Part 10 of my series of Kiss reviews, leading up to the release of Monster!
A few months after posting this review, I found a cool foil-embossed CD. Click here to see what that one was all about!
KISS – Double Platinum (1978)
Although there had been one Kiss re-pack before (a vinyl set called The Originals), Double Platinum was their first “greatest hits” disc. The band was beginning to fracture internally. Both Ace Frehley and Peter Criss were looking to break out with their own solo albums. Instead, Kiss decided to record four solo albums and release them simultaneously. This, a first ever for anybody, was a big project and would require six months to execute. In order to satiate the fans, who had become accustomed to new Kiss albums twice a year, Double Platinum was conceived.
I first got this album in 1985 or 1986 and it was my first exposure to songs like “Hard Luck Woman” and “Makin’ Love”. For years I would often recommend this album as one of the first Kiss albums for people to get. It is still an excellent introduction despite the fact that the market has been flooded with approximately 15 different compilations (rough guess) since then.
One “new” song (a disco-ish remake of “Strutter” called “Strutter ’78”) and a boatload of remixes were quickly prepared. Sean Delaney worked on the remixes, and I don’t think they are as bad as they are made out to be by some fans. For me, these were the original versions that I heard! And the cool thing in my own experience was, when I eventually moved on to collect the rest of the studio albums, I wasn’t familiar with those versions of the songs. Everything was fresh for me on those albums.
The technical reasoning for the remixing was to make the band’s uneven catalogue sound more alike, when presented together in this fashion. The material produced by Bob Ezrin (Destroyer) sounded leaps and bounds different than the other stuff, so it was remixed to bring it to Ezrin’s level.
“Strutter ’78” was re-recorded with more compression on the drums. I still think it’s a great track, but it lacks the fire of the Kiss original. It’s more sleek. “Hard Luck Woman” has been remixed to highlight the acoustic guitars, leaving the band out until later in the song. “Rock Bottom’s” intro is presented here without the song itself, and it does work in that form, serving now as an intro to “She”. “Black Diamond” lacks the slow-down ending, and I kind of prefer this version: Instead, at the end, the song starts all over again and goes into a fade.
My only complaint about Double Platinum is in regards to the CD version. The original pressing of the LP had the Kiss logo embossed on silver foil. I paid a lot of money for a Japanese import CD and I wanted the silver foil cover. Instead I got dull paper. The domestic CD is not much better, although the cover is different yet again (printed with silver ink).
FYI, those with records for sale: I would love a mint complete Double Platinum LP, please.
My guess is that one day we’ll get yet another load of Kiss reissues (it’s already starting with Destroyer/Resurrected) Let’s get it right next time.
Still, 5/5 stars. Start your Kiss collection with Kiss Alive!, and then grab some studio versions here.