It can definitely be said that Alive changed the fate of legendary rock band, Kiss. The album was released during a time when Kiss literally had nothing, no major commercial success and living off of over-charging their manager, Bill Aucoin’s credit cards. However, the album hit number 9 on the charts almost immediately and lead the way to huge success for Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Ace Frehely and Peter Criss. Alive is Kiss’ first gold record, and has surprisingly not gone platinum- unlike it’s counterpart Alive II which has been certified double platinum.
However, one overarching question has been posed with this album- how much of what we’re hearing is actually live? Luckily, this question has been answered on multiple occasions. Eddie Kramer, producer, told Mars Music in 1998 “We had to create that album from the live shows with overdubbed guitar, because of the fact that Kiss puts on a great show with much leaping about”. Even Paul Stanley mentions in his 2014 memoir Face the Music that all of the editing was done “not to fool anyone”, and as more of a favor to the fans so they could hear everything clearly and as it should be. Of course, the issue of authenticity comes up because if you’ve ever seen Kiss perform, everything isn’t always perfect but it’s those imperfections are what can make or break a good show. Anyway you slice it, Alive is definitely a live album, despite all of its tweaks and overdubbing.
Not only is this album extremely acclaimed- but it basically defined the rock and roll anthem that everybody knows and loves, Rock and Roll All Night. Prior to the release of Alive, the song that can arguably be the most recognizable Kiss song was simply skipped over and not even spoken about. Kiss is a live band, and there must have been something about hearing that timeless anthem in more of a live setting with an added guitar solo that really gave way to the success that followed.
Alive is undoubtedly one of Kiss’ most praised records and if it had not been released, who knows what the future would have held for the band. Although at the time of release a live album was practically a death sentence for any band, Kiss proved that theory extremely untrue and had somewhat of a new begging with this album. Again, Kiss has been and always will be a live band, and this was the first album to encapsulate that.