by: Matthew Wilkening/Ultimate Classic Rock
‘Love Gun, ‘ the sixth studio album from KISS, and the clear pinnacle of the band’s first golden era, was released 35 years ago this week.
The album’s release marked a pair of turning points for the band. It was the last record to feature their original lineup — Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons, Peter Criss and Ace Frehley — performing together on every song.
(In 1998, the foursome released a reunion album entitled ‘Psycho Circus,’ but it is widely reported that outside musicians joined Stanley and Simmons for much of that project.)
‘Love Gun’ was also released at the high-point of the band’s commercial success. KISS were without question the hottest band in the land at the time, with arena shows selling out across the country and mountains of records and merchandise flying off store shelves.
Seeing as how ‘Love Gun’ was their fifth studio LP in just three years — not to mention the near-constant touring the group had been doing since forming in 1973 — it’s hard to say they didn’t work hard to earn that position.
By 1977, they were ready to reap the rewards. As Stanley explains in the band’s official biography ‘Behind the Mask,’ “I had fun making ‘Love Gun’ because I was feeling my oats. I had a very clear vision of what I wanted to do and in some ways what KISS was going to do… I’d give that four and a half, five stars. I’m proud of the record.”
Recorded in just three weeks with production help from the legendary Eddie Kramer, who had worked with the band on their breakthrough 1975 ‘Alive’ double-live concert album, ‘Love Gun”s drum-heavy title song (rat-a-tat-tat, rat-a-tat-tat!) became an instant classic, and has been performed at nearly every KISS concert since its release.
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Check out the LOVE GUN TV commercial from Casablanca Records