KISS – Three More Albums

“Destroyer,” “Rock and Roll Over,” and “Love Gun” are the three studio albums that follow the first three. These albums, along with the first three, are the six albums considered by most KISS fans to be the only official studio albums to legitimately feature the original members. Yeah, there was “Dynasty,” but Peter only played on one song, and there was “Unmasked,” but Peter didn’t play on that one at all, even though his likeness was used. Then, of course, there’s “The Elder,” with new drummer Eric Carr, and “Creatures of the Night,” which Ace didn’t play on, even though his likeness was used. There’s “Psycho Circus” too, but Ace and Peter only played on their songs and claim it wasn’t truly a band effort. The first three KISS studio albums were eventually packaged as “The Originals” and the next three were packaged as “The Originals II.”

Destroyer

Released in 1976. “Destroyer” represented a shift in the KISS sound. Producer Bob Ezrin brought in strings, experimented with new recording techniques, and ran the sessions like a boot camp drill sergeant. The resulting album featured the super-huge ballad “Beth,” sung by Peter Criss, along with such KISS staples as “Detroit Rock City,” “Shout It Out Loud,” “God of Thunder,” and “King of the Night Time World.” The album is widely considered by KISS fans to be a KISS masterpiece, but while there’s no denying the importance or beauty of the recording, it has never been my absolute favorite. I love the songs and I get the approach, but I liked what they did before “Destroyer” better, and I liked what they did after “Destroyer” much better. Still, a great album with some killer songs.

For the 35th anniversary of the album the band released “Destroyer: Resurrected,” which featured a remastering of the tracks by Bob Ezrin and “Sweet Pain” with Ace Frehley’s solo (he didn’t show up tin time to play on the original album version). The remaster of the album is good and the inclusion of “Sweet Pain” with Ace Frehley’s solo is a nice bonus.

  1. “Detroit Rock City”
  2. “King of the Night Time World”
  3. “God of Thunder”
  4. “Great Expectations”
  5. “Flaming Youth”
  6. “Sweet Pain”
  7. “Shout It Out Loud”
  8. “Beth”
  9. “Do You Love Me?”
  10.  “Rock and Roll Party”

Rock and Roll Over

“Rock and Roll Over,” released in 1976, is maybe my favorite KISS album. If not my favorite, I’d be hard pressed to find one better. “Calling Dr, Love,” “Makin’ Love,” “I Want You,” and “Hard Luck Woman” are probably the best known tracks on this album, but songs like “Ladies Room,” “Mr. Speed,” and “Love ‘Em and Leave ‘Em” are just as good. With this album KISS wanted a return to the hard rock sound, more in tune with what they started with the first three albums, and I think they managed to do it. “Rock and Roll Over” had the hard rock edge of earlier KISS stuff, plus it seemed to capture the “bigger” sound the band felt the first three albums lacked. I think this album represents KISS on a primal level, and while they’ve certainly done some cool stuff since, I go back to this one again and again.

  1. “I Want You”
  2. “Take Me”
  3. “Calling Dr. Love”
  4. “Ladies Room”
  5. “Baby Driver”
  6. “Love ‘Em and Leave ‘Em”
  7. “Mr. Speed”
  8. “See You in Your Dreams”
  9. “Hard Luck Woman”
  10. “Makin’ Love”

Love Gun

“Love Gun” is another iconic KISS album, released in 1977 and reissued with some great bonus stuff in 2014. It not only includes the awesome title track, but KISS classics like “I Stole Your Love,” “Christine Sixteen,” and Ace Frehley’s vocal debut on “Shock Me.” Other stand-out songs include “Plaster Caster,” “Got Love for Sale,” and Peter Criss’ “Hooligan.” This is a killer album all the way around, except, of course, for the cover of “Then He Kissed Me” (re-titled “Then She Kissed Me” for this album). Unlike the cover of “Kissin’ Time” on the first KISS album, which I liked, I could not wrap my head around the inclusion of “Then She Kissed Me” on this one. Still, “Love Gun” is one of the more recognizable KISS albums even today.

  1. “I Stole Your Love”
  2. “Christine Sixteen”
  3. “Got Love for Sale”
  4. “Shock Me”
  5. “Tomorrow and Tonight”
  6. “Love Gun”
  7. “Hooligan”
  8. “Almost Human”
  9. “Plaster Caster”
  10. “Then She Kissed Me”
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