August 1977. A small boy is on vacation in the Big City with his family — once a year they make the eight-hour drive, to buy new corduroy pants and wide-striped shirts. But that’s not what is exciting the boy today in the shopping mall. He spent the summer picking bottles in the alleyways of his hometown and managed to save up seven dollars. And now he was in a record store, staring at a display on the wall that he could hardly get over. He knew he was looking at a record — after all, his parents had plenty of albums, from Neil Young to Engelbert Humperdinck — but he had never seen one that also looked like a comic book. And the price on it was $6.98: he had to have this.

In case you haven’t figured it out, the boy was me (seven years old at the time), and the record was Love Gun, from Kiss. That was the day my musical life changed. Up until that point, the turntable my older brother and I shared only played my copy of “Mickey and the Beanstalk” and my brother’s Bay City Rollers albums. The thunderous start to “I Stole Your Love” – the overdriven riff (first time I’d heard that sort of guitar), the rolling toms, Paul Stanley’s aggressive “Awrite!” — launched a song I’ve heard probably a thousand times now. “Ah thtole yo’ love!” is a refrain etched into my very being, and was my favourite album opener until 1982 when Iron Maiden’s “Invaders” usurped the throne. The energy and aggression of the song were undeniable, especially to a little kid already enraptured by stuff like The Hobbit.

There’re plenty more great songs here. “Love Gun,” of course, has been played at pretty much every Kiss concert the past 40 years. “Shock Me” was Ace Frehley’s first vocal foray, and a fan favorite, while “Tomorrow and Tonight” was a slightly more tepid take on the “Rock N Roll All Nite” and “Makin’ Love” template. Was Kiss the greatest band ever? Of course not. They didn’t reek of talent, and I’ve heard corpses play with more feel. They were a gimmick band, to be sure, but in these early years they did write some great songs, and Love Gun has its share.

Not only was the music something else, the entire package kicked ass. The cover art was amazing, and inside was a cardboard “Love Gun” that required assembly. I wish I still had that. As well, the inner sleeve featured the word “Kiss” written in blood on green-black marble. My brother assured me it was real blood — after all (according to him), Kiss were known to sacrifice girls onstage during concerts. Wow. And of course, being Kiss, there was an insert for ordering merchandise and joining the Kiss Army, which I promptly did, writing extensive letters to all four band members.

(The author in a moment of triumph)

To be sure, there’s plenty of goofy stuff on Love Gun. “Plaster Caster” is about a groupie who liked to make casts of rock star’s dicks, while “Then She Kissed Me,” the last song on the album, is a silly gender-bender cover of the 60’s hit by The Crystals. The worst song though, especially 40 years later, is “Christine Sixteen,” which when I listened to this as a teenager was pretty cool, but thinking about an octogenarian Gene Simmons singing “She’s been around, but she’s young and clean” about a 16-year old, it’s beyond cringeworthy. They should rerecord it as “Christine Sixty.”

Despite the handful of hackneyed songs, most of Love Gun still gets its time in the Huck N’ Roll household. I still have the original LP, although it only plays to about 26 minutes of its 33-minute runtime due to the dozens of skips and scratches (most caused by sibling wrestling matches that wound up crashing into the stereo). When I added the CD years ago, I couldn’t sing the songs anymore, I was so used to singing through the skips. Despite the present-day irrelevance of the band, Love Gun was a kick-ass album that deserves inclusion in our hallowed YMIO halls, and I’m sure glad this was my first album ever purchased. I feel bad for anyone whose first was, say, LuLu.

So, what’s your story?

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  • Iain Gleasure

    Without even reading 2 thoughts:
    1. Who let this poseur in the hall?
    2. Leave the Hall.

  • John Mosley

    Nice write up.Fuck Lulu.

    • jjohn

      Hey… Lulu was my getaway to Lou Reed and it’s also a good album! I don’t know anything about KISS

      • John Mosley

        Not sure if this is irony, but to each their own nonetheless.

  • Well done!

    My uncle gave me a copy of Kiss Destroyer for my birthday or Christmas or something many moons ago. I had never heard them before and loved the imagery of the band. I didn’t feel that the music lived up to the intensity of the cover painting, but there were still plenty of moments that stuck with me. The car crash sound effects and urgency of Detroit Rock City captivated me. And the slow, heavy rumble God Of Thunder was appealing as well.

    They were never my favorite band, but certainly a gateway for me to delve into music and eventually gravitate toward the heavier stuff. It also wasn’t the last time that I bought records based on cool looking artwork. Not the best policy, but you strike gold once in a while!

  • Refined-Iron Cranium

    I think their debut is their best – aside from Destroyer – but Love Gun is a decent album by most standards. Their artwork is legendary, however, and I think it’s the reason most people picked up their albums in the first place. Never underestimate the power of album art.

    I know these guys get a lot of crap from rock / metal fans these days, but just about every metal band from the 70s up until the 90s cites them as an influence in one way or another. There’s actually a video of Phil Anselmo with KISS makeup singing Cold Gin with Skid Row. Only time he’s ever acknowledged his glam history after 1990.

    • Strapping Old Fart

      They also invented black metal.

      • It was striking to read Black Metal: Evolution of the Cult and discover how so many of Dayal Patterson’s interviewees cited Kiss as a gateway band.

        • Tofu muncher

          I know right?! The band’s name just keeps popping out throughout the book.

        • Brian Dempsey

          wtf is a gateway band? i listened to Kiss when i was 13-14 then promptly forgot about them when i realised the pile o shit they were, if you mean that the ol BM pioneers also listened to them too so what? they is no correlation between Kiss and Black Metal at all.

          • teddecker

            Brain….God of Thunder ,if you remember was very dark and evil. Their look especailly with the demon customs white black make up were what would be enough evidence to what the young took as well as other ingredients from their surroundings to develop what Black Metal came to be. You may brush KISS off. But you cannot be ignorant to the gateway . Hope you understand now.

          • Lars Barres

            “Knights In Satan’s Service” was a thing back in the day. I never liked KISS, but can see why little kids that did would go on to be in black metal bands. KISS was mainstream “evil” – that has an impact.

          • Jimmy Dempster

            Sorry not sorry that this smacks of old guys with the “in my day” syndrome…you mention the look of black and white facepaint as being a ‘gateway’ ? i listen to music first and foremost and nothing NOTHING at all of Kiss’s blunder has any influence on early BM at all but hey thanks for trying to “help” me understand….

          • teddecker

            Jimmy ..”Their look especailly with the demon customs white black make up” ..thats about the look. God of Thunder 1976…the song would be the so called gateway. Not for you. Understandable. For many others , yes. Now you understand.

        • Strapping Old Fart

          It’s also striking to observe how close some black metal clowns come to my notion as an 8-year old of what KISS were like.

      • Brian Dempsey

        Nah they didn’t.

        • Strapping Old Fart

          Did, too!!!

    • JDS

      I dig Rock’n’Roll Over & Love Gun. I love Eddie Kramer’s production. They band sounds great, too. This period was KISS at it’s peak. I agree that the first record is the best. Just look at the songs. I would have preferred Eddie Kramer producing this one, as well.

  • Monsterth Goatom

    Kiss Alive II was my entry point. I’m not sure now how I came by the album. I must have been around 10. I especially liked the feel of a live concert. There was probably zero chance of my parents ever taking me to a Kiss concert at that age, so it was my vacarious escape into a world where only my friends’ older brothers would tread. For whatever reason, I remember being particularly taken by Beth.

    And then were the pictures inside the album. Simmons with blood dribbling down his chin. So, like, he spat blood like a dragon spits fire? Bizarre and way cool.

    Any thoughts on doing a post like this for AC/DC?

  • Mollusc

    What happened to all those female Paul Stanley clones they grew for the album cover?

    • Unwed pregnancy is my guess.

      • Mollusc

        And/or locked in Gene Simmons’ dungeon.

    • SoLeftISeeRight

      One of them performed the song Lets Put The X In Sex if I recall. I imagine Paul Stanley kept them, he’d probably be all over himself.

      • Mollusc

        God gave Stanley’s clones to ya… He put it in the hole of every one

  • doom-erik

    My introduction to both Kiss and Hard Rock/Heavy Metal was Creatures of the Night in 1984,when I was 6 years old, and Kiss was my favourite band right through the 80s. Not a big fan of this album, though, except for the title track and I Stole Your Love. Without a doubt the weakest album of the first six.

  • Eli Valcik

    Metal?
    Just kidding, I don’t want to be the one who starts this fight.

    • TampaDave13

      It was n 1977, so was Heart (believe it or not). Google classic Metal Magazine covers and you’ll see them on the cover

      • Eli Valcik

        I believe that Kiss marketed themselves as metal, even though they were not. As for heart I strongly believe that they are hard rock, not metal. Also paranoid Eli doesn’t really trust magazines. In 1977 stuff like Sabbath and (more metal) Rainbow were kicking, that doesn’t really relate to my point but I wanted to mention it anyway.

        • http://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/a988864bda8b4b4766c412ba6a8d7fcfd35ef7730a327ff910f74bafed9bd054.jpg

          Once upon a time…but I guess it’s totally legit for younger headbangers to appropriate existing historical terminology and pretend it has some brand spanking new definition now because heavier stuff inevitably came along after the seventies or whatever.

          If there was a “‘new wave’ of British Heavy Metal” then what came before it? Why were magazines wondering if heavy metal was dead if Venom and Maiden hadn’t even released an album yet and Sabbath and Rainbow (and maybe Priest) were the only bands we want to be metal now?

          • Eli Valcik

            A: In response to your first paragraph, I do not agree with that stand point of past bands being exempt from the metal genera because heaver stuff came along. What I said was Kiss marketed themselves as metal even though their stuff is not metal. Most of what I listen to comes from the late 70s and 80s yet I don’t degrade titles such as Maiden to hard rock because the latest Swedish Death Metal group uses guttural vocals and a HM-2.

            B: Second paragraph, Yes, surprisingly there was a first wave of British heavy metal. This genera consisted of bands such as Black Sabbath and Deep Purple. Also Kiss is an American band formed well after the “first wave.” As another point I don’t really think that this magazine is a great basis for your argument seeing of how Queen is listed as one a metal band. Back in the 60s these people wondered if metal was dead because it had not yet found it’s stride, when Jazz first started people expected it to die off in a week, but it didn’t, it took time to evolve and came back strong. As for your second point, well it doesn’t make much sense, the writer needed a story that related to the topic of heavy metal, seeing of how Queen is also on the cover I’d say it’s safe to say that this guy might not be the most knowledgeable person on the topic. People were wondering if heavy metal was dead because they are unable to see into the future, to know when greatly influential albums would come out. As for your last point I felt as if it would be a waste of time if I listed every single old band that I considered to be metal in a comment on a blog, it has nothing to do with what I want, more like what was and what was not.

          • Re: Queen; the thing is is that it’s possible to play heavy metal songs in a rock band and vice versa. This “you’re either in or you’re out” thing is pseudo-religious zealotry and total BS. Plenty of bands, that aren’t generally thought of as exclusively heavy metal, have written and performed heavy metal songs. BÖC and Sammy Hagar wrote songs that were heavy metal and *about* heavy metal, for example.

            This author isn’t the only one to have included Queen. “Heavy Metal” was often used as a put-down by music critics to refer to bands like early-Slade and Humble Pie. After a while some bands just adopted it and said “yeah, sure: we’re just a dumb noisy heavy metal rock band. So what?” Bands like Deep Purple and Zep always wanted to avoid the term because they took themselves so seriously that they couldn’t stand the “heavy metal” criticism.

            Fast forward to today and it’s many modern headbangers who take themselves, and the evolution of their preferred extreme sub-genres. way too seriously. If this author didn’t know what he’s talking about than nobody in the seventies did because I can provide examples like this all night long. And that’s my point: people now think they know better than those who historically used the term. Moving the goalposts and rebranding eighties bands now too FFS. When I was growing up in the eighties heavy metal universally meant bands like Ratt as well as Priest and Maiden. Now Ratt is “just hard rock!” Bullshit. Heavy metal is a sub-genre of hard rock period. Just like hard rock is a sub-genre of rock. Pretty much all heavy metal bands can be called hard rock but some hard rock bands aren’t always heavy metal. Queen then/Foo Fighters now? Difference is Queen has some heavy metal songs whereas FF has none that I’ve ever heard.

          • Eli Valcik

            This is quite factual but I’m not sure if you understand my point or even understand your own point. First of all playing a heavy metal song doesn’t make you a heavy metal band, I can’t be a jazz or blues band, release one metal song and be inducted into that genera for the rest of my career. Heavy metal songs? sure those guys got em, heavy metal band? no. You said yourself that some hard rock bands aren’t always metal, my point is that I believe Kiss to be apart of that category. I don’t take heavy metal too seriously, if I did I would end up stabbing my friend and burning churches down for satan. I know heavy metal bands excised in the 60s, I know because I listen to them, I view heavy metal as a feel or attitude rather than who has the most distorted guitar tone.

          • Well, I agree that playing a heavy metal song doesn’t make you a heavy metal band. Faith No More had a death metal song but nobody’s going to call them death metal lol.

            KISS isn’t strictly a heavy metal band, but if someone called them heavy metal I wouldn’t argue because they do have stuff in their catalog that I would tag as heavy metal.

            You know what’s funny? For some reason I always think of David Lee Roth-era Van Halen as heavy metal but tag the Hagar stuff as “rock” in iTunes. We’re all inconsistent when it comes to the bands that are hard to pin to one genre, myself included. I just don’t care if someone calls a band like AC/DC heavy metal. Hell’s Bells and Highway to Hell are metal af songs IMO.

          • Eli Valcik

            Oh yeah, I’m not getting all pissy because I have problems with people labeling Kiss as metal. I’m just expressing my personal thoughts on why I don’t consider them to be. Also it shouldn’t bother me but it does kinda annoy when I see a fucking awesome metal act labeled as rock, I feel ya there.

          • Well, good talk. This is one of those things I get passionate about. Most people avoid this discussion because it becomes an argument. I don’t want to argue or be an asshole about it…just state my case lol.

          • Eli Valcik

            Nah, no argument. This was a good conversation. I don’t really have any metal friends so I always enjoy stuff like this.

      • Brian Dempsey

        I used to read Creem magazine as a kid as it was the only mag to take hard rock (as it was known then) seriously but even they took the piss outta Kiss.

    • Temper Thurman

      Not metal. Sabbath, Zepplin, Purple, Pentagram, Mountain can assume that credit. Image however, they refined Alice Cooper’s metal image though Cooper was hardly metal either. The just helped pave the way for the look. The music was largely crap.

  • Excellent writeup, Huckleberry. I’m no Kiss fan by any stretch, but this piece hit me right in them nostalgic feels, ’twas quite nicely done.

    • Nukenado

      Hey Drew, check out Dödsrit. Hardcore infused BM that doesn’t sound like it was recorded in an abandoned railway tunnel.

  • Did someone call for Doctor Love?

  • madhare

    I’m a little bit younger and my first non-children’s music experiences were with Powerslave. But then also pretty soon found KISS through my cousin’s music collection. Stole the Destroyer LP from him because of the awesome cover art as well as the music. (I also vividly remember the mind-blowing moment later when found Manowar’s much more boring rip-off art on Fighting the World.) And then had Love Gun on a c-cassette. I was never a die hard fan like you though.

    Detroit Rock City is the absolute king for me. The original version, mind you, not the remaster. But there are so many classic songs on those two. I didn’t realise it back then, but they are pretty much the pinnacle of KISS. So I was just damn lucky I guess. I can’t stand it when people – as well as radio stations – seem to think that KISS is all about “I was made for lovin’ you”.

    And yes, it’s a gimmick band. Totally agree. But metal/rock is made of 90% of gimmickry anyway. The only thing that changes is the tone of the posing. One day it’s fun and sexy, then it’s all trveness and gloomy, and back again.

  • Nag Dammit

    I always thought there was a mismatch between the KISS look and their music. They looked metal as fuck, but their music was pretty straight up rock and roll with a bit more blood.

    Peter Criss though, he was on another level. Who in their right mind sees the badass makeup of Gene and Ace and decides he’s going to do himself up like a freaking cat? What’s metal about looking like Sylvester? Other than trying to murder tweetie pie? Hilarious.

    • SoLeftISeeRight

      That’s because Peter Criss was an actual badass in real life, so he didn’t need to be one in fantasy as well.

      • Tofu muncher

        He’s a breast cancer survivor, so yeah, a badass he is.

        • Brian Dempsey

          Prolly all the tofu he ate…..

          • Nag Dammit

            Is tofu a euphemism for Japanese pussy?

          • Tofu muncher

            i do like cunnilingus.

    • TampaDave13

      Keep in mind that this was 1977, where this was one of the heaviest albums released.

      Hard Rock during this timeframe was the Stones, Grand Funk Railroad, and Boston.

      Kiss married Hard Rock and Heavy Metal into Pop Metal, which, when done right is awesome!

      If I had a super power, it’d be going back in time and arranging accidents to bands before they started to suck. So after Love Gun, Kiss’ plane would have had a tragic accident.

      • Temper Thurman

        I think your assessment of Hard Rock is lite. Sabbath, Zeppelin, Rainbow .. even Van Halen by 77′ were much stronger candidates. Love Gun was pretty Limp-Dicked compared to Technical Ecstasy (Sabbath) or In Thru The Out Door (Zeppelin). Kiss mixing was always pathetic.

        • teddecker

          im 53 now. of course a KISS fanatic since 76….sorry
          I just dont remember the METAL label till years later. Paul hates labels on music and they never daid they were metal. Pretty obvious. I think we are what they bands much harder that they were responsible. A gateway of terms. Like they label Pot is a gateway to harder drugs. An example ….thats all.

          • Temper Thurman

            I’ll go along with that. That’s fair.

    • Temper Thurman

      I agree. He also played ole’ timey Big Band swing crap that Grandpas shit the bed to. I never understood why they went with a drummer who couldn’t hit a footnote on a powerchord.

  • Shrümpelstiltskin

    1977 sounds like it was a magical time. When I bought my first big kid album it was Master of Puppets in 2006 on CD at a record store that mostly sold used video games. Not so whimsical or cool. But it is what it is. Kiss was a band that never clicked with me. I’m not sure they ever will. Good write-up though. I like hearing about people discovering their gateway bands.

  • Cronos

    Almost Human. Great percussion. Great groove. Horrible solo from Gene but still my favorite. I also love Than She Kissed Me…pop happiness and Tomorrow and Tonight is fun for me. 70’s boy/girl fun! Great album and Ace shines on it

    • Huck N’ Roll

      Almost Human was a weird and cool song for sure. The opposite of Christine Sixty.

      • Cronos

        Yea I love it. Its actually one of my favorite KISS Songs. If you look on YouTube they do it live on the Kiss Kruise and it sounds amazing

  • DubiousLee

    Great YMIO and story Huck. Thank you!

  • Nukenado

    Jeez, you’re the same age as my old man.
    You can probably glean what was my first “metal” record from that statement…

    They were pretty influential despite some things not holding up.

  • Richard Christopher Autorina

    Kiss is and always will be my favorite band. They created Magic. Don’t get me wrong I listen to everything and am into many other bands and Musical styles…but when it comes to Kiss, even now they still grab me. Rock on !

  • The Akerstache
    • AMG was not thrilled with this piece. He doesn’t Kiss and tell.

      • Huck N’ Roll

        Thus it had to be written.

      • Tofu muncher

        I smell coup d’etat

        • Nah, I’m with our leader on this one. I loved the review itself, but I don’t have too many nice things to say about Kiss. They’re not outright bad by any stretch, and I try to remember that their shock value had much more strength back in the day – paving the way for modern takes on theatrical visual elements in metal, so there’s that – but they are not my thing and I’ll leave it at that. When the war begins, I’ll be right there shitting on everyone’s heroes until Jorn takes us all.

    • John Mosley

      Agree.

  • SoLeftISeeRight

    Destroyer was my first cassette tape. Kids still get into metal these days through gimmick bands like Slipknot. Kiss is an incredibly entertaining live band too.

    • Brian Dempsey

      Slipknot is a gimmick band but Kiss isn’t?

      • SoLeftISeeRight

        They both are.

  • Disfiguro

    The first album that purchased with my own money was also by KISS. It was Dressed to Kill. Previously I grew up listening to country western music. My folks didn’t know what to make of it. My Dad did take me to my first concert when I was 12. Yep, it was KISS with Cheap Trick opening.

    • Jamie Carr

      What a great concert that must have been.

  • Selficorned?

  • Planex

    NostalgicRock’n’rollGrandpa dot com

    The picture had made laughing

  • VikingSchism

    As a youngling, relatively speaking, I never jumped onto the KISS boat, and I’m afraid it’s too late for me now to get on, so they’ll always be a band I don’t really get – I can never tell whether I’d like them if I’d listened when young, or if I had been alive in the height of their popularity.

  • Jacob Flores

    Loved that album. I also enjoyed “Hooligan” and “Got Love For Sale”. I loved the artwork very much. I’m indeed a Kiss Army soldier to the core… Only for the original Kiss though. Great article.

  • Super Destroyer

    Loved this album! This, Destroyer, and Rock n Roll Over on 8-track got played until they were worn out. I Stole Your Love is still one of my favorites.

  • El Lado Oscuro

    For all of us 45’s and older, and probably younger too, this was the band to start with, no matter it is true they were not the best musically wise. During late 70s, no internet era, the visual impact and novelty of Kiss was unsurpassed

    • Tofu muncher

      KISS was the first rock band that I noticed (I remember the first time seeing them was their I Was Made for Lovin’ You video clip; seeing Paul Stanley doing the split whilst singing sold me). Others, including those older than KISS, then followed: Deep Purple, Sabbath, Grand Funk Railroad, etc, and yes, including The Beatles and The Stones. I always love KISS, the band. Period. Even after knowing what jerks Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons are to other members.
      Bruce Kulick era and Vinnie Vincent era, man, dayuumm, those solos. I’ve listened to No, No, No and Fit Like a Glove for how many IDK.

    • 12tonehead

      Born slightly earlier, you would have started with Deep Purple, Led Zep and Black Sabbath! Not too shabby either… (Yer Readership Is Olde)

  • Steven Hannah

    One of the biggest bands of all time and there still calling them a gimmick. Their in the one percentile and still get no respect.
    The most gifted musicians no.
    But I would rather write a catchy tune that is memorable and carry on through the ages than be thought of as the greatest musician.
    30 gold records and 1. 5 billion in sales of all merch tickets and albums is no gimmick. 40 + years is no gimmick.
    They were like a damn that burst. We wouldn’t have half the bands we have now or the musicians in bands we have now if it wasn’t for the inspiration of Kiss.
    That my friends says more than anything !.
    If anything they don’t get enough respect.
    They have done it all against any and all form of respect. God bless them.

    • TampaDave13

      True story. Kiss released six studio albums in a four year period. The fact that most of the songs are good to great says something about their talent.

  • Marc Rikmenspoel

    I’m the same age as Huck (born 1970), but it took me 2 years more to discover Kiss. It w as in 1979, when my mom took me to the local record store to look for the Andy Gibb(!) album I’d seen on TV. The guy behind the counter suggested I might like Dynasty. He handed me the LP, and seeing those 4 painted faces on the cover left me mind-blown!

    I soon collected more LPs, and Destroyer and Love Gun (I had the toy gun!) were the start of my being a huge fan of Ken Kelly’s art. I now have hundreds of books and some albums with his cover art, and I’ve been lucky enough to meet him twice at the Chiller Convention. Meanwhile, Kiss prepared me to have no trouble accepting the corpse-painted projects I enjoy today. Finally, anyone with an interest in Kiss should look up Chuck Klosterman’s hilarious article about the band,from a.couple of years ago.

  • Wilhelm

    There’s something about Kiss that really irritates me, it’s not even the fact that they were average musicians (not always a bad thing) but I think it’s because they played boring rock music and achieved undeserved praise for it. It’s even harder to see some of the bands that I respect who cite them as influences. Musically, I just don’t see it I DO get the gimmick, if I was ten years old in 1977, I would have probably loved them too.

  • Michael Dillon

    Kiss original members, back in the day, is the greatest music out of all hard rock.

  • Erich Sorenson

    Alive! was my first album and I still have it today.

    • El Lado Oscuro

      Me too, me too! lol… but true :), then came the faces albums, rock and roll all nite, Dynasty…

  • Nahuel Benvenuto

    now that i catch up, this site totally needs a LuLu review, it does not matter how dated it could be

    • GardensTale

      Not it.

  • Yolo Swaggins

    Now review Slipknot.

  • Thatguy

    I like to annoy AMG as much as the next anonymous punter, BUT HE IS RIGHT ABOUT FUCKIN’ KISS.

    Sorry, Huck. I have always hated them with a passion.

    • Tofu muncher

      But their concert in Aussie in 1980 was yuuge

      • Thatguy

        I was otherwise engaged.

  • John Mosley

    The best thing Kiss ever did was Detroit Rock City. “Sister Gonorrhea, you looking for a bus?”

    • 12tonehead

      Yes!

  • Bas

    First Kiss album: Alive II
    Not such a fan, but its nice pop rock. It was especially cool to see them live. Though, for me their campy firework show was later surpassed by Venom’s reunion concert at the Dynamo festival (it has to be said that with kiss the integration of firework and music is perfect, like they wrote the songs with the special effects in mind. Venom was just crazier).

  • Innit Bartender

    Lovely write-up, Huck! I was never much into Kiss, but I have memories of being around 10, in total “1st wave of japanise animation” mode (think Mazinger and stuff) and my older cousin, a quite misterious and sleeky girl, she was in a Kiss phase and showed me their album covers. Scared the s*it outta me.
    Still, “We like it loud” is one hell of a good song!

  • James Utvandraren

    A love letter to youth, innocence and musical awakening. Good job.

    Also, funny you mentioned “Invaders” on Maiden’s TNOTB, as that was MY very own metal epiphany track. It changed my life forever at the age of 10, having just bought that album based on the cover alone, at my first real exploratory trip to a record store back in 1982.

    • RuySan

      I never liked Invaders. The chorus is really akward and it’s among my least liked Maiden songs (together with Run to the Hills and Number of the beast…seriously those are two wasted slots on live sets)

    • Huck N’ Roll

      I bought that one based on cover alone as well, and it’s the album that got me into ‘real’ metal. Never heard a singer like that before!

      • Tofu muncher

        Didn’t we all ;-)

  • Kronos Sr.

    At about that same time I got hooked on Kiss, but it was because of Peter Criss and ‘Beth’. I too joined the Kiss Army at that time. It might have been because I was going to a Catholic Elementary school and the nuns kept telling us that KISS was an acronym for Kings In Service to Satan, but I really did like the music at that time. It’s still on my play list, but every CD I have is on my play list and I go through that on random while trying to avoid any real work.

    Keep the Old Metal playing, no matter how bad it seems now.

  • 12tonehead

    Detroit Rock City!! And that’s it for me, I moved on…

  • theburningdown

    I remember the Metal label attaching to KISS when they tried to regain cred around 82/83 with the heavier Creatures of the Night and Lick It Up albums after the dodgy disco and Elder excursions – even slipping the words ‘heavy metal’ into I Love It Loud. Metal or not KISS have produced some great songs (and some horribly inconsistent albums)

  • Mark Z

    Wow great writeup! Also I got quite a laugh out of that picture.

  • h0ttentot

    Man, i was a huge KISS fan as a teenager. Discovered rock because of them so they got a special place in my heart. I even made websites using Microsoft Front Page and Macromedia Dreamweaver and hosted on geocities and cjb net.

    But i can’t listen more than four or five songs anymore. It’s this bad.

    Revenge is the album i can stand more i think.