One could argue that everything KISS produced after 1985 was overlooked. I’m looking at a period when they ruled the world. They had so many albums between 1974 and 1980. Many of the songs that were staples then have fallen out of the repertoire, but at least they had their moment in the sun. I went looking for songs that I love that never really got any traction at the time of their release or since.
The first two albums are loaded with classic tunes that have since disappeared from the live set. Tracks like “Got to Choose,” “Let Me Go, Rock n Roll,” “She,” “Parasite,” “Watchin’ You,” “Rock Bottom,” “C’mon and Love Me,” “Let Me Know,” and “100,00 Years” don’t get played too much anymore, but can’t be considered overlooked. The songs such as “Strutter,” “Deuce,” “Firehouse,” “Black Diamond,” and “Hotter Than Hell” are still relevant and find their way into the setlist. The first song on the list is “Mainline” (I was tempted to go with “Strange Ways” because of its classic 70s rock feel) featuring Peter on vocals. Peter and Ace songs stand out more over time than some of the popular Gene and Paul songs. “Mainline” might have made the setlist in 1975, but it is hard to find many live versions of the song anywhere. The tune embraces the sort of 60s rock vibe that inspired KISS to begin with:
Following Destroyer (well the release of the single, “Beth”) KISS took over the planet. It would be hard to say anything on the late 70s albums was ignored, but “Do You Love Me” is so cool and never seems to make any favorite lists and I rarely see live footage of it. The opening anthemic drum line is what got me into the drums:
Another mega-album, 1977′s Rock ‘n Roll Over features what might be my favorite KISS song of all time. “Mr. Speed” just kicks ass. Although another brightly colored feather in their misogyny cap, it is just so damn cool and catchy with its T-Rex riffage that I’d expect to hear it more on satellite radio or even commercials. “Cause you ain’t enough lady / to keep the master satisfied” – now that’s some macho dick swinger-y right there:
“New York Groove” performed by Ace isn’t unknown either, but to me, it’s a big, big song. It’s actually a cover originally written by Brit rockers, Hello. It’s just more sincere coming a Bronx native. This is another one that should be in films and commercials more often. It’s the rock ‘n roll version of the love letter to New York City that Sinatra’s “New York, New York” is:
OK, I guess I’m not digging to deep with these, but I have to feature “Shandi” from 1980′s Unmasked. This is a single so it had support, but I think rock fans were so disillusioned and disgusted by the disco embrace of Dynasty that following it up with yet another disco-y, sugar-coated power pop groove had most everyone tune the fuck out. ‘Shandi” is equally lame as it is great. This will probably never get played again, but I can’t help but love the fact that it captures the late 70s so well and could easily be snuck into the soundtrack for Xanadu or Grease (maybe Grease 2) or something: