KISS – Alive ! : Must Own Heavy Metal/Hard Rock Albums

Must Own Heavy Metal/Hard Rock Albums : 

Artist : KISS

Album : ALIVE !

Released : September 10, 1975

M.M. Album Rating : 5/5 (One Of The Greatest Live Records Ever Made ! Even With The Overdubs, And Studio Fixes.) 

Today in 1975 is probably the most important day in the history of the band KISS. On this date 42 years ago they released their legendary live album “Alive” that basically saved the band from extinction. A record that gained the band millions of new fans, and basically influence every 1980’s glam metal band, especially young kids to become drummers, and guitar players.
Prior to the release of this album, the band KISS was in a whole lotta trouble. Basically they were surviving on credit. Their manager the great Bill Aucoin (did for KISS what Brian Epstein did for The Beatles, and Peter Grant did for Led Zeppelin) was charging everything they had to a American Express credit card. They had released three studio albums that didn’t sell well, and to make matters worse their record company “Casablanca Records” was going bankrupt. The only positive thing happening for the group was their live shows. They had developed a reputation as a great live act. At their shows people were beginning to tell them that they sounded like a much better and completely different band live, and their studio albums weren’t capturing any of the magic they had on stage. This gave the band the idea to record a live album. Not knowing it at the time they would also develop a blueprint that many artists would follow in the future. By taking the best songs from their first three albums KISS, Hotter Than Hell, and Dressed To Kill, presenting them with the “live” feel gave the songs a whole new depth and power. Thin Lizzy, Peter Frampton, Bob Seger, and Cheap Trick are just a few examples who would follow the model KISS left, and have the same type of success.

“Alive” is one of the most controversial live albums ever released also because of the overdubbing. It is not truly a live album since the band went into the studio to fix mistakes, and re-record guitar, bass and vocal parts. According to both drummer Peter Criss, and Engineer Eddie Kramer, only the drum tracks are “live”. A secret that was kept for many years. And sadly after the success of this album, happened more and more with so called live albums. A good example is the next huge live album after this one “Frampton Comes Alive”. As a matter of fact, to this day most commercially released “live albums” are not truly live. Most are edited in the studio. That’s why many fans are still a huge fan of bootlegs.

Nevertheless, this album still gave the listener the sound of what the Kiss “live experience” was like. Gene Simmons in interviews likes to give the impression that before this record there was no such thing as a great live album. (Obviously he hopes people never heard Jimi Hendrix “Band Of Gypsys” or Allman Brothers “At Fillmore East. Or James Brown “Live At The Apollo”) Obviously that’s not correct, but after “Alive” double live records popped up everywhere. And became huge commercial successes for record companies and artists. This record not only saved the band Kiss, but also their record company. For all of it’s controversy, it’s still a great Rock N’ Roll album. Today it still sounds as fresh as ever, and and makes you feel like you’re in the crowd. Any record that gives you that experience is worth owning. 


Tracks : 

Side One 

1 Deuce (Gene Simmons) – 3:56

2 Strutter (Paul Stanley, Simmons) – 3:22

3 Got to Choose (Stanley) – 3:40

4 Hotter Than Hell (Stanley) – 3:30

5 Firehouse (Stanley) – 3:50

Side Two
1 Nothin’ to Lose (Simmons) – 3:33

2 C’mon and Love Me (Stanley) – 3:05

3 Parasite (Frehley) – 3:34

4 She (Simmons, Stephen Coronel) – 6:56

Side Three

1 Watchin’ You (Simmons) – 3:49

2 100,000 Years (Stanley, Simmons) – 12:12

3 Black Diamond (Stanley) – 6:16

Side Four 

1 Rock Bottom (Frehley, Stanley) – 3:21

2 Cold Gin (Frehley) – 7:16

3 Rock and Roll All Nite (Stanley, Simmons) – 3:59

4 Let Me Go, Rock ‘n’ Roll (Stanley, Simmons) – 5:45

Jesse Vejar

Jesse Vejar

Executive Editor - From Tucson, Arizona. Electrical Engineer/Music Historian. Lover of all genres of music. Beatles, Beach Boys, Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Allman Brothers. Fav Metal Bands, Priest, Maiden.
Jesse Vejar