September 18, 2018

20,000 Vinyl LPs 148: Kiss X Four

Forty years ago today, September 18, 1978, the four members of the American hard rock band, Kiss, Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons, Peter Criss, and Ace Frehley, each released a solo album on Casablanca Records.       

vinyl LP front cover  
Cover [Painting]Eraldo Carugati
 photo of album cover by Styrous®

This album by Gene Simmons, bassist and co-vocalist of Kiss, was a surprise to me. It's a very strange one, to say the least. It features choirs and string arrangements as well as incorporating various musical genres including Beatles-inspired pop, 1970s funk, disco, rock and roll and hard rock.

Radioactive is a fast and syncopated dance song that moves right along! It is the only single released from the album. The song was written by Simmons and produced by him and Sean Delaney. It features Bob Seger and Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry. Radioactive reached #47 on the Billboard charts.        

Simmons sings a version of When You Wish upon a Star, with lyrics by Ned Washington and music by Leigh Harline). It betrays the weakness of his voice but it's fun to listen to him doing something unusual (links below).     

vinyl LP front cover 
Cover [Painting]Eraldo Carugati
photo of album cover by Styrous®

The solo album from Ace Frehley, the lead guitarist of Kiss, was produced by Frehley and Eddie Kramer. It featured Anton Fig on drums. AllMusic rated the album 4 stars out of 5 and said, "Of the four Kiss solo albums, the best of the bunch is Frehley's". Jason Josephes of Pitchfork concurred that it was the standout of the Kiss solo efforts, describing it as "a melange of riff rock, power pop, and just a little bit of soul". I agree with them, of the four, Frehley's is my favorite and my favorite song from the album is, New York Groove, written by Russ Ballard

The song made it to No. 13 on the Billboard Hot 100 late that year, by far the highest charting single from any of the four solo albums. Frehley once told Rolling Stone magazine that his unique take on the song was inspired by his experience with hookers in Times Square (New York City) in the 1970s.
My other favorite songs from the album are Ozone, with its moderate-speed syncopated beat and brilliant guitar work by Frehley, and the instumental,  Fractured Mirror (links below).     

vinyl LP front cover 
Cover [Painting]Eraldo Carugati
photo of album cover by Styrous®

The solo album by Peter Criss, the drummer of Kiss, includes material originally written in 1971 for his pre-Kiss band Lips. These include I'm Gonna Love You, Don't You Let Me Down, That's the Kind of Sugar Papa Likes, and Hooked on Rock 'n' Roll. The album also includes a cover of the song Tossin' and Turnin by Bobby Lewis. Reviews for Peter Criss were mostly negative. The album was the lowest charting of all the Kiss solo albums.      

I'm Gonna Love You is good, 'ol time rock 'n roll with a great dance beat that gets your feet moving in spite of yourself (links below).     

I'm a sucker for rock ballads, I Can't Stop the Rain is one in particular (link below) and it is my favorite song on the album. It has a quiet piano intro that goes into a killer rock ballad. It has the same emotional intensity and modulations as Sometimes When We Touch by Dan Hill which is one of my all time favorite songs.     

vinyl LP front cover 
Cover [Painting]Eraldo Carugati
photo of album cover by Styrous®

The solo album from Paul Stanley, the rhythm guitarist and lead vocalist of Kiss, is the only album of the four Kiss solo albums to feature all original songs, as Simmons, Criss and Frehley each recorded one cover song on their albums. AllMusic gave the album 3 stars out of 5 and said that it is the most "Kiss-like" out of all the Kiss solo albums.

My favorite cut from this album is, Tonight You Belong To Me, not to be confused with the 1956 song with the same title by Patience and Prudence. It has a quiet, serene 1-1/2 minute intro, but once the intro is over it moves on quite nicely (links below).    

For over four decades Kiss has dominated the rock n’ roll scene with their over-the-top theatrics, captivating live shows, and fist-pumping anthems. The Starchild, Demon, Spaceman, and Catman are proud to round out their 45th year as a band and bring you The KISS Kruise VIII, Decades at Sea!

The Kiss Navy will set sail from Miami on October 31 aboard the Norwegian Jade with stops in Key West, Florida and Nassau, Bahamas. The cruise with run until November 5, 2018 (link below).   

Viewfinder links:
Sean Delaney          
Kiss articles/mentions          
Net links:
Kiss website
Mikeladano ~ Ace Frehley (1978 solo album) review     
Ultimate Classic Rock ~      
      30 Years Later Ace Frehley looks back @ his solo album   
Noise 11 ~ Ace Frehley, Melbourne, 20 October 2017 review    
Ultimate Classic Rock ~ Paul Stanley Year by Year: 1974-2017 Photographs     
Kiss Kruise VIII    
Deviant Art ~ Tribute to Eraldo Carugati: A Forgotten Master 
YouTube links:
Ace Frehley ~   
                Fractured Mirror        
                New York groove  
Gene Simmons ~           
                When You Wish upon a Star      
Peter Criss ~    
                I'm Gonna Love You 
                I Can't Stop the Rain     
Paul Stanley - Tonight You Belong To Me          
Patience and Prudence - Tonight You Belong To Me          
Styrous® ~ Tuesday, September 18, 2018


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