Destroyer (Kiss album)

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Destroyer
Studio album by Kiss
Released March 15, 1976
Recorded 3-6 September 1975 at Electric Lady Studios and January–February 1976 at Record Plant Studios, New York City
Genre Hard rock, heavy metal
Length 34:27
Language English
Label Casablanca
Producer Bob Ezrin
Kiss chronology
Alive!
(1975)
Destroyer
(1976)
Rock and Roll Over
(1976)
Singles from Destroyer
  1. "Shout It Out Loud"
    Released: March 1, 1976
  2. "Flaming Youth"
    Released: April 30, 1976
  3. "Detroit Rock City"
    Released: July 28, 1976
  4. "Beth"
    Released: August 1976

Destroyer is the fourth studio album by American rock band Kiss, released on March 15, 1976 in the US. It was the third successive Kiss album to reach the top 40 in the US, as well as the first to chart in Germany and New Zealand. The album was certified gold by the RIAA on April 22, 1976, and platinum on November 11 of the same year, the first Kiss album to achieve platinum. The album marked a departure from the raw sound of the band's first three albums.[1]

Album information[edit]

After attaining modest commercial success with their first three studio albums, Kiss achieved a commercial breakthrough with the 1975 concert album Alive!. It was the first album by the band to be certified gold, and eventually went multi-platinum.[2] The success of Alive!, which spent 110 weeks on the charts, benefited not only the struggling band but their cash-strapped label Casablanca Records.[3][4] Kiss signed a new contract with Casablanca in late 1975, partly because the label had been very supportive from the start of the band's career. The contract was for two albums, an indication that Casablanca was unsure if the group could duplicate the accomplishments of Alive!.[5]

Bob Ezrin, who had previously worked with Alice Cooper, was brought in to produce the album. Among the production flourishes Ezrin introduced to Kiss were sound effects, strings, screaming children, reversed drums (on "God of Thunder") and a children's choir. The song "Great Expectations" uses the first phrase of the main theme from the second movement of Beethoven's Sonata No. 8 in C Minor, opus 13 "Pathétique", but songwriting is credited to Simmons and Ezrin.

Destroyer is the first Kiss album to prominently feature outside musicians, such as members of the New York Philharmonic-Symphony Orchestra. One musician not credited was Dick Wagner, from Alice Cooper's band, replacing Ace Frehley on the track "Sweet Pain". Wagner also played the acoustic guitar found on the song "Beth".[6] The success of Alive! and Destroyer enabled the band to embark on their first tour of Europe.

Production[edit]

"Beth" marked a musical departure for Kiss, with its heavy use of an orchestra section. The song became a #7 hit for the group.

This song, with its call-and-response verses and anthemic chorus, is typical of the hard rock songs on Destroyer.

Problems playing these files? See media help.

Rehearsals for Destroyer began in August 1975, while the group was embarked on their supporting tour for Alive!. The band felt that Bob Ezrin was the right person to help them take their sound to the next level and to maintain the commercial success they had achieved with Alive![7]

The first recording sessions for the album took place from September 3–6, 1975 at Electric Lady Studios in New York City, during a brief break between the Dressed to Kill and Alive! tours. The basic album tracks were recorded during this time.[8] The majority of the recording sessions for Destroyer took place in January 1976, after the conclusion of the Alive! tour.[9]

The first demo recorded during the Destroyer sessions was "Ain't None of Your Business"[10] featuring Peter Criss on vocals. The plodding, heavy song, written by country songwriters Becky Hobbs and Lew Anderson, was rejected by the band and later appeared on the 1977 debut album by Michael Des Barres' band Detective. Although this song was rejected, other outside songs and suggestions were accepted by the band. In particular, Kim Fowley and Mark Anthony became important contributors during the songwriting process.,[11] bringing in the title and basic structure of the song "King of the Night Time World" from their previous band Hollywood Stars' then-unreleased 1974 album Shine Like a Radio (which also featured the original version of the Alice Cooper song "Escape" from Welcome to My Nightmare).[12]

During the recording sessions, Ezrin resorted to numerous tactics designed to increase the quality of music Kiss recorded. Because none of the group were trained musicians, Ezrin halted the sessions at one point to provide lessons in basic music theory.[13] In an effort to instill a sense of discipline, he wore a whistle around his neck and exhorted the band with sayings such as, "Campers, we're going to work!".[14] When Simmons stopped playing during the recording of an outro, Ezrin yelled at him, saying, "Don't you ever stop a take unless I tell you!"[15]

Paul Stanley later compared the experience of working with Ezrin as "musical boot camp" but said that the group "came out a lot smarter for it."[16] Simmons echoed the sentiment by stating, "It was exactly what we needed at the time."[17]

Album art[edit]

The cover art for Destroyer was painted by fantasy artist Ken Kelly. Kelly's work was brought to the attention of Simmons, who met with Kelly to discuss ideas for Destroyer. Kelly agreed but asked to see Kiss perform live first to gain inspiration. He was invited to a show and given a backstage pass. He later said of the performance, "It blew me away."[18] Kelly was later commissioned by the band to draw the cover for 1977's Love Gun.

Kelly's original version of the album cover was rejected by the record company because they felt the scene was too violent looking with the rubble and flames. Also, the original version had the members of Kiss wearing the Alive! costumes. The front cover shows the group striding on top of a pile of rubble, and a desolate background spotted with destroyed buildings, some of which are engulfed in flames. The back cover shows a similar scene, but with more buildings on fire. The front of the inner sleeve featured a large Kiss logo and the lyrics to "Detroit Rock City". The other side displayed the lyric "SHOUT IT OUT LOUD", as well as an advertisement for the Kiss Army fan club.

Destroyer: Resurrected[edit]

In anticipation of the 35th anniversary of the release of Destroyer, producer Bob Ezrin approached Simmons and Stanley about doing a remix and re-release of the original album. With their approval, Ezrin acquired the original 16-track analog master tapes and had them digitally transferred for remixing. In addition to re-equalizing elements of each song, Ezrin also added in some parts of tracks that had been omitted from the original mix. Notable among these are some additional vocals on "Detroit Rock City" and "Beth", and the substitution of a guitar solo by Ace Frehley on "Sweet Pain" for the one from the original that had been performed by Dick Wagner. (A version of "Sweet Pain" with Frehley's solo was included as track 6, while the original version with Wagner's solo is appended as a "bonus" track at the end of the new CD.)[19] Ezrin also used digital manipulation to fix an incorrect lyric ("down 95") on "Detroit Rock City". The resulting album, titled Destroyer: Resurrected, was released on August 21, 2012.[20] It featured Ken Kelly's original cover artwork prior to alteration by Casablanca for the 1976 release.

Destroyer: Resurrected met with positive critical reception. William Clark of Guitar International wrote: "Each track sounds crisper, clearer and louder, which are always welcome qualities when you’re listening to a classic album of the likes of Destroyer".[21] The album returned to the Billboard charts, debuting at #11 the week after its re-release.

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars[22]
Blender 5/5 stars[23]
Robert Christgau C+[24]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music 4/5 stars[25]
Pitchfork Media 9.0/10[26]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 3.5/5 stars[27]

Destroyer sold well upon its release on March 15, 1976 and was certified gold on April 22. Although exact sales figures are not known, Stanley stated that the album initially sold 850,000 copies in the US, well in excess of any of Kiss's first three studio albums.[28] After peaking at #11 on the Billboard album chart on May 15, Destroyer quickly fell and by August was at #192.[29] The first three singles—"Shout It Out Loud", "Flaming Youth" and "Detroit Rock City"—failed to ignite sales any further, (though "Shout It Out Loud" did give the band their first #1 record, in Canada). The band and Ezrin cited fan backlash as the reason Destroyer did not meet sales expectations. Ezrin also stated that the "grassroots rock press" was particularly critical of the album.[28]

Rolling Stone referred to "bloated ballads," "pedestrian drumming" and "lackluster performances" in its review.[30] Robert Christgau, writing in The Village Voice, felt that it was Kiss's "least interesting record" and criticized producer Bob Ezrin for adding "only bombast and melodrama."[24] It was not until radio stations started playing the B-side of the "Detroit Rock City" single "Beth," that the album started to sell as expected. The ballad, which according to Simmons was deliberately put on the B-side to force stations to play "Detroit Rock City", started receiving numerous listener requests and became an unexpected hit. "Beth" (co-written and sung by Peter Criss) was re-released as the fourth single in late August, and it peaked at #7 on the Billboard singles chart on September 25. It was the group's first Top 10 song and re-ignited sales of the album. On November 11 Destroyer became the first Kiss album to be certified platinum.[31]

The album has received recognition in later years. In 1989, Kerrang! magazine listed the album at #36 among the "100 Greatest Heavy Metal Albums of All Time".[32] In 2003, it was ranked #489 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. In 2006, it was placed at #60 on Guitar World magazine's list of the 100 Greatest Guitar Albums of All Time.[33] The album was also featured in 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.[34] In The Rolling Stone Album Guide (2004), Rob Sheffield referred to Destroyer as "the inevitable arty concept album, from the drink-smoke-drive-die saga 'Detroit Rock City' to the touching 'Do You Love Me?'".[27] Pitchfork Media's Jason Josephes said that it is "easily one of the best albums in the Kiss canon" and credited Ezrin for ushering along "even more of an art/hard rock album than Kiss' previous efforts."[26]

Destroyer has been reported to have sold between 3 to 4 million by 2012, but has yet to be recertified for that amount; 2 million units have actually been certified in the US.

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Lead vocals Length
1. "Detroit Rock City"   Paul Stanley, Bob Ezrin Stanley 5:17
2. "King of the Night Time World"   Stanley, Kim Fowley, Mark Anthony, Ezrin Stanley 3:19
3. "God of Thunder"   Stanley Simmons 4:13
4. "Great Expectations"   Gene Simmons, Ezrin Simmons 4:24
5. "Flaming Youth"   Ace Frehley, Stanley, Simmons, Ezrin Stanley 2:59
6. "Sweet Pain"   Simmons Simmons 3:20
7. "Shout It Out Loud"   Stanley, Simmons, Ezrin Stanley, Simmons 2:49
8. "Beth"   Peter Criss, Stan Penridge, Ezrin Criss 2:45
9. "Do You Love Me?"   Stanley, Fowley, Ezrin Stanley 3:40
10. "Rock and Roll Party[35]"   Simmons, Stanley, Ezrin Instrumental 1:25
Total length:
34:27
  • "Rock and Roll Party" appears as a hidden track on the original vinyl pressing. It appears a few seconds after "Do You Love Me?".

Destroyer: Resurrected (2012 remix)[edit]

Personnel[edit]

Kiss
Additional musicians

Production[edit]

Cover versions[edit]

"Beth"
"God of Thunder"
"Do You Love Me?"
  • Nirvana made a cover for the Hard to Believe: Kiss Covers Compilation.
  • Girlschool made a cover for Running Wild.
  • Girl included a version on their debut album Sheer Greed
  • The Infamous Unknowns covered the song as a bonus track on Last Week's Trash.

Charts and certifications[edit]

Album[edit]

Chart Peak position
Australia[36] 6
Canada[36] 6
Germany[36] 36
Japan[36] 17
New Zealand[36] 16
Norway[37] 25
Sweden[36] 4
U.K.[36] 22
U.S. Pop Albums[38] 11
U.S. Catalog[39] 4
U.S. Tastemaker[39] 3

Singles[edit]

Year Song Chart positions[40]
Billboard Pop Singles Canadian Singles Chart German Singles Chart Swedish Singles Chart Australian Singles Chart New Zealand Singles Chart
1976 "Shout It Out Loud" 31 1 32 16 45 40
1976 "Flaming Youth" 74 73
1976 "Detroit Rock City" 14
1976 "Beth" 7 5 79

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Sales/shipments
United States (RIAA)[1] 2× Platinum 2,000,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone

[41]

Accolades[edit]

The following information regarding list placements attributed to Destroyer is taken from AcclaimedMusic.net.[42]

Publication Country Accolade Year Rank
Rolling Stone U.S. The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time[43] 2003 496
Blender U.S. The 100 Greatest American Albums of All Time[44] 2002 50
Guitar World U.S. The 100 Greatest Guitar Albums of All Time.[33] 2006 60

(*) designates unordered lists.

Release history[edit]

Country Date Label Format Catalogue number
United States March 15, 1976 Casablanca Records LP NBLP-7025
Canada 1976 Casablanca Records LP NBLP-7025V
United States July 1987 Casablanca/PolyGram CD 824 149-2
United States August 12, 1997 Mercury Records Remastered CD 532 378-2
Worldwide August 21, 2012 Universal Music Group Re-release -

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "American album certifications – Kiss – Destroyer". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH
  2. ^ Leaf and Sharp, Behind the Mask, pp. 67–68.
  3. ^ Gill, Kiss Album Focus, p. 178.
  4. ^ Lendt, Kiss and Sell, pp. 40–41.
  5. ^ Gill, Kiss Album Focus, p. 181.
  6. ^ Leaf and Sharp, Behind the Mask
  7. ^ Gill, Kiss Album Focus, pp. 183–184.
  8. ^ Gooch and Suhs, Kiss Alive Forever, p. 64.
  9. ^ Gill, Kiss Album Focus, p. 185.
  10. ^ http://www.kissfaq.com/multimedia/audio/noneofyourbusiness.mp3
  11. ^ Gill, Kiss Album Focus, pp. 185–189.
  12. ^ "Shine Like A Radio: The Great Lost 1974 Album | Light In The Attic Records". Lightintheattic.net. 2013-10-29. Retrieved 2014-06-13. 
  13. ^ Leaf and Sharp, Behind the Mask, pp. 253–254.
  14. ^ Leaf and Sharp, Behind the Mask, p. 255.
  15. ^ Leaf and Sharp, Behind the Mask, p. 256.
  16. ^ Leaf and Sharp, Behind the Mask, p. 252.
  17. ^ Gill, Kiss Album Focus, p. 188.
  18. ^ "Ken Kelly & Kiss". Retrieved 2007-08-06. 
  19. ^ "Discography - "Destroyer: Resurrected" (2012)". The KissFAQ. Retrieved 2013-09-21. 
  20. ^ "KISS' 'Destroyer' Deluxe Edition Set for August 21 Release". Ultimate Classic Rock. 2012. Retrieved July 8, 2012. 
  21. ^ "Destroyer: Resurrected Breathing New Fire". Guitarinternational.com. Retrieved 2012-09-18. 
  22. ^ Destroyer (Kiss album) at AllMusic
  23. ^ [1][dead link]
  24. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (June 14, 1976). "Christgau's Consumer Guide". The Village Voice (New York). Retrieved May 27, 2013. 
  25. ^ Larkin, Colin (2006). Encyclopedia of Popular Music 4 (4 ed.). Muze. p. 875. ISBN 0195313739. 
  26. ^ a b "Kiss: Destroyer: Pitchfork Review". pitchforkmedia.com. Archived from the original on 2003-02-19. Retrieved 8 August 2011. 
  27. ^ a b Sheffield, Rob et al. (2004). Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian, eds. The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. pp. 460–1. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8. 
  28. ^ a b Leaf and Sharp, Behind the Mask, p. 258.
  29. ^ Gill, Kiss Album Focus, p. 202.
  30. ^ Milward, John (1976-06-03). "Destroyer album review". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2007-08-09. 
  31. ^ Gill, Kiss Album Focus, pp. 203–204.
  32. ^ Barton, Geoff (21 January 1989). "Kiss 'Destroyer'". Kerrang! 222. London: Spotlight Publications Ltd. 
  33. ^ a b "Guitar World's 100 Greatest Guitar Albums Of All Time". Rate Your Music. Retrieved November 11, 2010. 
  34. ^ "1001 Albums You Must Hear – 2008 Edition". rocklistmusic.co.uk. Retrieved 11 April 2012. 
  35. ^ "Destroyer track details". Kissfaq.com. Retrieved 2013-09-21. 
  36. ^ a b c d e f g "The Complete KISS Album Chart Action, 1974–". The KISSFAQ. Retrieved 2007-08-06. 
  37. ^ Steffen Hung. "KISS - Destroyer". swisscharts.com. Retrieved 2014-06-13. 
  38. ^ "Destroyer Charts & Awards". Allmusic. Retrieved 2007-08-06. 
  39. ^ a b "Destroyer Billboard Charts". 
  40. ^ "Singles Chart positions from". Kissfaq. Retrieved 2014-06-13. 
  41. ^ "Recording Industry Association of America - June 12, 2014". RIAA. Retrieved 2014-06-13. 
  42. ^ "Destroyer". Acclaimed Music. Retrieved 2007-08-06. 
  43. ^ "The RS 500 Greatest Albums of All Time". Rolling Stone. 2003. Retrieved 2007-08-06. 
  44. ^ "100 GREATEST AMERICAN ALBUMS – KISS #50". Kiss Online. 2003. Archived from the original on 2007-10-31. Retrieved 2007-08-06. 
Bibliography
  • Gill, Julian (2005). The Kiss Album Focus, Volume 1 (3rd Edition). Xlibris Corporation. ISBN 1-4134-8547-2. 
  • Gooch, Curt; Jeff Suhs (2002). Kiss Alive Forever: The Complete Touring History. New York: Billboard Books. ISBN 0-8230-8322-5. 
  • Leaf, David; Ken Sharp (2003). Kiss: Behind the Mask: The Official Authorized Biography. New York: Warner Books. ISBN 0-446-53073-5. 

External links[edit]