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Sunday, April 24, 2011

KISS: 35 Years Since The Release of "Rock And Roll Over"

After the "Destroyer" tour, KISS heads back to the studio to make their second studio album of 1976! An amazing feat, considering how long it takes bands to put out albums these day, and including "Rock And Roll Over", KISS had released 5 studio albums in 2 1/2 years!

For "Rock And Roll Over", KISS heard the crys of fans that wanted a less produced, more rockin' album. KISS called upon "Alive!" producer Eddie Kramer to turn the knobs and give the album a more live sound. Eddie brough the Record Plant Mobile to the Star Theather in Nanuet, New York to record the album. At the end, KISS had recorded on of their best albums and the 6th classic album in a row! Eddie Krammer crafted an excellent sound for the band that fits the song perfectly.

Except for Peter's old writing partner, Stan Penridge, KISS would abandon outside song writers on this one. It can be argued that Sean Delanay, who co-wrote some of the songs isn't an outside songwriter as he was part of the KISS family and 70's version of Tommy Thayer (prior to him stepping into Ace's shows). Sean was also Bill Aucion's "roommate" for many years.

The album cover, drawn by Michael Doret, was to become an iconic KISS album cover. Paul even called him 33 years later to do the album cover for "Sonic Boom". The album came with a sticker of the album cover and Gene would market the cover upon the world. The album cover would also be the stage flooring used when KISS performed on MTV Unplugged.

On to the songs, the album starts off with an aucostic intro, with Paul in the morning, raising his head and thinking about days gone by. The thing he wants out of life is...... (kick in guitars) "I Want You"! This is yet another classic KISS track and a great way to start of the album. In the Star Theater, Producer Eddie Kramer had Paul stand on a ladder and strech his body towards a light bulb to hit the high notes on this song. Interesting that Paul has an easier time hitting the notes later in life - usually it's just the opposite.

Next up is "Take Me", another great, hard rocking/metal song. A great song, even if the lyrics are slightly sophmoric ("put your hand in pocket, grab onto my rocket").

Another signature Gene song is up next, "Calling Dr Love". Classic Gene at his sleezy best! Gene wants to meet girls in the "Ladies Room", another great song!

Peter sings his only composition on R&RO next, "Baby Driver". This is a good, solid Peter song and one of his better ones!

Gene continues the sleeze in "Love 'em and Leave 'em" then Paul tells us about his issues with premature ejaculation on "Mr. Speed". Gene's 4th track is "See You In Your Dreams Tonight". With that, Gene did something that is very hard for him - not a single song he wrote for this album is filler!

Peter sings a Paul song, "Hard Luck Woman" next. Paul originally wrote it with Rod Stewart in mind (hoping to sell it to Rod and have him sing it). When the band and Eddie heard it, it became a Peter song.

"Makin' Love" closes the album - a great metal song and album closer about hittin' it all night long.

The performances of the band on this album are excellent - Eddie Kramer really brought out the best of KISS on "Rock And Roll Over". Ace's solos are amazing. Peter's drumming and Gene's bass (well, some of it was Ace playing bass) is solid and Paul sings his ass off. 

Below you can watch live recordings of three of the songs.
For the full "KISS Rock And Roll Over Tour Cobo Hall Detroit 1977", go to this location.

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