I know I said that I was done with these, but I had to write about something, right?
Today is the 44th anniversary of the release of KISS’ Dressed to Kill album. Probably my least favorite of the “Klassic KISS” albums, it still has plenty of proud moments for me. One of my favorite KISS tunes is “She” and while that was originally a Wicked Lester tune (co-written by Gene and Stephen Coronel), really no one ever heard it like that and I think most people would prefer there not be flutes, a la Jethro Tull, in their KISS songs. Incidentally, today is also the anniversary of Aqualung. I just thought I’d throw that out there.
Other great songs on this album are “C’mon and Love Me” which I performed probably as much as any KISS song in Heavens Sake, “Rock Bottom,” “Two Timer,” and “Love Her All I Can,” also a former Wicked Lester tune but completely written by Paul. Those are the great tunes from the album (including “She”). Then there are the mid-card KISS tunes like “Room Service,” “Ladies in Waiting,” “Getaway,” and “Anything For My Baby.” These are okay but nothing really kicks me from them.
Of course, the “elephant in the room” is that song. And by that song, I mean that song.
I have to give credit where credit is due, without that song, KISS may have never been what they became. Without that song there probably wouldn’t have been any Destroyers, Unmasked, solo albums, Lick It Up, Revenge, Sonic Boom and so on. I’m almost positive that without that song, Casablanca Records would have folded after the release of Alive! later in the year. But, I really don’t like that song. That’s not true. I am so burnt out on that song. I cringe when I hear it come on, but I have to respect it. That song made KISS KISS. I know this. I am just so over it. More than any other KISS song, I don’t care if I never hear it again, although I know I certainly will.
Okay, enough, that song is obviously “Rock and Roll All Nite.”
Paul and Gene were basically told by Bill Aucoin, their manager, who was in turn told by Neil Bogart, the president of Casablanca Records, that they had to write an anthem. They didn’t really know what he meant. What he meant was a “cheerleading song,” something everyone can sing along to. So, they cranked this thing out. The words make no sense really, but hey, it was 1975. Really, though, name an “anthem” that is more known than this tune. I’ll wait. “Twist and Shout?” “Shout?” “Hey Jude?” I don’t know if any of them are as potent as “RNRAN.” Anyway, the KISS haters will debate that all day long. KISS fans may try to include “Shout It Out Loud” (Destroyer) or “I Love It Loud” (Creatures of the Night), but I’m pretty sure that while we may all be tired of “RNRAN,” we’d be hard-pressed to put those ahead of it.
Funds at Casablanca Records were tight. So tight, in fact, that when the band was brought in the studio after touring, they couldn’t even afford to hire a proper producer. So, Bogart did the work himself. I think he did okay. It’s not the most sonically-dynamic KISS album, but it’s not the worst sounding either.
This was KISS’ third album in just 13 months. Today, that would be unheard of. KISS was released in February 1974 and Hotter Than Hell in October 1974. This was March 1975. There was little time to write and prepare, which, I believe, is why there are two Wicked Lester songs on the album. I also believe that is why there are so many mid-card songs on the album. And, I think it is why the album is so short. The whole thing comes in at 30:07. That’s 15 minutes per side on vinyl. It’s almost EP length in comparison to standards.
Gene played rhythm guitar on “Ladies in Waiting” and Ace played all guitars and bass on “Getaway” (he wrote) and “Rock Bottom” (he co-wrote). Peter sang “Getaway.” Four of the tunes made it to Alive!
It does have one of the coolest covers, though. I love the boys in business suits. All of them, except Peter, had to borrow theirs because they didn’t own one. If you notice, Gene has on some open-backed high-heeled clogs or something and they’re a little small for his feet. The heel is about an inch out of the back of the shoe. The back cover is the negative of that cover photo.
The album was certified gold in 1977. To my knowledge, it hasn’t progressed from there.
It sits at #29 on my KISS list (out of a possible 32), which surprises a lot of folks. Sorry, it’s just not up there on my “want-to-listen” list. But, it is a KISS Klassic and, again, I give it mad props because of that.
What do you think of this album, Dear Reader?
Until tomorrow, same blog channel…
“Hard times got me down. Good times ain’t around. Now I got the mind to say, ‘Girl, you hit rock bottom and you’re there to stay!'” – “Rock Bottom” (Stanley/Frehley)