Friday, October 22, 2010

Today In KISStory - 1974

Today In KISStory - 1974: The album 'Hotter Than Hell' is released. 

Hotter Than Hell  is the second studio album from the group Kiss. It was certified Gold on June 23, 1977, having sold 500,000 copies. The album was re-released in 1997 (along with most of Kiss' earlier albums) in a remastered version. The album peaked on the charts at number 100 without the benefit of a hit single.

Move to Los Angeles
The production team of Kenny Kerner and Richie Wise, who had produced the group's first album, was chosen for the follow up. Since the pair had relocated to Los Angeles, Kiss flew there to work with them. The band, all New Yorkers, immediately developed a dislike for their new surroundings. Paul Stanley's guitar was stolen his first day in Los Angeles.

The working title for the album was The Harder They Come.

The music
Musically, Hotter Than Hell is darker than the band's first album. This is partly due to the murkier production values, but also to the lyrical content of some of the songs. "Goin' Blind," which details a doomed romance with a 93-year-old and an underage girl, was a song written by Gene Simmons and Stephen Coronel during Wicked Lester's existence. The original title was "Little Lady."

Hotter Than Hell featured far more overdubs than the first album. While Kerner and Wise wanted to produce a record that captured Kiss as a live act, they decided to take advantage of the experience the band had gained as recording artists.

Although the album featured two songs penned solely by Frehley, he did not lead sing either one of them. His lack of confidence in his singing abilities at the time led to lead vocal duties for "Parasite" and "Strange Ways" going to Gene Simmons and Peter Criss, respectively. Frehley's guitar solo in "Strange Ways" has been called one of his best.

A commercial disappointment
Despite the intense touring schedule Kiss maintained in 1974, Hotter Than Hell failed to outperform the band's first album. In fact, it did considerably worse. This was due partly to the fact that Casablanca Records' distribution deal with Warner Bros. Records had ended. The publicity push behind the album was not nearly what it was for Kiss. One notable exception was a television commercial aired to promote the album. The only single released from the album, "Let Me Go, Rock 'n' Roll," was distributed in low numbers and failed to chart. Four months after the album was released, Kiss were pulled off tour and called back into the studio to record a follow up. Hotter Than Hell was certified Gold on June 23, 1977.

Live Performances
Many of Hotter Than Hell's songs are live staples for the band, including "Got to Choose", "Parasite", "Hotter Than Hell", "Let Me Go, Rock & Roll", and "Watchin' You".

Track listing

No. Title Writer(s) Lead vocals Length
1. "Got to Choose"   Paul Stanley Stanley 3:54
2. "Parasite"   Ace Frehley Gene Simmons 3:02
3. "Goin' Blind"   Simmons, Stephen Coronel Simmons 3:37
4. "Hotter Than Hell"   Stanley Stanley 3:30
5. "Let Me Go, Rock 'n' Roll"   Stanley, Simmons Simmons 2:15
6. "All the Way"   Simmons Simmons 3:18
7. "Watchin' You"   Simmons Simmons 3:44
8. "Mainline"   Stanley Peter Criss 3:50
9. "Comin' Home"   Frehley, Stanley Stanley 2:38
10. "Strange Ways"   Frehley Criss 3:18