The KISS RE-REVIEW SERIES Part 12:
As 1977 turned into 1978, Kiss were buying mansions, and buying time.
Their next big project was a rock and roll first. Four solo albums, all under the Kiss banner, simultaneously. It had never been done before. As each of the four members toiled separately on their albums, Casablanca Records and Sean Delaney put together the next Kiss package: Double Platinum was intended to keep the band on the charts in the meantime.
The first Kiss “greatest hits” album is the most legendary. Sparing no expense, the two records were housed in a brilliant gatefold sleeve, embossed in shiny silver foil. Kiss made their hits package really look like one, and the 20 included songs meant fans would get a cross section of hit material from all six Kiss studio albums.
Therein lay the challenge. Kiss studio albums were, at best, uneven sounding. Their early work was marred by studio inadequacies. Producer Delaney chose to remix (with Mike Stone) a number of the old Kiss tracks, in an attempt to bring everything up to the level of Destroyer. Destroyer was considered the benchmark, the best sounding Kiss album. Using it as the high water mark, Delaney and Stone attempted to bring the rest of the material to that level. Remixed were “Firehouse”, “Deuce”, “100,000 Years”, “Detroit Rock City”, “She”, “C’mon And Love Me”, “Hard Luck Woman”, “Calling Dr. Love”, “Let Me Go, Rock and Roll” and “Black Diamond.”
Most casual buyers don’t want remixes when they buy a hits package, but many won’t even be able to tell the difference. Some are more obvious. “Hard Luck Woman” has a longer acoustic section. “She” now has the “Rock Bottom” intro. “Black Diamond” is rearranged so that it ends where it begins and repeats to fade. By and large, these remixes are not obtrusive. They enable a great song flow.
And what songs! “Detroit”, “Beth”, “Deuce”, “Hotter Than Hell”, “Cold Gin”, “Firehouse”, “Makin’ Love” and more, with very few important exclusions. The only track that earns scorn from many is “Strutter ‘78”, a re-recording done especially for Double Platinum. It was done up with a late-70s production featuring compression and shakers. The “disco era” was on the horizon. Today, Gene Simmons questions why the re-recording was made. To sell records, is the answer.
Double Platinum is the album to buy instead of Alive! if you would like to start your Kiss collection with a broad sampling of studio classics. It’s still an enjoyable front to back listen for anyone.
Official apology to Robert V Conte
In my November 2012 review I called the CD liner notes by Conte “shitty” and then added a snarky “Who?” I knew who he was (I own lots of books with his name inside) and I didn’t need to be bitchy. His liner notes to the 1997 remastered editions are what they are, and what he was paid to do. Robert, I hope you accept this apology for what was a dumb comment on my part.