Ace Frehley: Produced by Eddie Kramer, the Ace Frehley solo album is often said to the best out of all four releases. The single New York Groove is probably the most identifiable song from the album, and it was first recorded back in 1975 by a British glam rock band, Hello. This was Kiss’ highest charting single since Beth in 1976. The album reached #26 on the US Billboard album charts, making the the second highest placing record from the four releases. The album was certified platinum on October 2, 1978.
Peter Criss: Criss’ solo album definitely displayed his musical differentiation from the rest of the band. Produced by Vini Poncia (who would later produce both Dynasty and Unmasked), the album was predominately R&B styled, and contained a myriad of ballads. Criss covered Tossin’ and Turnin’ which was a number one hit for the original artist, Bobby Lewis. Unfortunately, this album recieved primarily negative reviews and was the lowest charting, only reaching #43 on the charts. However, the album did go platinum and was certified as such on October 2, 1978.
Gene Simmons: This solo album consists of a multitude of different musical styles, as well as choirs and string arrangements. There are guest appearances from fellow members of the rock community such as Joe Perry from Aerosmith as well as Bob Seger, but also has appearances from artists including Cher. One of the most surprising and unusual covers within the four albums is Simmons’ cover of Disney’s When You Wish Upon a Star. Simmons’ reasoning behind choosing a Disney song to cover is as follows: “When I first heard the song I could barely speak English but I knew the words were true. Anybody can have what they want, the world and life can give its rewards to anyone”. This album, although not acclaimed as the best, took the #22 spot on the US Billboard album charts making it the highest charting out of all four records. The album, like all the others, was certified platinum on October 2, 1978.
Paul Stanley: This album, produced by Jeff Glixman, features all original material and is the only album to do so. Stanley’s solo album only reached #40 on the charts, however, it was deemed by AllMusic as the “most Kiss-like”. Generally, it is acknowledged as the second best album- following Frehley’s release. The single Hold Me, Touch Me (Think of Me When We’re Apart) reached #46 on the US pop singles chart, and the album was also certified platinum on October 2, 1978.
Lick It Up & MTV UnmaskingAnother monumental achievement for Kiss on this day was the release of iconic album Lick It Up in 1983, as well as making their first TV appearance without their trademarked makeup. Lick It Up is Kiss’ eleventh studio album, and on the day of it’s release the entire band (consisting of Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Eric Carr and Vinnie Vincent) appeared on MTV for their official ‘unmasking’. It’s been said that the title track has been played over 1,300 times live since its release, and can definitely be named a Kiss classic, however the remainder of the album is rarely played live. The album has a harder sound, very similar to its precedent Creatures of the Night. Stanley has said that he feels Lick It Up was more successful than Creatures of the Night only because they had removed their makeup.
- Not for the Innocent
- Lick It Up
- Young and Wasted
- Gimme More
- All Hell’s Breakin’ Loose
- A Million to One
- Fits like a Glove
- Dance All Over Your Face
- And on the 8th Day