frank hermans | top 10 kiss albums | may 2018
It was the summer of 1976, 1163 Chicago Street, Green Bay, my brother Mike (publisher of Frankly Green Bay) convinced my mother to buy a Kiss album named “Rock and Roll Over." To our surprise, Mike received this coveted piece of vinyl and our lives were changed forever. I can still see my brother (11 at the time) with a speaker from our stereo system on each side of his head jamming out to “Makin' Love." Kiss influenced my taste in music and what I played in bands for years into the future. Here is my list of my favorite Kiss albums of all time.
No. 1 Ace Frehley, solo (1978). It was heaven to see all their faces on album covers. Kiss was my Pokémon, they were my Marvel characters, I was bewitched. One of the first songs I would learn in a band was “New York Groove," what a piece of mastery written by Russ Ballard. “Rip It Out “ (or as Mike and I would call it “Rip One Out") and “Snow Blind" are on my playlist.
No. 2 Rock and Roll Over(1976). I swore to god it was Rod Stewart singing “Hard Luck Woman" when I heard it on the radio for the first time. What a song! But my favorite by far is “Take Me" with the lyric, “Put your hand in my pocket, grab onto my rocket." At 12 I was mesmerized.
No. 3 Paul Stanley, solo (1978). Personally this was the best of the four, great songwriting and everything had a hook. I had Kelly Klaus (of Separate Ways) as my guitar teacher at the time teach me “Shandi," my all-time favorite Kiss song of all time!
No. 4 Dynasty(1979). Kiss doing a disco record? Hell yeah! I had no problem with “I Was Made for Loving You." A Kiss purist? Well, I guess I am if I love everything they do. “Sure Know Something" is my second favorite song by Kiss; still have a hard time thinking it didn't make the Top 40. Casey Kasem, what was wrong with you? And “Charisma" my favorite Gene Simmons piece, what a song!
No. 5 Love Gun(1977). Wish I still had the gun that came in the packaging of the record, great marketing. At this point we had three Kiss albums in our collection: “Destroyer," “Rock and Roll Over" and “Love Gun." Our compilation was growing. My diverse tastes at the time were the Bee Gee's and Kiss.
No. 6 Unmasked(1980). A cartoon cover? I stared at it for hours. This album was, I believe, Ace Frehley's best work after his solo album; every song stands out: “Torpedo Girl," “Talk to Me" and “Two Sides of the Coin." It also had my favorite Kiss song on it, “Shandi"! This is the latest I go with albums. The later stuff was OK but can't touch the pre-'80s stuff.
No. 7 Alive!(1975). I love it! You do a live album after three albums; it's like doing a greatest hit album before you have a hit. But this album rocks, all the classics supposedly done live. Bullshit, most of it was in the studio, I have never heard Kiss (vocally) sing that right-on in my life. But it still was an awesome concept!
No. 8 Destroyer(1976). Probably most everyone's favorite Kiss album of all time because “Beth" and “Shout It out Loud" were on it. This album made Rolling Stone's top 500 albums of all time and Kiss' first platinum album. It has the best “live" song, visually, in concert — “God of Thunder."
No. 9 Alive II(1977). Man this band produced a shit load of music from 1974-1980. And the live compilations showcased the volume of work. New studio tracks on the album stood out such as “All American Man" and “Anyway You Want It" (a Dave Clark cover).
No. 10 Hotter than Hell(1974). Album did not sell as well as others but the anthem “Hotter than Hell" was on it. I always believed because of the design of this album they did well in Japan. I still stare at the cover and listen to a few, not their best work.
I hope you enjoyed the list. I love doing these. If you have any ideas for future Top 10s, shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and be sure to check out Ace Frehley live during Celebrate De Pere on May 26. More info at CelebrateDePere.com.