KamerTunesBlog

Revisiting my extensive music collection, one artist at a time

Forty Year Friday – Introduction / KISS “LOVE GUN” AND “ALIVE II”

I had so much fun revisiting my favorite albums of 1986 for Thirty Year Thursday last year that I’ve decided to do something similar in 2017. This time I’m turning back the clock even further…way back to 1977…for a series I’m
Richie K as Peter Criss (Oct. 1977)
calling Forty Year Friday. That was the year I turned 11 and, even though I was already obsessed with music, I didn’t yet have the disposable income necessary to build a record collection. Instead, I mainly focused on one band (the subject of this post and the photo to the right will make that clear) but continued listening to Top 40 radio (which was really good, and diverse, back then) and buying 7” singles whenever I fell in love with a song. I discovered most of the albums I’ll feature in this series when I was older so, unlike last year, I won’t have many recollections of hearing this music at the time beyond the radio hits. In spite of the fact that three of my favorite artists (Led Zeppelin, The Who and The Rolling Stones) didn’t release studio albums in 1977, it’s still one of my favorite years of music, with dozens of classics that have stood the test of time. I may need to skip a week from time to time, but I look forward to discussing these records with you on most Fridays throughout 2017.

 
Artist: KISS
Albums: LOVE GUN and ALIVE II

kiss-love-gunI don’t remember the first time I became aware of KISS, but I believe my obsession began after their appearance on the Paul Lynde Halloween Special on ABC in 1976. Like many young men of my generation (and possibly a few young ladies), the makeup, costumes, stage show and sing-along rock ‘n roll were irresistible. I didn’t know it at the time, but their combination of melody, aggressive hard rock and showmanship pointed me in the direction of the musical greats who came before them. I’ll always be grateful to them for that influence, but it wouldn’t mean much if they didn’t write good songs. Fortunately that was never an issue, and they were still delivering the goods on their sixth studio album, Love Gun. There are highlights aplenty: Paul Stanley’s “I Stole Your Love” & “Love Gun,” Gene Simmons’ rhyming duo (“Plaster Caster” & “Christine Sixteen”) & “Almost Human” and Ace Frehley’s lead vocal debut, “Shock Me.” Their cover of the The Crystals’ “Then He Kissed Me” (re-titled as “Then She Kissed Me”), while not essential, was my introduction to the wall-of-sound production of original producer & co-writer Phil Spector. I distinctly remember saving up just enough money to buy Love Gun on the day of release but, unfortunately, the list price was a dollar higher than most new releases and I came home empty-handed. Then my friend’s mother lent me the money and I triumphantly returned to the store. I probably played the album every day that summer and I still love hearing it 40 years later.

kiss-alive-ii1975’s double-LP Alive! essentially launched their career after three under-the-radar studio albums, so it’s unsurprising that they repeated the formula after their next three records with Alive II, released just four months after Love Gun. We insatiable fans couldn’t have been more excited to have three album sides of live renditions (with lots of studio sweetening) of recent songs like “Detroit Rock City,” “Calling Dr. Love,” “I Want You,” “Beth,” “Shout It Out Loud,” “I Want You” and “God Of Thunder.” The latter once had me inadvertently swallow a mouthful of ketchup as I attempted to “spit blood” like my demonic fire-breathing hero, Gene Simmons. As if 15 live tracks weren’t enough, we were treated to 5 new studio recordings on Side 4. Only one of these, “Rocket Ride,” featured Ace Frehley on guitar (and vocals), a fact most of us wouldn’t learn until years later, but we didn’t care who was behind the scenes as long as our four superheroes appeared on the front cover and in that incredible inner gatefold shot of them on stage. Of the other new tracks, Stanley’s “All American Man” and Simmons’ “Larger Than Life” are the other standouts for me.

kiss-alive-ii-inside-gatefold
I strongly urge you to check out these other viewpoints from two of my favorite blogs:
https://keepsmealive.wordpress.com/2016/10/18/kiss-love-gun/
https://mikeladano.com/2012/07/11/review-kiss-love-gun-1977/
https://mikeladano.com/2012/07/12/review-kiss-alive-ii-1978/

Also, here’s a NSFW (not suitable for work) clip about Kiss and “Love Gun” from the hilarious movie Role Models:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L5IUj42fL58

So, who else was similarly impacted by KISS at the time, and how many of you didn’t get into them until years later? I’m always curious to hear how certain albums stack up for people who came to them at different times.

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125 comments on “Forty Year Friday – Introduction / KISS “LOVE GUN” AND “ALIVE II”

  1. DanicaPiche
    January 6, 2017

    Wonderful new series, Rich! I especially like that photo. 🙂
    I’m not familiar with all the KISS discography but what I know of them I really like. Their talent, in terms of musical as well as theatrical ability, is impressive and holds up next to any artist today. I really should explore further….

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Danica. I’m glad you like the photo of 11-year-old Rich(ie) as Peter Criss. Somewhere I have a photo of me in that makeup behind my drums but I couldn’t find it.

      As important as each Kiss album was to me when I was growing up, I think you could probably do well with one of their compilations. Their first one, Double Platinum, is a great way to catch up on everything up through 1978, but I’m sure there are others on the market that might give a fuller picture of their career. A lot of my friends continue to dismiss Kiss, putting down their musicianship and undervaluing their songwriting, but they’re missing out on a lot of great music. I think you’ll find a lot to like in their discography.

      Liked by 1 person

      • DanicaPiche
        January 6, 2017

        I remember you mentioning that photo behind the drum kit a while back — if you find it please share, Richie. 🙂

        That’s good to know about their compilations, thank you. I’ll look into Double Platinum. They’re a massive collective talent and people who dismiss them are missing out.

        I’m also happy with the year you’ve selected and looking forward to upcoming installments. If I had to choose one decade and only one for music it would be the 70’s. And yes, I’ve heard some dissenting views on that. 😉

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      • You have a better memory than me. I don’t remember discussing my photos as Peter Criss. Have I already included this photo in a previous post?

        You nailed it on the head with “massive collective talent.” None of them are world-class players but the combination of their talents made them special. It helped that they’re very good songwriters.

        The ’70s are also my favorite decade of music. The cream really rose to the top in most cases, and there are also tons of lesser-known artists & albums that deserved a better fate. I guess the same could be said of any decade, but across the board I think there are more stone-cold classics from the ’70s than any other decade (although the stylistic grounds covered in the second half of the ’60s will never be duplicated).

        Liked by 1 person

      • DanicaPiche
        January 6, 2017

        You mentioned it in a comment…I’m trying to remember if it was a comment on your blog or someone else’s….

        Songwriting probably appeals to me above other musical talents, if only by a small margin, and that’s likely because I’m not a musician.

        That’s an excellent point about the second half of the 60’s and now that I think of some album that were released in that time period it makes that decision a bit tougher.

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      • I’m with you re: songwriting. Sure, I love listening to jazz & fusion for the musicianship, but the albums that hold up the best are usually the ones with the best songs. “Don’t bore us, get to the chorus.” Whoever came up with that phrase was onto something.

        Liked by 1 person

      • DanicaPiche
        January 6, 2017

        BTW – No, you haven’t already included this photo in previous posts…not that I’ve seen anyway.

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      • Phew. That’s good to know. The day I can’t remember what I’ve posted before is the day I’ll have to consider quitting the blogging game.

        Liked by 1 person

      • DanicaPiche
        January 7, 2017

        I can see how it could happen after a certain number of blog posts….

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      • That’s true. It’s the same with having a large record collection. For a long time I was proud of the fact that I never inadvertently bought an album I already owned, but once my collection expanded to 5,000+ titles it happened…and then it happened a couple more times over the next couple of years. All of this in spite of the fact that I have a spreadsheet with everything I own and I update it regularly.

        Liked by 1 person

      • DanicaPiche
        January 7, 2017

        That’s actually pretty good, only inadvertently buying duplicates a few times in a collection of 5,000+ titles. Could you save a document to your phone and do a quick search before a purchase?

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      • My collection is now 8,000+ and it’s been several years since I duplicated anything. Since there are fewer stores to shop at the risk of doing that is much lower now. Most of my shopping is done online and when I’m in a store I don’t make impulse purchases like I used to.

        Liked by 1 person

      • DanicaPiche
        January 7, 2017

        That’s impressive, Rich! You have a memory like a steel trap. 🙂
        It’s too bad that there a fewer storefronts. I purchased some music online recently. It was the first time I’ve bought digital tracks…I dislike what the digital format has done to the album, but that’s another story… The purchase was very quick and efficient. But, the storefront experience is better. Maybe it’s the conversations that happen.

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      • I worked at three record stores over a 5-year period in the ’80s, and that experience was amazing. I loved connecting with other music fans, and I always enjoyed shopping at local stores and conversing with their staffs. That aspect barely exists anymore, and when it does it’s often the clerks trying to show off their knowledge of obscure music. Kind of like “High Fidelity.”

        Just to clarify, my online purchases are for physical product only. I can’t bring myself to pay for a download. I need something in my hands if I’m paying money for it. I do enjoy Spotify, though. It’s worth $9.99 per month.

        Liked by 1 person

      • DanicaPiche
        January 7, 2017

        Yes, I wonder if that experience will ever return? You’re right about the staff and store clerks. The best conversations I’ve had in recent times has been with other customers. I know your purchases are for physical products only and I completely understand that preference. My foray into digital format is fairly recent and the quality is definitely inferior. I consider it a temporary measure as my current music listening is on devices. I’ve used Spotify but haven’t subscribed. (Yet? Lol)
        Right now, I’m considering an online subscription to Esquire — yes, the men’s magazine. I’m particularly interested in their fiction archives. They’re one of the few magazines that publish short story fiction.

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      • Danica, are you saying you chat with fellow customers at stores, or do you work at a store and you’re the clerk?

        I wasn’t aware of that feature at Esquire. I think I’ve only perused it a couple of times. Not surprised you’re drawn to short stories since you’re so good at writing them.

        Liked by 1 person

      • DanicaPiche
        January 7, 2017

        I’m referring to chats I’ve had with fellow customers at stores, I don’t work ar a store…being surrounded by music all day seems like a pretty good job though. 🙂 Yes, I didn’t realize that Esquire put all of their archives online, including fiction. It does make sense and I’m sure most publications have done the same.

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      • Consider yourself lucky not to be working in retail. It was fun for me as a teenager but the general public can be awful, especially at the holidays. I don’t miss those days other than the conversations with real music lovers.

        Liked by 1 person

      • DanicaPiche
        January 7, 2017

        That’s a good point. Maybe so many teenagers are hired for those types of positions because the general public tends to be a little more polite to them.

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      • I don’t remember people being polite to me. I just had more tolerance for idiots back then. 😛

        Liked by 1 person

      • DanicaPiche
        January 8, 2017

        Haha! Kids might be more tolerant that way. Maybe their perspectives and realities are so far removed from all the old people of the world that what happens at a retail (or similar) job doesn’t get under their skin….

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      • I also wonder if it’s a generational thing, since young store clerks seem less approachable & knowledgeable than they used to be. Or that could just be my inner curmudgeon talking. I do notice that clerks are much friendlier here in the south than they were in New York, so maybe it’s a regional thing.

        Liked by 1 person

      • DanicaPiche
        January 8, 2017

        I think that’s true about less knowledge and approachability. It’s probably a combination of genuine lack of knowledge and hiring based on other criteria — and lack of training is a big one.

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      • That’s because the less knowledgeable sales people from a few years ago are now managers & hiring people just like them. It’s a vicious cycle.

        Liked by 1 person

      • DanicaPiche
        January 8, 2017

        That’s a good point! This deficiency probably contributes to reduced in-store sales…further adding to the vicious cycle.

        Liked by 1 person

      • DanicaPiche
        January 7, 2017

        Oh, and yes, I’m starting to seek out short stories as a result of writing them… I’m sure there’s a lot I could learn. 🙂

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      • It’s always good to seek out new sources of inspiration. I hope you find them at Esquire and elsewhere.

        Liked by 1 person

      • DanicaPiche
        January 7, 2017

        I agree! I picked up a paper copy of some Esquire-published fiction today… I’ll probably make my way to the full online archive soon!

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      • Their online archive sounds like a very enjoyable rabbit hole for you to burrow your way into.

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      • DanicaPiche
        January 7, 2017

        Thanks also for the wonderful compliment, Rich! Sorry for my fragmented messages but my phone app is unreliable…and possibly possessed….

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      • I hope only your app is possessed and not your phone. That could lead to a lot of problems. 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      • DanicaPiche
        January 7, 2017

        Oh I hadn’t thought of that! It could be my phone! All that devil’s music I’ve been playing might be dangerous….

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      • Haha. I love the idea that “devil’s music” (like Kiss?) might have possessed your phone. Good luck finding a digital exorcist.

        Liked by 1 person

      • DanicaPiche
        January 8, 2017

        Yes, exactly! Haha. 🙂 How would one go about a digital exorcism? Hmm….

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      • You could try a Google search for “digital exorcism” but if your phone is possessed I wouldn’t trust the results. Keep me posted on the status. Haha.

        Liked by 1 person

      • DanicaPiche
        January 8, 2017

        The results are: “Phone Call Interrupts African Exorcism” and “Priest receiving text message from Devil after performing exorcism” — haha. 🙂 Search was safely conducted on a different device.

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      • DanicaPiche
        January 8, 2017

        Oh, I realize I didn’t answer one of your questions… I first started listening to Kiss as a result of your blog, as well as Mike’s. I’d probably heard some of their songs here and there before but never paid them much attention.

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      • Good to know that Mike & I could help introduce you to Kiss’ discography. I think their image & reputation has probably kept a lot of potential fans away, but the songs speak for themselves.

        Liked by 1 person

      • DanicaPiche
        January 8, 2017

        The songs definitely speak for themselves. I don’t think their image or reputation kept me away; I didn’t know much about them. I was probably just paying attention to other music and didn’t get the exposure.

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      • One of the great things about Kiss is that they wear their influences on their sleeves, so there are elements of artists like The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, The Rolling Stones, Rod Stewart and (thanks to “I Was Made For Loving”) every disco artist of the mid-to-late-’70s throughout their discography. For me, being there near the beginning, it gave me avenues to explore. For people coming to them later on, there’s going to be at least something you already like within their music.

        Liked by 1 person

      • DanicaPiche
        January 8, 2017

        They definitely have a rich and varied sound. Rod Steward, though, I don’t hear it. Maybe I haven’t paid close enough attention to his music. It would have been really interesting to come to their music as they were writing and releasing it.

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      • Check out “Hard Luck Woman” with Peter Criss on vocals and you’ll hear the Rod Stewart influence. It’s a great song.

        Liked by 1 person

      • DanicaPiche
        January 8, 2017

        Wow, that’s almost exactly the same sound! I can’t unhear now…. BTW – did Peter Criss write that one?

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      • I thought you might hear the similarity. The song was written by Paul Stanley. I think I once read that he wrote it for Rod Stewart but after Kiss had a hit with “Beth” (with Criss’ sandpaper vocals) they decided to keep it for themselves.

        Liked by 1 person

      • DanicaPiche
        January 9, 2017

        That was a good choice! How much singing did Criss do? I’m familiar with “Beth” and had some discussions about it, I believe on Mike’s blog… is that Criss on vocals?

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      • Yep, that’s Criss on “Beth.” Off the top of my head, I know he sang co-lead on “Nothin’ To Lose” and “Black Diamond” plus lead vocals on “Baby Driver,” “Hooligan” and at least two or three other songs on the early albums. Most of these were forgotten album tracks but a few of them became concert staples for them.

        Liked by 1 person

      • DanicaPiche
        January 9, 2017

        Really…I need a minute with this information. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • DanicaPiche
        January 9, 2017

        I didn’t realize his singing was so emotive. His voice made the song “Beth” a hit. The songwriting is outstanding, but the voice really captures it.

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      • I agree about Criss’ “emotive” singing. In many ways he was their secret weapon. I wonder if the other guys were ever jealous of the fact that he sang on their biggest hit. I’m sure the jealousy was more than offset by the money that was pouring in.

        Liked by 1 person

      • DanicaPiche
        January 10, 2017

        Yes, absolutely, and it’s surprising they didn’t use their secret weapon more. When “Beth” was such a runaway hit, why not try more with him on vocals? Obviously, people liked it. There might have been some of the “he’s just the drummer” thinking going on. I wonder how much money that track made?

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      • I’m not sure if Kiss considered Criss their secret weapon but they probably should have. It’s not like he had a particularly great voice but it worked extremely well on certain types of songs. On their last few ’70s albums with him, I thought most of his songs were kinda weak compared to what he did on the earlier records. That’s a good question about how much money they made from “Beth.” Other than the licensing money they’ve gotten from songs like “Rock & Roll All Night,” “Beth” has probably generated the most money simply from record sales.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Alyson (WIAA,A?)
    January 6, 2017

    A new series! – I almost started a “Fifty” Year Friday series myself but was worried you might think I had copied your idea from last year. Phew – just as well I decided to stick with the random approach. I was a bit older than you in 1977 but that was my peak year probably in terms of hours/day spent listening to music and can still remember all the chart stuff from that year. Will be interested to see what your picks are. Kiss not necessarily for me but you would probably be surprised if they were considering what I tend to write about. Enjoy the new series.

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    • Thanks, Alyson. There’s enough room on the internet…and in the blogosphere…to have more than one of us writing about the same topic. I considered doing Fifty Year Fifty this year since there was so much great new music in ’67, but ’77 was more in my wheelhouse. I hope we find some common ground throughout this series. I don’t think there will be too many surprises but I will cover a lot of musical ground. Just don’t expect to see too much punk. I’m more of a melody & harmony guy.

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      • Alyson (WIAA,A?)
        January 6, 2017

        Actually I am a melody and harmony gal myself although in 1977 all our boyfriends were really into punk so we kind of had to be as well! Happy memories though.

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      • I’m sure it wasn’t cool to admit you liked melody & harmony (and musicianship) in the punk era, but that’s what endures. I’m glad our conversation triggered happy memories for you. I expect the same will happen for me throughout this series. That’s why I’m so excited about time-traveling back to 1977 every week.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Phillip Helbig
    January 6, 2017

    “In spite of the fact that three of my favorite artists (Led Zeppelin, The Who and The Rolling Stones) didn’t release studio albums in 1977, it’s still one of my favorite years of music, with dozens of classics that have stood the test of time.”

    One could even argue that it was the best year in music ever. Rush’s A Farewell to Kings and Jethro Tull’s Songs From the Wood alone almost make it good enough to qualify. (This also demonstrates that there was much good music still being made, despite the press focussing on punk in London.)

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    • I haven’t broken down albums by year but ’77 would have to be in the mix for best years ever. You could argue almost any year between 1965 & 1980. If I had to pick a favorite year it would need to include Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, The Who & The Stones, so the honor might have to go to ’71 or ’73. This is a good subject for a blog series. Not mine, of course. 😀

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  4. Jeff Kempin
    January 6, 2017

    All right! A new series by one of my favorite bloggers featuring my favorite decade, the 70’s…well, 1977, a great year for music? Sold!

    I own both these albums along with Hotter Than Hell and the first Alive album and while I’m not a huge Kiss fan, I like their costumes and makeup and theatrics and they are pretty good rockers. The Alive albums really do it for me and whenever I want to clear my head and just rock out, I can put those albums on and everything feels better for awhile.

    Glad to see you back for the new year and looking forward to some great music ahead!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Jeff. I’m glad we’ll be on the same page for this series. I’m really excited about tackling my favorites from ’77. I doubt there will be many surprises but every week should feature another classic…or a hidden gem that should be considered a classic.

      I’m surprised to hear that you only own a handful of Kiss albums. I always thought fans were all-in or nothing. They were so important to me for so many reasons, mostly as a launching pad to all of the artists that inspired them. The majority of their songs from the ’70s have held up extremely well for me.

      Looking forward to some fun conversations in 2017. Hope your year is off to a great start.

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      • Jeff Kempin
        January 6, 2017

        The Kiss albums were given to me by people who wanted to get rid of their collections and they knew I was a vinyl collector. I guess I should have been more clear. But after listening to them, I liked them, but didn’t feel the need to go out and get more. And then my wife came along and she had some Kiss on CD, so I’m covered when it comes to Kiss! Lol.

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      • Okay, now it makes sense. I’m glad you got as many Kisses from your wife as you did from your friends. 😀 (Sorry, I couldn’t resist)

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  5. 1537
    January 6, 2017

    Happy New Year Rich!

    I’m an agnostic here I’m afraid, I really can’t see the appeal of KISS beyond a great image and a handful of really good tunes spread across their whole career. I’ve never thought any of their musical chops were particularly outstanding, or their songwriting – I’m not trying to be argumentative, but I genuinely just don’t get what the fuss was/is about.

    I also know this pretty much puts me in a field of 1, out of all of us rock bloggers.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Joe. I know that Kiss is an acquired taste, and sometimes it’s a matter of you-had-to-be-there-at-the-time, so I’m never surprised to learn that someone doesn’t like their music. I agree that their musical chops weren’t anything special but they were stronger than the sum of their parts, and they had two really strong lead vocalists. Plus, there was the makeup, costumes, fire & blood. What more do you need? 😀

      I hope we find some common ground as this series progresses.

      Liked by 1 person

      • 1537
        January 7, 2017

        Do you know Starz at all?

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      • I think I heard Starz’s debut album once but don’t remember much about it. Should I go back & check them out?

        Liked by 1 person

      • 1537
        January 7, 2017

        Definitely, if you get the time – the debut is the weaker of their first three LPs, I think. A greatest hits would do the job just fine.

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      • Will do. I’ve been enjoying Spotify, much to my amazement, as a means to follow up on conversations like this. Hopefully there’s some Starz music on their site.

        Liked by 1 person

      • 1537
        January 7, 2017

        This might work:

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      • Thanks. I found a Ten Best collection but this one looks better. Will check it out soon.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. 80smetalman
    January 6, 2017

    Seven inch singles, you mean 45s right? That’s what we called them back in the day. I was 16 in 1977 and it only was the previous summer that I discovered that there was music outside of commercial radio. Like you, I found KISS was a good place to start.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Phillip Helbig
      January 6, 2017

      I think the “seven inches” comes from thinking too deeply (geddit?) about the real meaning of “Love Gun”. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      • Haha…well played, Phillip. Were you able to watch the video I linked at the bottom of the post from the movie Role Models? If you haven’t seen it, I think you’ll enjoy it.

        Like

      • 80smetalman
        January 7, 2017

        Love it, LMAO!

        Like

      • Phillip Helbig
        January 9, 2017

        “Were you able to watch the video I linked at the bottom of the post from the movie Role Models?”

        Yes, thanks!

        Liked by 1 person

    • Yep, we called them 45s too, but I thought “seven inch singles” would translate better in writing. I’m pleased to know that Kiss was a musical launch pad for you as well. Rock on!

      Liked by 1 person

      • 80smetalman
        January 7, 2017

        Oh yes, I know what you mean about calling them 7 inch singles in today’s world. While KISS was a springboard, it didn’t last very long. Unfortunately, I was going through a religious patch in my late teens and I bought that crap that KISS was an anagram for Knights in Satan’s Service. So, I didn’t bother with them after that until “Creatures of the Night.”

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      • Very interesting how your religious patch affected your appreciation of Kiss. Considering the band was fronted by two “nice Jewish boys,” it’s amazing how wrong people were about them. Iron Maiden had to deal with the same kind of thing (in spite of the fact that I don’t think any of them are Jewish 😀 ).

        Liked by 1 person

      • 80smetalman
        January 7, 2017

        A lot of bands in the 80s had to endure that nonsense. I’ll be posting more about it as my journey through the 80s continues.

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      • At least it didn’t hurt Kiss and Maiden with sales & concert tickets, but I’m guessing other artists weren’t as fortunate. I’ll keep checking your blog, as always, for updates on this subject.

        Liked by 1 person

      • 80smetalman
        January 7, 2017

        Twisted Sister, Black Sabbath, Dio, Judas Priest and Ozzy were a few of those targeted by the religious zealots as being Satanic. I don’t think any of them suffered on account of this.

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      • What about WASP?

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      • 80smetalman
        January 7, 2017

        Oh you can’t forget them. Like KISS, the religious nuts claimed WASP was an anagram for We Are Sexual Perverts or We Are Satan’s People. You can’t make this up.

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      • I wasn’t aware of those WASP anagrams. Ridiculous. It’s like certain people wake up seeking things to upset them. What a waste of energy.

        Liked by 1 person

      • 80smetalman
        January 8, 2017

        Agreed

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  7. mikeladano
    January 6, 2017

    There it is! The Peter Criss photo! For the record, my buddy Chris says “Nobody wants to be Peter Criss, not even Peter Criss,” which is just a line from Family Guy. He means no offense. Although I wonder if there is a smidge of truth!

    ROLE MODELS! See Ronnie? His dick is the gun!

    This is probably a bad time to tell you I’m redoing all my Kiss reviews this year 🙂

    And Then She Kissed Me is the only Kiss song I had at my wedding!

    Great stuff Rich…enjoyed this…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well, here’s proof that someone DID want to be Peter Criss. I couldn’t imagine being anyone else at the time (even though I tried acting like Gene Simmons for a while).

      Why are you re-doing your Kiss reviews? Are they outdated, have your opinions changed, or do you have newer pressings that you want to discuss?

      Interesting choice for a Kiss song at your wedding. I like it. If you ever renew your vows, you should play “I Still Love You.”

      Liked by 1 person

      • mikeladano
        January 8, 2017

        The original Kiss reviews were done 5 years ago, kind of half-heartedly. I just copied and pasted from my Amazon reviews. I want to get my Kiss reviews up to snuff with the other series I’ve done like Van Halen and Aerosmith, so I am planning a re-do of all the studio albums and major live/compilations. I’m leaving the old ones up by way of comparison because I am 100% sure SOME scores will change.

        Like

      • I give you credit for re-reviewing a catalog you’ve already covered and I’m impressed that you have the time to do so. Looking forward to seeing your updated Kiss series.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. partsocaster
    January 6, 2017

    Kiss’ Rock and Roll Over was the first album I bought with my own money, I was 9 years old. Nice post, thank you for the memory!

    Like

    • Thanks for stopping by, Kristiaan. We’re around the same age and had very similar experiences with our first albums. For me it was probably Alive! in ’76, followed by either Destroyer or Rock & Roll Over. What a glorious time to start collecting records.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. galley99
    January 6, 2017

    I didn’t get into Kiss until Lick It Up, even though my friends had all their albums. A few years ago I bought all the remastered CDs.

    Like

    • Very interesting. It’s hard to imagine not owning a Kiss album until Lick It Up. Did you already know the earlier albums via your friends, or did you not really listen to them until you got the remastered CDs. I still have my original vinyl (through Lick It Up), and I’ve got all the CDs up to Dynasty. Between those and the 5-CD box set my Kiss collection is well stocked.

      Like

      • Murphy's Law
        January 7, 2017

        I didn’t really listen to KISS musically until their comeback as a makeup-less hair metal band. I was 7/8 in 1977 and I was fascinated by the image and the trappings but the music didn’t have an effect. I never could reconcile the image and the disco sound of “I Was Made for Loving You”.

        Like

      • Wow, you might be in the minority of ’70s boys who didn’t get into Kiss although I can understand why if “I Was Made For Loving You” was one of your early exposures to their music. I loved the song (and album), but I lost interest in them soon after that…even though I continued buying their albums out of loyalty through Creatures Of The Night. Have you ever gone back & re-evaluated their ’70s recordings? A lot of them hold up extremely well.

        Like

      • galley99
        January 8, 2017

        During the late ’70s I was into music that was more pop-oriented. I got into hair metal when it became mainstream in 1983.

        Like

      • With a few exceptions I never really got into hair metal, at least once it got to the mid-’80s with bands like Poison & Warrant.

        Like

      • Phillip Helbig
        January 9, 2017

        “With a few exceptions I never really got into hair metal”

        A bit difficult, with your hairdo! 🙂

        I wear my hear short now since they became thin due to chemotherapy. I used to have long, thick, beautiful dark-red hair. I had to cut it short just as I was getting into Iron Maiden. I now try to channel my inner Bruce at concerts, but, although I’ve never been a headbanger, it would be nice if the freak flag were still there. (These days, I’d be more than happy just to have Bruce’s hairdo!)

        Like

      • Of course it was never a jealousy thing for me when it came to “hair metal.” I just thought the music was generally too fluffy for my tastes. Even though I was never a huge Guns ‘N Roses fan, I was pleased when they came along since they were so much grittier than the metal that was popular at the time. I know grunge is always cited as the death knell for hair metal but the decline started with GnR.

        Like

  10. 2loud2oldmusic
    January 6, 2017

    Great start to the series. Love Kiss so the perfect opener. Can’t wait to read the next one.

    Like

  11. Kevin
    January 6, 2017

    I was 7. My older brother bought both live albums and I couldn’t stop listening! I went from The Monkees to The Beatles to Kiss. All of those ‘live’ versions (lots and lots of overdubbing there, but so what?) were better than their studio counterparts. So many great songs, it’s hard to single out any. I’ll go with the live version of “I Stole Your Love” as a favorite – it really rocks. “Rocket Ride” might be my favorite Ace song. Love “Almost Human.” Kiss lost me after Dynasty, but that 70’s stuff is just great Rock-n-Roll.

    Like

    • They blew me away when I was 10. I can’t imagine what they did to your 7-year-old brain. I agree that the “live” versions, for the most part, have more impact than their studio counterparts. Not sure if I have a favorite, but I do know that “Parasite” was the first rock guitar riff I ever loved. I was loyal to Kiss through Creatures Of The Night but Dynasty was the last album I bought as a big fan. After that I was already expanding my musical horizons. In hindsight there’s some very good music on most of their albums, even in the ’80s & ’90s, but nothing compares to their ’70s releases.

      Like

      • Kevin
        January 6, 2017

        I then went from Kiss to Yes, ELP and King Crimson, so Kiss got left in the dust shortly after Dynasty. It’s great to go back and listen to Kiss from time to time. The songs hold up. I remember watching them reunite on Unplugged in ’96. It was really cool to see them together playing “Nothing To Lose.” 40 Year Friday gets off to a great start! Looking forward to it.

        Like

      • I did the same thing, veering off into all kinds of musical directions after I began to move on from Kiss. I felt the same way about the Unplugged performance. I hadn’t really cared about them in years but my love for their music was reinvigorated. Listening to them now is like time traveling. I’m glad you’re enjoying the series so far. I’m really excited about it.

        Like

  12. Heavy Metal Overload
    January 7, 2017

    Excited about your new series and a great couple of albums to kick off with. Love both but I worked back to them after discovering the band in the 80s.

    Like

    • Thanks, Scott. It’s interesting that you worked your way back through their catalog. I’m glad the older material held up for you in the ’80s although it shouldn’t be surprising since they still sound great to me 40 years later.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Dean Vincent Micheli
    January 7, 2017

    I’m three years older than you, but was a huge music (and KISS fan) at 14. As you know, I was at the show recorded for Alive II. Gene’s hair caught fire that night! And even though I’m a fan of quite a few of the their later albums, Love Gun is the last album that really felt like KISS. And I literally wore out my cardboard love gun that came with the album

    One minor thing, and I don’t know if it was mentioned in comments already. Love Gun was their sixth, not fifth, studio album.

    Looking forward to this series.

    Like

    • Hi Dean. Thanks for pointing out my mistake about which album Love Gun was in their discography. I rarely make errors like that and I’ve already updated it.

      If I went into more detail in this series I would have discussed the packaging, since that cardboard love gun was so important to me. I still have mine but I had to repair it with Scotch tape years ago. I think it might still work thanks to that fix.

      Once again, consider yourself very fortunate to have been there for the recording of Alive II. So awesome.

      Like

  14. Murphy's Law
    January 7, 2017

    I went back and listened to the older albums – even kept a few – the first album, Hotter than Hell, Destroyer and Alive all hold up pretty well. Creatures of the Night is good but a very different style. I think I’m one of the few people who like Music from the Elder.

    Like

    • Dean Vincent Micheli
      January 7, 2017

      It took me a while, but Music from the Elder is definitely in my top five

      Like

      • I was much less of a fan by the time Music From The Elder was released but I enjoyed it and I thought it was cool that they tried something very different than anything they had done before. Not sure I would rank it as high as you do but it is a very underrated record.

        Like

    • The first time I heard Creatures Of The Night I was at a Halloween party where I got drunk for the first time (at 16). In my drunken stupor I was convinced that “I Still Love You” was the greatest song of all time. That assessment was tempered in the cold light of day but I still think it’s one of their best, and the guitar solo is great. I don’t think that was Ace but I assumed it was him at the time.

      I think there’s a small but devoted cult of Music From The Elder fans. I’ve always enjoyed it so I guess I’m a cult member.

      Like

  15. stephen1001
    January 7, 2017

    Nice idea for a series Rich!
    Some great records from this year too. There are ‘rumours’ that this was a ‘low’ or a ‘stranger’ point in time for music, but I disagree – for many of my ‘heroes,’ their aim was true that year!

    Like

    • Thanks, Geoff. I’m fairly certain you will see most of your subtly-referenced albums in this series. I’m really excited about revisiting 1977, even more than I was for ’86 last year.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Victim of the Fury
    January 7, 2017

    I was 13 and a huge KISS fan in ’77, bought both of these within days of their release and even have that awesome Alive II stage poster hanging in my study right now. That said, even by Love Gun it was becoming uncool among my peers to still be a KISS fan. I continued with them on the down low through Unmasked but that was as far as I could take it in real time. I’ve gone back since and found enjoyment in many later albums, but it is still those 70s platters that bring the biggest smiles. I look forward to coming along for the ride this year!

    Like

    • Nice to know you were a couple of years older than me but just as much of a Kiss fan at the time. I’m sure that Alive II stage poster looks fantastic. It makes me smile every time I see it. I continued with them a few albums beyond Unmasked but I had already been losing interest by then. It must be a certain age we hit when we moved on to other artists. Isn’t it great, though, how we still enjoy going back to those classic ’70s albums four decades later? I think it’s more than nostalgia; they’re simply great records.

      Like

  17. Tangled Up In Music
    January 8, 2017

    Nice! ’77 was the year of punk with Clash’s debut, Ramones’ Leave Home and Rocket to Russia, Heartbreakers’ LAMF etc. Also Television’s Marquee Moon, one of my all-time favs. I’ve just written about the original Then He Kissed Me:

    https://tangledupinmusic.com/2017/01/08/the-crystals-then-he-kissed-me-song-review/

    Like

    • Great post on the original song, Ovidiu. I never knew the history of the artists in the Phil Spector stable so it was enlightening for me.

      I was never a huge punk fan so you’re unlikely to see many of those titles in this series, but over the years I’ve come to appreciate a lot of those albums/artists…just not quite as much as some others. I wrote a post on the Television discography a few years ago but I will likely highlight Marquee Moon here even though I’ve already covered it. I hope we find some common ground throughout this series. I know you were a lot more skeptical about ’86 last year.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Tangled Up In Music
        January 9, 2017

        Yeah, it’s true that I like ’77 a lot more than ’86. Confession time though: I’ve never heard a Kiss album. Would you recommend Love Gun as the starting point?

        Like

      • It’s hard to figure out which Kiss album would be a good entry point into their discography, since each one has its own charms. Destroyer might be the best option since it was their first collaboration with Bob Ezrin and has some of their best known songs (“Detroit Rock City,” “God Of Thunder,” Beth,” etc). If you’re not a purist about how “live” a live album is, you might be best served by Alive! and Alive II. Pretty much every important song from their first six albums is represented on those two records. Hope this helps.

        Liked by 1 person

  18. Uncle Meat
    January 8, 2017

    I was too young to know of Kiss to see the Paul Lynde special. I did however get into them in plenty of time to watch Kiss Meets the Phantom when it first aired. And that itself was like watching the fucking Pope on television. I also remember them introducing Eric Carr on a show called Kids are People Too .. and there Kiss was again on television. Such a different time. Those moments are memorable especially because of the scarcity of it at the time.

    Like

    • Sorry you missed the Paul Lynde special when it aired, since it was a touchstone moment for me & a lot of my friends. Since we didn’t have a VCR yet, I recorded Kiss Meets The Phantom Of The Park (as it was originally titled here) on audio cassette, and created my own artwork for the case. I probably listened to it once, but it seemed important at the time. There used to be a TV show called Wonderama when I was a kid that featured a song titled “Kids Are People Too.” I wonder if there’s any connection between that show from the ’70s and the one you saw with Eric Carr in the ’80s. I briefly met Eric Carr at a concert in 1983. It was the ARMS Benefit Concert featuring Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck & Jimmy Page and Eric was sitting across the aisle from me & my friend (who were 17 at the time). I think I may have just said hi & shook his hand. Seemed like a super nice guy.

      Like

  19. Pingback: Forty Year Friday – PINK FLOYD “ANIMALS” | KamerTunesBlog

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