilliant or Stupid was still yet to be seen. No band had ever attempted this prior or since and probably for good reason.
Each member had to find their own producer, their own musicians as no one in the band played on the other persons record. All the albums came out on the same day, September 18, 1978. To help promote the Solo albums, the label released the ‘Best of Solo Albums’, but only overseas. To this day, there is no U.S. release of this album. To top that off, there was never a CD release of this album either. If you find one on CD, it is not legit.
‘The Best of Solo Albums’ takes three songs from each of the members with Ace Frehley and Peter Criss on Side One and Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley on Side Two. It is hard to say if these are the best 3 songs of each member especially if Peter’s and Gene’s weren’t the best of the bunch, but I have to say it is still a great set. It is enough to whet your whistle and determine which ones you need to buy. If you didn’t know, the answer is all of them!! You want the posters. So buy all of them.
My copy is actually a rather current re-issue from 2019 and it is on a beautiful Black & Silver & White Splatter vinyl. It is a limited edition on 180g and if you look at the logo, you can tell it is the German Edition as they have to change the style of their logo to normal SS so it doesn’t look like the Nazi SS army. The album looks beautiful just look at the picture above. I think this is the first German Edition I have on any of their albums. And if you want to look at the attention to detail, look at the back cover and notice they changed all the SS on them as well.
Now, let’s get to the songs…
The album opens with Ace’s songs and a cover song, “New York Groove”, by the band Hello and written by Russ Ballard. This was the single off the album and became a massive hit for Ace and really became his signature song. Ace knew Russ from when Kiss opened for Argent back in the day and has worked with Russ numerous times since. For Ace, this is a personal Anthem since he is from New York and he helped perpetuate the myth that he wrote the song even though we know he didn’t. Ace’s version has some differences from the original including the hand-clapping sound of the original was more of a foot-stomping sound and the harmonica riff was replaced by guitar…well duh. With surprisingly no guitar solo like you would expect with Ace, the song kept relatively close to the original. It is a wonderful tune and the biggest hit of all the solo albums going to #13 on the Billboard charts. This must have driven Gene crazy!!!
The opening track on the album and the second one here, “Rip It Out”, is bombastic and has a massive sound. Guitar riffs galore and a drum sound by Anton Fig that was so huge and filled the song with the punch it needed. It is my favorite drum sound on any of the Kiss albums until Creatures comes along with Eric Carr. Not to be overshadowed, Ace lays down a classic solo and opens the album like none of the other albums had been done. Ace threw down the gauntlet and showed that He is someone to be noticed!
“Speedin’ Back to My Baby” is more guitar, guitar and then some guitar! Eddie Kramer is bringing out the best of Ace both vocally and that guitar. Not only does the song open with a solo, there is another solo in the middle with a cool break right before it. It is like solo on top of solo. The song’s energy matches the title. The song was co-written by Ace and Jeanette Frehley which I guess he was speedin’ back to her.
“You Matter to Me” is up first for Peter feels more disco than anything with the keyboards. Written by Vini Poncia, John Vastano, Michael Morgan, it is one of the few songs Peter doesn’t have a hand in writing. With Vini writing it, I am not surprised by the sound and style as you will see that more and more with the next two Kiss studio albums for which he produces. This was the first single on his album and never charted.
“Tossin’ and Turnin’” is up next and it is the only true cover song on the album originally done by Bobby Lewis back in 1961. It is more of a rocker with some R&B tendencies and it fits Peter’s gritty vocal style. He feels more at home with this one and the drum work is not bad either along with the saxophone break.
For Peter’s final song we get a song that I thought was a cover called “Hooked on Rock & Roll” which was written by Peter and Stan Penridge. With Steve Lukather on guitar and the whole feel of the song, I would swear it would be something Chuck Berry could’ve done or any of those early rockers. The song fits Peter’s vocals so might be a keeper.
Side Two opens with the song “Radioactive” which was written by Gene Simmons, as was all but 2 songs on his album. This song was the only single from the album and it has Joe Perry (Aerosmith) on guitar, Eric Troyer (ELO) on piano, Allan Schwartzberg (Mountain) on drums and Bob Seger on backing vocals. A pretty stellar line-up. The song opens with a prelude that is very evil, sinister and demonesque which was filled with string orchestration and it cuts away to the song. The prelude was removed from the single if you were interested that little fact. The song doesn’t really match the intro as it is fun and upbeat compared to the evil that came before. It is straight-up rock song that probably leans a little more pop friendly. A good song all on its own.
“Mr. Make Believe” is another unexpected song from Gene that works so well. With this album we are seeing a softer side of Gene that I am sure no one expected. This song is pieced together from two demos, one called “One More Chance” and the other “Mr. Make Believe”. They took the best of both and created a simply beautiful ballad. You get the verses from “One More Chance” and the chorus of “Mr. Make Believe”. Both are on ‘The Vault’. If you listen to this one, you can hear the early British pop influence on the song. One of his best.
Now we get a song we’ve heard before on a prior Kiss album called “See You in Your Dreams”. Gene wasn’t happy with the original version on ‘Rock & Roll Over’. The biggest difference on this is the backing vocals are the women from the Group with No Name who are Katy Sagal, Gordon Grody, Diva Gray, Franny Eisenberg and Carolyn Ray . The Kiss version rocks out a lot more and is better in my opinion so not sure a remake was necessary at all. Plus, the song gets a little too repetitive for my liking.
“Tonight You Belong to Me” comes at you with an acoustic guitar and Paul singing so lovely and softly in what you think is a ballad before the song explodes with a killer Kiss sounding riff and heavy drums and a full band with tempo sped up and Paul’s vocals just soaring. If you remember from earlier posts, Bob Kulick was the guitarist that auditioned for Kiss and was right before Ace came in and took the job. Bob is back on this song and actually does all the solos but one song on Stanley’s album. And he does brilliantly.
“Move On” keeps the party rolling with a song about a parent that is advising their child to move on and explore lots of women. With wonderful backing vocals by Diana Grasselli, Miriam Naomi Vale, and Maria Vidal, more slick work from Bob, the song is another rocker with a little soul vibe thrown in with those backing vocals.
“Hold Me, Touch Me” is a pretty sappy and sugary sweet song, almost enough to give you a cavity. A piano intro opens the song, Paul sings sweetly and the song is layered with orchestration. It is a little over the top, but it works just the same. Paul actually does all the guitar work on this one which isn’t a ton, mostly the solo. The heavy lifting comes from Doug Katsaros on the piano and string sounds with Craig Krampf on drums.
If you are a Kiss Collector, this is a must as you need to have at least one of every release they have done. I am getting closer to completing that quest. Only a handful more to go. I like the fact they give each member equal billing with 3 songs each and they are really all great songs, might not have been my choices, but good nonetheless. If you see this grab it, it is worth the dough. I got lucky and KissOnline.com was running a sale and it was only around $22 plus shipping. Can’t beat that. My Overall Score is 4.5 Out of 5.0 Stars as like I said, I might’ve picked some different tracks that better represent each member. Otherwise, it is perfect.
In my quest to get as many Kiss Bootleg’s I can, I found this one in a local record store, new and sealed. And cheap. This is actually an easy one to get if you are collecting Kiss Bootlegs. I think I paid $25 for it. There is nothing really special about this one, no inserts, no picture sleeves and no surprised in the package like I have received in a lot of my bootlegs. This one is rather generic. For historical reasons though, it is pretty cool. The recording is an FM Broadcast from April 18, 1974 in Memphis, TN at the Lafayette Music Room and is one of the earliest recordings of the band.
Soundwise…well…let’s just say there is sound. This is a recording off a radio broadcast on to a tape. That tape was then copied, which was then copied, which was then copied, which was then copied and keep going for another dozen copies. There is a massive tape drag at several points during the show which slows the song down and it is quite noticeable. That proves that the source material was from an old tape that had been copied many times. Yes, the sound sucks at times and might be on the low end of some of my bootlegs, but I am still okay with it and because I collect them I will buy regardless.
After just finishing the Kiss Review Series, I have come to realize I have a ton of posts that are about Kiss. I figured (thanks to the help of Mike Ladano) that putting all the links to every Kiss Post in one post might be convenient for the readers of this site. I have everything from Album Reviews, to Book Reviews, to Concert Reviews to almost anything you can think of, I’ve probably written about it. And the good thing is, I will continue to have Kiss Posts as I find more vinyl I don’t have in my collection, more videos, more books, more bootlegs, more tour books and more of well…Kiss. So, I will continually be updating this post with the latest Kiss posts. You might want to bookmark this page for easy reference.
As of right now there are 155 Posts of Kiss…This might take you a while to go through so sit back, grab some coffee and enjoy!!
We are finally to the end of the Kiss Review Series. And like I like to do at the end of each series is Rank the Studio Albums from Worst to First and we aren’t going to do it any differently here. There are 24 Studio albums and since there are so many, I am keeping the summaries brief and no videos as I usually like to post a video with each album, but just way too many to do this time around.
Kiss began in 1973 and are still around today, but the last studio album was in 2012. It started with the original four – Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons, Peter Criss and Ace Frehley. Then came Eric Carr who replaced Peter Criss; then Vinnie Vincent who replaced Ace Frehley; then Mark St. John to replace Vinnie and then Bruce Kulick replaced Mark; and it continues with Eric Singer replacing Eric Carr after his death and then Peter & Ace came back in and out after the reunion and then finally Tommy Thayer replaced Ace for good. Lots of changes, but Gene and Paul are always the consistent formula that has kept Kiss “Alive” all these years. For the diehard fan, remember, this is my opinion and your favorites are probably going to be different, but it is okay as we both love Kiss. For the newbie, this is a good guideline on where to focus.
Now, if the band ever decides to do another Studio album, I will gladly come back and update this, but it doesn’t look like that will ever happen. If you want to check out the review of each album in detail, there are links at the bottom to all the reviews in the series and there were only 72 of them!! It took me almost 14 months to get through them all and it is still the most fun I have had on the site.
Thanks for spending all this time with me going through the Kiss catalog and my Kiss collection. I hope you enjoyed it. Enough chit chat as there is a lot to get through so sit back, grab a coffee or a beer and enjoy!!
By this time in the Kiss World, things are kind of boring. There are no more studio albums and doesn’t look like there will ever be. The band is touring regularly meaning they are basically doing Summer Tours with another Big Named Band. And for their 40th, that Big Name Band was none other than Def Leppard…yes, I saw that show and Leppard was freaking fantastic and Kiss was good. But it was still exciting because the band was celebrating their 40th Anniversary (which was really 2013 if I’m not mistaken)…regardless, it was time for the band to release another Greatest Hits Compilation…yes…just what we needed!! That is supposed to be very sarcastic so if you could read as such, that would be great!!
They did make this compilation a little interesting. Being the 40th Anniversary, they picked one song…and I mean only 1 song…from each and every album release they have had over the years. That means, that picked a song from all studio albums, including the solo albums, they picked one from every live album and every greatest hits package and every box set. How many bands can say when they pick one song from every release they can have 40 songs…probably none. And actually they couldn’t either. There were 4 extra songs added to get to the 40 and we will talk about that later.
Not every song was the album version though. They did throw in some Single Mixes such as “I Was Made for Loving You” from Dynasty, Radio Edits like “Jungle” from Carnival of Souls, an edited version of “Shout It Out Loud” from Alive II and an edited version of “Psycho Circus’ from Psycho Circus that had the beginning instrumental piece edited out. They weren’t all the cookie cutter songs straight off the release.
This time around, we have a little bonus edition for you. There is no dramatic story behind this release, it is simple a way to give the fans something kind of cool and the band a little more money. There are no new songs or remixes, these are all songs you already have in some way shape or form. On November 13, 2012, Kiss released the box set, ‘The Casablanca Singles 1974-1982’ collection. It houses all 29 singles the band released on Casablanca Records. They have all been digitally remastered and given some very collectible sleeves from the original single releases from around the world.
Now, this is not going to be review of each song, been there done that with all of the album reviews. No, this is going to be a picture review of the entire box set. You are going to see everything there is to see in this box set. There are over 90 pictures so sit back and enjoy. We will do them in order of each album, but first we will start with the box set itself and the booklet. I hope you enjoy…
The box set is literally housed in a box. There is a flap on the side you open and all the singles and booklet slide right in. It is nice and sturdy. There is a cool effect on the front where the box there is an empty space with a fiery red, orange and yellow swirled backing that gives the Kiss logo its fiery appearance. The box also has an etched metal plaque engraved with the name “The Casablanca Singles 1974-1982 Limited Edition”. But here is the big question…What’s in the Box??