Category: kiss

Born on this day: August 25, 1949 – Gene Simmo…

Born on this day: August 25, 1949 – Gene Simmons, bassist and vocalist of KISS (born Chaim Weitz in Tirat Carmel (Haifa), Israel). Happy 70th Birthday, Gene!!

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On this day in music history: May 23, 1979 – &…

On this day in music history: May 23, 1979 – “Dynasty”, the seventh studio album by KISS is released. Produced by Vini Poncia, it is recorded at Electric Lady Studios and The Record Plant in New York City from January – February 1979. Following up the four solo albums released by the individual band members just nine months before, it is the KISS’ first studio effort since 1977’s “Love Gun”. Giorgio Moroder is originally slated to produce the album, but has to bow out due to scheduling conflicts (he is working with Donna Summer on the “Bad Girls” album at that time). Songwriter and producer Vini Poncia, who had worked on Peter Criss’ solo album is enlisted to helm the project. Ironically, Criss has little involvement in the recording sessions, being sidelined by drug problems and injuries sustained in a car accident, playing on only one track (“Dirty Livin’). Studio drummer Anton Fig is hired to fill in, playing on the remaining tracks. The album is also supported by the bands largest and most ambitious tour to date. Though the band sees a major shift in their audience, with much younger fans in attendance which has a polarizing effect on KISS’ fan base. The album spins off two singles including disco influenced "I Was Made For Lovin’ You” (#11 Pop) and “Sure Know Something” (#47 Pop). Remastered and reissued on CD in 1997, it is reissued as a 180 gram vinyl LP in 2014, making it available in that format for the first time in twenty five years. “Dynasty” peak at number nine on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: May 20, 1980 – &…

On this day in music history: May 20, 1980 – “Unmasked”, the eighth studio album by KISS is released. Produced by Vini Poncia, it is recorded at The Record Plant in New York City from January – March 1980. Following the Platinum selling “Dynasty” album and tour, KISS again collaborate with songwriter and producer Vini Poncia (Ringo Starr, Leo Sayer), who had produced and contributed material to their previous release. Ponicia is heavily involved in the project, also co-writing eight of the new albums eleven tracks. “Unmasked” is last studio album to feature the bands original line up, though drummer Peter Criss actually has no involvement in the recording of the album. His drum parts are played by session drummer Anton Fig (uncredited), who played on the majority of the previous album “Dynasty”. Criss’ only involvement in the project is when he appears in the music video for the first single “Shandi” (#47 Pop). The drummer is fired from the band for his erratic, drug fueled behavior. It is another fifteen years before he unites with the band at a Kiss Fan Convention on June 17, 1995. Unlike previous albums, KISS does not support the album with a tour in US, with the only live performance being a one off show at The Palladium in Hollywood, CA, with Peter Criss’ replacement, drummer Eric Carr. They mount an international tour, playing Australia, France, Italy, Germany, and the UK where the project fares much better commercially. The album spins off three singles including “Talk To Me”, and “Tomorrow”. Remastered and reissued on CD in 1997, it is reissued as a 180 gram vinyl LP in 2014. “Unmasked” peaks at number thirty five on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: May 19, 1992 – “…

On this day in music history: May 19, 1992 – “Revenge”, the sixteenth studio album by KISS is released. Producer by Bob Ezrin, it is recorded at Rumbo Recorders in Canoga Park, CA, Track Records in North Hollywood, CA, Cornerstone Recorders in Chatsworth, CA, The Enterprise Studios in Burbank, CA, Acme Recording Studios in New York City, Ocean Way Recording and A&M Studios in Hollywood, CA from February 1991 – March 1992. Reuniting with veteran producer Bob Ezrin for the first time in ten years (since “Music From The Elder”), the first track KISS record with him is a cover of Argent’s “God Gave Rock & Roll To You” for the soundtrack of the film “Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey”. The album also introduces new drummer Eric Singer to the band, replacing Eric Carr who passes away in November of 1991. It spins off five rock radio hits including “Unholy” and “Domino”, becoming the bands’ first US top 10 album since “Dynasty” thirteen years before. Issued briefly on vinyl during its initial release in 1992, it is remastered and reissued as a 180 gram vinyl LP in 2014. “Revenge” peaks at number six on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: April 5, 1986 – …

On this day in music history: April 5, 1986 – “Kiss” by Prince And The Revolution hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 4 weeks, topping the Hot 100 for 2 weeks on April 19, 1986, and also topping the Club Play chart for 2 weeks on April 12, 1986. Written and produced by Prince, it is the fourth R&B and third pop chart topper for the Minneapolis, MN born singer and musician. The song is initially written for the band Mazarati in the Spring of 1985 when they ask him for material for their first album. Prince quickly writes the song on an acoustic guitar, and recording a demo in equally fast time. Working with producer David Z., they shape the skeletal demo into a fully formed track. Prince likes what they’ve done so much, that he sheepishly takes the track back, adding his lead vocals and guitar to it, but keeping Mazarati’s background vocals on the finished record. Added to the album “Parade” (the soundtrack for Prince’s second film “Under The Cherry Moon”), Warner Bros initially has doubts about the minimalist and unusually structured songs commercial potential. Their fears are unfounded when it is released as the albums first single (b/w the non LP B-side “<3 Or $”) on February 5, 1986, quickly becoming a smash. The song is also accompanied by a music video directed by Belgian born photographer and filmmaker Rebecca Blake. Following “Kiss”, Blake works with Prince again on the clips for “Cream” and “Diamond And Pearls”. Also issued as an extended 12" single, the longer version features dialogue between Prince and singer Jill Jones, as a husband and wife watching Prince on television. Out of print for many years, the 12" is reissued in 2016, having previously made its CD debut on the compilation “Ultimate Prince” in 2006. “Kiss” wins the Grammy Award for Best R&B Vocal Performance By A Duo Or Group in 1987, also being nominated for Best R&B Song. The song is  also covered by UK pop band Age Of Chance later in 1986, and by The Art Of Noise w/ Tom Jones in 1988. “Kiss” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: March 19, 1975 -…

On this day in music history: March 19, 1975 – “Dressed To Kill”, the third studio album by KISS is released. Produced by Neil Bogart and KISS, it is recorded at Electric Lady Studios in New York City in February 1975. After their self-titled debut and the follow up “Hotter Than Hell” fail to score with the public, the New York based hard rock band find themselves at a career crossroads. KISS’ third album is produced by Casablanca label head Bogart and the band largely as a cost cutting measure due to the labels teetering near the brink of bankruptcy after severing ties with their original distributor Warner Bros Records, and resorting to independent distribution. Though only a modest success at the time of its release spins off a number of classics including “Rock And Roll All Nite”, “Rock Bottom”, “C’mon And Love Me”, and “She”. The album’s cover photo features the band dressed in suits (the ones worn by Stanley, Simmons, and Frehley) borrowed from their manager Bill Aucoin’s closet. First issued on CD in the late 80’s, it is remastered and reissued in 1997. It is also reissued as a 180 gram vinyl LP in 2014. “Dressed To Kill” peaks at number thirty two on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: March 15, 1976 -…

On this day in music history: March 15, 1976 – “Destroyer”, the fourth studio album by KISS is released. Produced by Bob Ezrin, it is recorded at Electric Lady Studios and The Record Plant in New York City from September 1975 – February 1976. After the huge breakthrough success of the double live LP “Alive!”, KISS re-enters the studio in the Fall of 1975 with producer Bob Ezrin (Alice Cooper, Pink Floyd), eager to build upon their newly found success. The ambitious album displays a wide variety of musical styles When the album is initially released, it performs well, but not as anticipated. Then a radio station begins playing the Peter Criss sung ballad “Beth” originally released as the B-side of “Detroit Rock City”. Originally titled “Beck” (for Criss’ girlfriend Becky), Gene Simmons encourages him to change the title, thinking that fans will mistakenly think the drummer is singing about guitarist Jeff Beck. The single shoots into the US top ten peaking at #7, re-igniting interest in the album and nearly doubling its sales. In 2016, “Beth” is also featured in a television commercial for Volkswagen. It spins off two additional singles including “Flaming Youth” (#74 Pop) and “Shout It Out Loud” (#31 Pop). In August of 2012, KISS issues a remixed version of the album (titled “Destroyer: Resurrected”) which also includes additional artwork that was rejected by the band’s label Casablanca Records as being “too violent”.  The album with the original mixes is also remastered and released as a 180 gram vinyl LP in 2014. “Destroyer” peaks at number eleven on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 2x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

Born on this day: December 20, 1945 – Former K…

Born on this day: December 20, 1945 – Former KISS drummer Peter Criss (born George Peter John Criscuola in Brooklyn, NY). Happy 73rd Birthday to “The Catman”!!!

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1986 Kiss

On this day in music history: November 16, 198…

On this day in music history: November 16, 1981 – “Music From “The Elder”“, the ninth studio album by KISS is released. Produced by Bob Ezrin, it is recorded at A&R Studios, The Record Plant in New York City, Ace In The Hole Studios in Wilton, CT, Ezrin Farm Studio and Sounds Interchange in Toronto, Ontario, Canada from March – July 1981, and May, July – September 1981. The concept album about a young boy being recruited and trained to combat evil by a “council of elders”, and struggles he faces along the way is an attempt by the band to establish themselves as “credible” artists and to stem the tide of their declining popularity and record sales. Unfortunately, the opposite turns out to be true. It ends up being the poorest selling album of the bands’ career. Guitarist Ace Frehley, frustrated at the bands’ creative direction and unhappy with producer Ezrin only participates minimally in the sessions. By the following year he will quit the band. The album spins off the lone single “World Without Heroes” (#55 Pop), and is the first to not be supported by a tour. In spite of the albums’ critical and commercial failure, it becomes a cult favorite among the bands’ hardcore fan base. Remastered and reissued on CD in 1997, the album is also reissued as a 180 gram vinyl LP in 2014. “Music From “The Elder"” peaks at number seventy five on the Billboard Top 200.