Casablanca/UMe are set to release a limited edition vinyl box set to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the solo albums the four founding members of KISS released in 1978.
Set for issue on 19 October, KISS: The Solo Albums – 40th Anniversary Collection, includes Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Ace Frehley and Peter Criss – the albums the four founding members released concurrently to much fanfare, chart success and platinum sales. The box set will be released as a limited edition, 180-g 4LP set and each heavyweight album features a unique color to match its associated cover art; Gene Simmons appears in red vinyl, Paul Stanley sports purple vinyl, Ace Frehley contains blue vinyl, and Peter Criss is in green vinyl.
All four albums are housed together in a deluxe black-matte slipcase that features glossy black images of the four artists’ faces surrounding a silver-foil print of the infamous KISS logo. Also included in this set are four 12-by-12-inch posters that are replicas of the ones that came with the albums upon their initial 1978 release, plus an exclusive turntable slipmat that shows all four of artist Eraldo Carugati’s iconic, painted album-cover face images all connected together.
All four of these solo albums served to showcase the wide range of talents of each KISS band member. Gene Simmons, co-produced by Simmons and Sean Delaney, features the band’s bassist and co-lead vocalist switching over mainly to acoustic and electric guitar duties for songs that highlight his penchant for Beatlesque melodies, funk, and hard rock. Highlights include a remake of ‘See You In Your Dreams’ (initially found on KISS’ 1976 benchmark album, Rock And Roll Over) and a cover of the 1940 Disney classic from Pinocchio, ‘When You Wish Upon A Star.’ Guest musicians include Aerosmith’s Joe Perry, Cheap Trick’s Rick Nielsen, Bob Seger, Cher, Donna Summer, and Katey Sagal.
Meanwhile, Paul Stanley was co-produced by Stanley and Jeff Glixman and it showcases all-original material from the KISS lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist, in addition to lead and acoustic guitar work from long-time KISS axe associate Bob Kulick. The super-catchy track ‘Hold Me, Touch Me (Think Of Me When We’re Apart)’ reached No. 46 on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart.
Ace Frehley, produced by Eddie Kramer and Frehley, finds the lead guitarist doing what he does best. Frehley’s foot-stomping cover of ‘New York Groove,’ originally a 1975 hit by the British glam band Hello, peaked at No. 13 on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart. Guest musicians include Anton Fig on drums (a sometimes KISS session musician who later became a member of Frehley’s Comet) and bassist Will Lee, both of whom went on to become core members of both of David Letterman’s late-night talk-show house bands led by keyboardist Paul Shaffer.
Finally, Peter Criss was produced by Vini Poncia, a onetime Ringo Starr co-writer who later produced a pair of key KISS albums, 1979’s Dynasty and 1980’s Unmasked. Most of the songs on Peter Criss had been written back in 1971 for the drummer/vocalist’s aptly named pre-KISS band, Lips. The album also boasts a rousing cover of Bobby Lewis’s No. 1 1961 hit single, ‘Tossin’ And Turnin’,’ a song that KISS often wound up playing live during their 1979 Dynasty Tour.
The KISS: The Solo Albums – 40th Anniversary Collection vinyl box set is out on 19 October and can be bought here.