KISS – The First Three Albums

“KISS,” “Hotter Than Hell,” and “Dressed To Kill” are the first three albums by KISS, released in the span of just 13 months. Say what you want to about these three albums, but three in just 13 months is pretty damn amazing. In those early days, KISS worked their asses off to build a name for themselves and they did it. While these first three albums never sold the numbers KISS would’ve liked them to, they did help build a following that would soon propel KISS to the top of the rock pile. Here’s my take on each of these KISS classics.


Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons have made it clear over the years that they don’t like the sound of the first album. They’ve stated numerous times that the album missed the mark on a sonic level and failed to capture the energy of their live performances, which is what they’d hoped to achieve. I mean, it’s true, the album may be a bit on the thin side, but to me the production doesn’t take away from the content. All you have to do is take a look at the track listing. It reads like a classic KISS set. “Cold Gin,” “Deuce,” “Strutter,” “Firehouse,” “Nothin’ To Lose,” and “Black Diamond” are all from this album, and most of these songs are still performed regularly today. Despite its sonic discrepancy, “KISS” is an undeniable classic.

  1. “Strutter”
  2. “Nothin’ to Lose”
  3. “Firehouse”
  4. “Cold Gin”
  5. “Let Me Know”
  6. “Kissin’ Time”
  7. “Deuce”
  8. “Love Theme from Kiss”
  9. “100,000 Years”
  10. “Black Diamond”

Hotter Than Hell

Paul Stanley doesn’t like the production of “Hotter Than Hell” any better than he likes the production of the first album. His complaint is that they tried to correct the thin sound of the first album by making this one heavier, but succeeded only in creating a distorted, muddy album. I guess if you listen to it that way you’ll hear it that way, but I liked the sound of this album, and you certainly can’t complain about the songs. Besides classic tracks like “Parasite,” “Goin’ Blind,” “Watchin’ You” (which actually appeared on the original KISS demo), “Comin’ Home,” “Got To Choose,” and the title track, “Hotter Than Hell,” you get some deep cuts that pack just as much punch. I love this album.

  1. “Got to Choose”
  2. “Parasite”
  3. “Goin’ Blind”
  4. “Hotter Than Hell”
  5. “Let Me Go, Rock ‘n’ Roll”
  6. “All the Way”
  7. “Watchin’ You”
  8. “Mainline”
  9. “Comin’ Home”
  10. “Strange Ways”

Dressed To Kill

“Dressed To Kill” was recorded very fast, in an effort to keep product on the shelf. Hardly any of the songs ran over three minutes, and the overall length clocked in at around 30 minutes. A few of the songs were from Paul and Gene’s previous band Wicked Lester. Still, “Dressed To Kill” is one of my favorite KISS records. The obvious song on the record is “Rock and Roll All Nite” (which didn’t actually become a hit until “Alive!”), but there are others as well. “Rock Bottom,” “C’mon and Love Me,” and “She” are from this album too. The rest of the songs are all stand out tracks for me. I don’t think there’s a weak song in the bunch.

  1. “Room Service”
  2. “Two Timer”
  3. “Ladies in Waiting”
  4. “Getaway”
  5. “Rock Bottom”
  6. “C’mon and Love Me”
  7. “Anything for My Baby”
  8. “She”
  9. “Love Her All I Can”
  10. “Rock and Roll All Nite”

Regardless of what anybody thinks about the production quality of these first three albums, they represent a time capsule that captures KISS when they were hungry as hell. The songs are classic and the albums still hold up today.


One thought on “KISS – The First Three Albums

  1. Pingback: KISS – The First Three Albums | Kendrickmusicfreak

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