Thursday, October 13, 2011

Kiss - Killers (1982)

(U.S 1973-Present)
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In the light of my previous post which featured the record label Casablanca, I thought I would dedicate this post to their most successful band Kiss.
Kiss was formed in New York City in January 1973. Well-known for its members' face paint and flamboyant stage outfits, the group rose to prominence in the mid to late 1970s on the basis of their elaborate live performances, which featured fire breathing, blood spitting, smoking guitars, shooting rockets, levitating drum kits and pyrotechnics. Kiss has been awarded 24 gold albums to date, the most of any American rock band.
The 1973–'80 classic lineup of Paul Stanley (vocals and rhythm guitar), Gene Simmons (vocals and bass guitar), Ace Frehley (lead guitar and vocals), and Peter Criss (drums, percussion and vocals) is the most successful. With their makeup and costumes, they took on the personas of comic book-style characters: Starchild (Stanley), The Demon (Simmons), Spaceman or Space Ace (Frehley) and Catman (Criss). The band explains that the fans were the ones who ultimately chose their makeup designs. Paul Stanley became the "Starchild" because of his tendency to be referred to as the "starry-eyed lover" and "hopeless romantic." The "Demon" makeup reflected Simmons's cynicism and dark sense of humor, as well as his affection for comic books. Ace Frehley's "Spaceman" makeup was a reflection of his fondness for science fiction and supposedly being from another planet. Peter Criss' "Catman" makeup was in accordance with the belief that Criss had nine lives because of his rough childhood in Brooklyn.
Because of creative differences, both Criss and Frehley were out of the group by 1982. The band's commercial fortunes had waned considerably by that point
The 1980's 'Unmasked' barely achieved gold certification, and the band toured exclusively outside the United States for the first time in their career that year. 1981's Music from "The Elder" fared even worse—it failed to gain any certification and the band did not tour behind it at all. The album, released in November 1981, was off the charts by February 1982.
That month, Phonogram Records (the parent company of Kiss's label, Casablanca Records) requested that Kiss record four new songs, to be included in an upcoming greatest hits album called 'Killers'. Phonogram requested hard rock songs specifically, in contrast to the progressive rock style of Music from 'The Elder'.
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Numerous outside songwriters and session musicians were employed for the writing and recording of the four new songs on 'Killers'. Songwriter and musician Mikel Japp, who co-wrote three songs on Paul Stanley's 1978 solo album, co-wrote "Down on Your Knees" with Stanley and Bryan Adams. Adam Mitchell, another outside songwriter, was brought in by producer Michael James Jackson.
Despite being pictured on the album's cover art (from the photo-session for "Music From The Elder"), lead guitarist and co-founder Ace Frehley did not participate at all in the production of 'Killers'. He had essentially ended his active involvement with Kiss in late 1981, although he would not officially leave the group until the end of 1982, after the release of this compilation. His replacement for the 'Killers' sessions was Bob Kulick, who had previously subbed for Frehley on a handful of studio tracks on 1977's 'Alive II'. However, whereas Kulick had been asked to mimic Frehley's playing style when recording for 'Alive II', he was permitted to employ his own techniques for Killers.
Due to the large volume of Kiss live albums and greatest hits albums already available domestically, Phonogram decided to issue the album outside the United States. The album sold in moderate numbers, reaching #21 and #27 in Australia and Japan, respectively. None of the singles released from the album, however, charted in any country [extract from wikipedia]
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Album Review
A superb collection of vintage 70s rockers from this glam metal quartet, includes "Nowhere To Run" and "Detroit Rock City."
1981's 'The Elder' was such a bomb worldwide that Kiss' record company outside the U.S., Casablanca/Phonogram, demanded that the band immediately assemble another greatest-hits package to prove to their befuddled fans that they were still a heavy metal group, not experimental prog rockers. Since a greatest-hits set was issued just four years prior in the form of the double LP Double Platinum, the band decided to include four brand-new tracks along with some hits, under the title of Killers (a single album). The new tracks ("I'm a Legend Tonight," "Down on Your Knees," "Nowhere to Run," "Partners in Crime") resembled the Kiss of old more than anything the band had released for a few years by this point (again, guitarist Bob "Alive II" Kulick subs for Ace Frehley). The only hits on Killers that hadn't already appeared on Double Platinum were "I Was Made for Loving You," "Sure Know Something," and "Rock and Roll All Nite (Live)"; the rest were repeats ("Love Gun," "Detroit Rock City," "God of Thunder," "Cold Gin," and "Shout It out Loud"). Killers didn't accomplish what the record company hoped it would -- re-establishing Kiss as chart-toppers -- but it did show their fans outside the U.S. that the band meant business again.
The Australian and Japanese versions of Killers include a slightly different track listing. The release in Japan featured two additional tracks not found on the LP as released in all other countries: "Escape from the Island" (Frehley, Eric Carr, Ezrin) and "Shandi" (Stanley, Poncia). Additionally, the version released in Australia (both LP and Tape) also included "Talk to Me" (Frehley), and "Shandi" (Stanley, Poncia). The version of "Shout It Out Loud" found on this release features the single mix that has all the vocals in the center channel, whereas the original Destroyer version features Paul Stanley on the right channel, and Gene Simmons on the left. It also fades about 10 seconds earlier than the album version [review by Greg Prato]
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This post consists of a rip (320kps) taken from Cassette Tape and is flawless. The tape itself is in brilliant condition considering its age and plays perfectly. As this is an Australian release, the two additional tracks "Talk To Me" and "Shandi" are included. However, when I first came across this compilation, I was a little disappointed that it did not include the live classic "Let Me Go Rock and Roll" which pairs nicely with the live version of "Rock And Roll All Nite" that was included.
So I have taken the liberty of including it as a bonus track and have altered the CD artwork accordingly. Full Artwork for Vinyl, CD and Cassette Tape has therefore been included.
This collection of Kiss tracks provides a good sample of their work spanning almost 10 years of their career but I must say that their first double live album is my all time favourite Kiss release.
Note: This particular compilation is a must for all Kiss fans as it contains 4 tracks previously unreleased on any of their studio albums.
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Track Listing
01. I'm a Legend Tonight

02. Down on Your Knees

03. Cold Gin

04. Love Gun

05. Shout It Out Loud

06. Talk To Me*

07. Sure Know Something

08. Nowhere to Run

09. Partners in Crime

10. Detroit Rock City

11. God of Thunder

12. I Was Made For Loving You

13. Shandi*

14. Rock and Roll All Nite (Live)

15. Let Me Go Rock and Roll (Bonus Live)

* Track only included on Australian release.
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Kiss were:
Gene Simmons – bass guitar, lead vocals
Paul Stanley – rhythm guitar, lead vocals

Ace Frehley – lead guitar, backing vocals

Peter Criss - drums

Bob Kulick – lead guitar on all new (1982) songs.

Eric Carr - drums on all new (1982) songs.

Anton Fig - drums on "I Was Made For Lovin' You" and "Sure Know Something"

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Kiss Killers Link (128Mb) Link Fixed 32410/2015
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2 comments:

  1. Just a heads-up...the 2nd pic in the post is of a tribute band.

    Love the blog!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for pointing this out DiggityDawg - I feel a bit like KISS myself now, except that I've got mud on my face instead of paint LOL
    I've swapped out the photo - so hopefully I've got it right this time.
    Thanks for dropping by and your supportive comment

    ReplyDelete