UltimateClassicRock.com/ Matthew Wilkening
Eric Carr KISS songs, as in, tracks that feature the late musician's drumming, songwriting or even singing in a particularly noteworthy manner, may not be large in number compared to the band's voluminous history. But during his 10-year stint with the band, he always managed to make himself heard one way or another. To celebrate what would have been his 61st birthday (July 12), we take a look at the Top 10 Eric Carr KISS Songs:
10 'Carr Jam 1981' 'Revenge,' 1991
During the recording sessions for his first album with KISS, 1981's 'Music From The Elder,' Eric Carr recorded a demo of a song he was working on, and spontaneously added in his first and apparently only studio long-form drum solo. Following his early demise from heart cancer in 1991, his bandmates added the track to their next album, 'Revenge,' as a tribute. Former guitarist Ace Frehley's solo was removed from that version, but he had already used the song's main riff on his 1987 solo song 'Breakout.'
9 'Under the Rose' 'Music from The Elder,' 1981
Carr must have been pretty surprised to join hard rock titans KISS, and then find out their first album together would be a diverse, orchestra-aided concept album about a young boy's mystical forest quest. But he made the best of it, co-writing two songs on the album, the rocking instrumental 'Escape from the Island' and this more dynamic song, which alternates between delicate verses and a deep, commanding call to action on the chorus.
8 'Saint and Sinner' 'Creatures of the Night,' 1982
When Carr, whose real name was Paul Caravello, joined KISS he had to change his name, partially to keep photos of his real face being revealed to the press. The band was still wearing their trademark makeup, and Carr needed to find his own character. He first tried being a hawk (looks happy, huh?), but soon settled on the fox design featured on 1982's 'Creatures of the Night.' The album was a long-awaited return to hard-rock form for the band, with Eric providing newly complex and thunderous drumming to their sound, particularly on this track, a KISS-off to departing guitarist Ace Frehley.
7 'No, No, No' 'Crazy Nights,' 1987
For most of this keyboard-heavy album, KISS seemed to be trying to emulate younger bands like Bon Jovi. But on this Carr co-written effort, he and guitarist Bruce Kulick kick off perhaps the fastest KISS song ever with an extremely flashy show of guitar and drum virtuosity. Added bonus: the inspired, old-fashioned "Demon"-era vocal firebreathing from bassist Gene Simmons.
6 'King of the Mountain' 'Asylum,' 1985
'Asylum' didn't feature a track with an Eric Carr songwriting credit, but he opens the record with a pretty kick-ass extended drum introduction on this song, a surging, Paul Stanley-fronted tale of victory over... well, we're not sure what the struggle was about, but it's pretty obvious KISS won. Maybe it was a contest to see which band could wear the most sequins and day-glo blouses.
5 'Under the Gun' 'Animalize,' 1984
Another barnburning KISS song co-written by Carr, the borderline metal chug of 'Under the Gun' succeeds largely on the strength of his propulsive playing. Although, the lyrics are also a hoot, with Stanley winking his way through Spinal Tap-esque lines such as "I don't need a reason to get crazy / I'm getting crazy / And that's enough."
4 'I Love It Loud' 'Creatures of the Night,' 1982
On this enduring anthem to volume, Carr lets loose with probably the second most popular opening drumbeat in KISStory ('Rock and Roll All Night' still wins, right?) and without a doubt the most massive. The song helped dig KISS out of a years-long commercial slump and remains one of their most popular concert sing-a-longs to this day.
3 'All Hell's Breakin' Loose' 'Lick It Up,' 1983
Reportedly, Carr at first wasn't thrilled with the spoken-rap vocal approach Paul Stanley used to convert the drummer's 'Lick It Up' songwriting contribution into something different than the Zeppelin homage he had planned. But Carr apparently and understandably changed his tune as the song became a hit single and further cemented the now make-up free KISS's recently re-established popularity.
2 'Heaven's on Fire' 'Animalize,' 1984
One of the most commercially successful Eric Carr KISS songs ever (yeah, yeah, we know, 'Forever,' but you wanna talk ballads all day?), this scorching track, which relies heavily on his rock-solid and surprisingly grooving drumbeat, was one of the few non-makeup era tracks to make its way into the reunited original band lineup's setlists in later decades.
1 'Little Caesar' 'Hot in the Shade,' 1989
It took him until the second-to-last song on the last album he ever recorded with KISS, but Eric Carr finally got to sing lead vocals on a song he co-wrote for the band. For years he'd been singing classics like 'Black Diamond' live, but this was a big accomplishment. If his life was a movie, this song would be the soundtrack for the victorious moment of redemption, and the rousing sing-along chorus sets the perfect uplifting tone. It's particularly great to hear the whole band "whoa-oh-oh"-ing along joyously behind him. It's a shame he died so young, but it would be hard to say Eric Carr didn't bring a lot of joy to millions of people during his life.