I know I was going to write about Jesus Christ Superstar today but, I put it off for another day or two because there’s another KISS album that is celebrating a milestone today that I need to talk about.
Usually, I don’t get excited about “greatest hits” or “compilation” albums. I mean, I like them, but they don’t really get me going. For KISS’ Double Platinum, however, it certainly did get me going. You see, as an eight-year-old, getting this album was the greatest thing ever. It had the “hits” or what we called hits. It had the blockbuster songs. It was in a shiny silver (platinum) cover and had KISS’ stylized logo all over it in big embossed letters.
It was a gatefold album sleeve that opened up to show all four characters in embossed portraits. I spent many a day tracing those four larger-than-life pictures and did so much on my original copy that you could see the traced lines over the regular embossment.
When I was this young, I didn’t have all of the albums from KISS up to that point. It included songs from the first six studio albums. With the exception of “Do You Love Me?” all were also included on one of the two “live” albums. So, without having all the albums, I needed this to have studio versions of those songs that I didn’t have on albums. My uncle Ricky gave me my copy, right after I got into KISS. He also gave me my copy of Rock and Roll Over as well.
KISS was at their tipping point at this point. This came out in 1978, the same year as the solo albums (they came out in September, all on the same day), which came about to appease Ace and Peter who wanted to taste more stardom and they thought they could make it on their own. However, KISS was the biggest act in the world so the record company threw together a “greatest hits” compilation that would be a fairly good representation of the band. This included some remixing, and in some cases, rerecordings.
In a successful effort to entice consumers into buying an album full of tunes that they probably already owned (I didn’t at the time), Casablanca had KISS remake the song “Strutter” from the debut album. This time, though (remember it’s 1978), from Sean Delaney, a long time friend of KISS in the early days and producer of Gene’s solo album and co-writer of some other tunes, they added some rapid-fire hi-hat work that made “Strutter ’78” a bit more disco. There are also shorter solos in that song.
There are passages of “Hard Luck Woman” left out and there’s some weird remix at the beginning of “Calling Dr. Love” that, my pal Eugene says takes out the intro that made that song cool. “C’mon and Love Me,” “Detroit Rock City,” “100,000 Years” and “Deuce” were all remixed, too. The end of “Black Diamond” on the debut album had a slowing tape effect of bombs that sounded apocalyptic. However, for this comp, they took that out and copied and pasted the intro – even into the meat of the song – back into the ending.
I never had Dressed to Kill growing up so I was confused later when I purchased it on cassette and the intro to “Rock Bottom” wasn’t at the beginning of “She.” I know it’s on the Alive version where it belongs but it was so low I never knew what was going on with it. I do now, but not back then.
I think a “greatest hits” album should have had “Shock Me” on it, that way all four were represented in the lead vocal sense. Peter had three songs that he sang lead on, but Ace had none. Still, I think it was a strong representation but not “definitive.”
So, Double Platinum came out on April 2, 1978, so yep, that’s 40 years. My copy is somewhere at Ma Mère’s house. The copy that I have at home now I got from my pal, Clay Howard. That was nice of him. So, for those looking for an intro experience into KISS’ first six albums, even now, 40 years past, grab this album if you can find it and get some learning. Actually, I’d really suggest you just buy those albums but still…
Happy birthday DP!
Until tomorrow, same blog channel…
“I just hate when the girl says wait. I really want her by my side, don’t hesitate. I really want her by my side the whole night through. We do all the things that we wanna do. Well, come on baby, don’t leave me sad. Cause you’re good lookin’, the best I’ve had. Makin’ love.” – “Makin’ Love” (Stanley/Delaney)