“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.

kiss, kiss albums, alive ii
KISS “Alive II” 1977 LP Front Cover

Before I get any deeper into my personal reflections on this body of work please know this is only a framing of my own notions and not a line by line litany of the release since all of that is well documented on the albums Wikipedia entry. It’s included at the close of the narrative of course and I suggest that you read it as well. Now let’s get back to my own thoughts. I find it rather amusing to realize that KISS was a band that I got into mostly after hearing them in the live sense. Sure those earlier referenced tunes were the studio tracks (but even the “Rock and Roll All Nite” was often the “Alive” version on the radio most of those times). As many people know, since this was KISS second live effort, some of the tunes that might have been played at the actual shows of the time are NOT included on the release since they were first presented on the “Alive” album. Let’s take a look at what was on this one and feel free to open up Spotify and listen while we talk. It’s the Internet after all and allows for such multitasking.

Track Listing:
1. Detroit Rock City
2. King Of The Nighttime World
3. Ladies Room
4. Makin’ Love
5. Love Gun
6. Calling Dr. Love
7. Christine Sixteen
8. Shock Me
9. Hard Luck Woman
10. Tomorrow and Tonight
11. I Stole Your Love
12. Beth
13. God Of Thunder
14. I Want You
15. Shout It Out Loud
16. All American Man
17. Rockin’ In The USA
18. Larger Than Life
19. Rocket Ride
20. Any Way You Want It

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KISS “Alive II” 1977 LP Gatefold Image

As I’ve mentioned this was the first real album that I immersed myself into from the band and that fact alone makes it very difficult for me to decide on a “most favorite” track. I love so many of these songs and they have become a part of my internal audio database. The first three tunes were ones that I played over and over and I guess when I look at it that I didn’t “love” the song “Makin’ Love” all that much for some reason even though I am well into it nowadays. In the early eighties I began playing drums and used this album as something to learn and aim for as an achievement. My neighbors sure heard this album a lot as I practiced it night after night. I am sure that they loved it as much as I did. Now, since there were missing live tracks from this one we got five studio tracks to fill up the space and while I enjoyed all of these tracks too, there were favorites and less than favorites in the mix. My top track here would be “Rocket Ride” since it was best of the batch by a high margin (kudos to the Spaceman Ace Frehley). “All American Man” and “Rockin’ In The USA” were my next faves from the five tunes and many of these actually featured guitarist Bob Kulick as opposed to Ace Frehley. You can let me know your favorites down in the comments when we are finished but I am not there yet.

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KISS “Alive II” 1977 LP Back Cover

Back during these times, KISS was always making their album releases special. This double LP release folded out into a fantastic live concert stage image. This album came with two treats and the first is probably the best of them as a small program like thing that showed the “Evolution Of KISS”. I no longer have this for some reason and it pains me as a diehard fan. The second thing was the temporary tattoos and those I still have since I never used them. Fortunately, KISS reprinted this little booklet in the insert of the remastered CD edition so all is not completely lost. The photos you see in this post are of my original 1977 LP. It’s pretty beat up but I still have it and that was because back then I played it to death and wasn’t as concerned about protecting it from the world around me. Happy 40th KISS on your masterpiece of concert epics “Alive II”. Thank you for this album because it influenced me greatly and is something that I always end up listening to from beginning to end even when I am only craving a particular track. A glass is raised to you for this honor. Now it’s your turn as a reader. If you were ever a fan of this album or it brings back special memories please share with us by leaving us a comment in the appropriate section.

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KISS “Alive II” 1977 LP Tattoos

Official Album Wiki: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alive_II
Official Website: http://www.kissonline.com

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