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“You Wanted The Best!!!” – KISS “Alive II” Is Forty Years Old!!! (1977-2017)

Stand up on top of your seats and raise your fist in the air and light that lighter to its highest flame because KISS “Alive II” has reached its fortieth anniversary and was released on this date back in 1977. As this is one of my very favorite albums of all time I am pretty stoked to reflect upon its awesomeness. Here we go.

In some sense it began for me with the opening line that shouted “You Wanted The Best And You Got The Best! The Hottest Band In The World —- KISS!!!” From the moment this album began with that intro I started my first truly full exploration into a band that I had only heard every now and again at that point in history. I would sometimes hear them if my parents had the Rock radio station on in the car and songs like “Rock and Roll All Night” or “Strutter” came across the airwaves. I liked those songs enough to the best of my recollection but that was all I was able to absorb since I was still at a pretty young age. When KISS “Alive II” came out I was still in grade school and for some reason I can still recall seeing a double page advertisement for it in one of the major newspapers of the day. Since money was not really in my own control around those years it would be a couple of years later when I finally got my own copy of the album but of course I had heard it quite a few times by then since some older friends had it and allowed me to indulge in its greatness and be schooled in a sense with what truly was “The Hottest Band In The World” to my young ears. To me, Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons, Ace Frehley and Peter Criss were Rock and Roll superheroes and their wild image was like watching the comic books that I was reading come to life.

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KISS “Alive II” 1977 LP Front Cover

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“Alive II” (remaster) by KISS

Artist: KISS
Title: “Alive II” (remaster)
Label: Mercury/Universal
Release Date: 8/12/1997
Genre: Hard Rock
Rating: 9/10

Recorded during the “Love Gun Tour” of 1977, the album Alive II is both a special and a powerful one from the second it begins. At the time before this album I remembered only listening to KISS a little bit yet when life was set to change that with the album hitting the record shops (yes, records were sold in shops once upon a time). I remember clearly almost blowing up the family stereo as the announcer growled “You Wanted The Best And You Got The Best”. The explosions literally shaking the house and making my Mother scream at me more than usual. As a budding musician as well I made sure to learn this album from top to bottom. While I don’t do that much anymore I am pretty sure that I can still knock out a bunch of these songs from memory. To this very day it remains one of my favorites in their catalog because it was among the first records I was allowed to buy and it had so many of the songs that were on the radio (“Dr. Love”, “Christine Sixteen” & “Detroit Rock City”). Alive II would focus on the three releases that followed the classic concert release Alive featuring material from “Destroyer”, “Love Gun” and “Rock & Roll Over”. The band was a little heavier now and walked a little taller over the competition – stepping over them in lizard faced platform boots. The stronger emphasis on their individual identities and bombastic shows made them officially referred to as Hard Rock super-heroes by this point. There was not a member of the now formed KISS Army that would argue this fact with you. KISS ruled, and that was that. While Alive is considered the original masterpiece, Alive II is a lot cleaner and tighter if you asked me. Songs like “King Of The Night Time World” and “I Want You” literally explode like the firebombs presented during the show. There is a hotter drum solo by Peter Criss and not only do we get a unique guitar solo from Frehley but we hear him sing live for the first time on record during “Shock Me”.
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