Unmasked (Kiss album)

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Unmasked
Studio album by Kiss
Released May 20, 1980
Recorded January – March 1980 at The Record Plant Studios, New York City
Genre Pop rock, hard rock
Length 39:46
Label Casablanca
Producer Vini Poncia
Kiss chronology
Dynasty
(1979)
Unmasked
(1980)
Music from "The Elder"
(1981)
Singles from Unmasked
  1. "Shandi"
    Released: June 1, 1980
  2. "Talk to Me"
    Released: August 24, 1980
  3. "Tomorrow"
    Released: November 1, 1980

Unmasked is the eighth studio album by American hard rock band Kiss, released in 1980. It was the last studio album to feature the original lineup of Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons, Ace Frehley and Peter Criss until the band reunited. Criss actually had no involvement with the recording of the album; Anton Fig (uncredited) played all the drums on the album.

Album information[edit]

The band filmed a promotional video for "Shandi" with Peter Criss. It was the last time he appeared with Kiss until he performed with them at a Kiss Convention on June 17, 1995. In the band's authorized biography, he revealed that he was the last one left in the band's dressing room after filming and broke down crying.[1] A lip-synched German television performance of "Talk to Me" and "She's So European" featured the debut of Eric Carr, who became the band's permanent drummer until his death in 1991. The band would play a concert at the Palladium Theatre in New York to officially introduce Carr as Criss' permanent replacement in the band.

The album features substantial songwriting contributions from Vini Poncia, who had previously been Ringo Starr's post-Beatles songwriting partner. The album marked the first time Kiss had used the contributions of outside songwriters to such a large extent, as all but the two Ace Frehley contributions were written or co-written by someone outside the band.

The album's songs have been largely ignored on live performances, with the exception of "Shandi", which is sometimes played in the band's shows, particularly in Australia (where the song became a top ten hit in 1980). "Talk to Me" was played in 2001 during the Australian and Japanese concerts of the Farewell Tour, and has not been performed again since the departure of Frehley. The album cover and poster insert were designed by artist Victor Stabin and featured a winking Peter Criss.

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 2/5 stars[2]
Vista Records 4/5 stars
3/5 stars[3]
Sputnikmusic 4/5 stars[4]
Rolling Stone 1/5 stars[5]
Pitchfork (0.8/10)[6]

Unmasked marked a major departure musically for the band. It reached #35 on the US Billboard chart[7] and was certified gold by the RIAA on July 30, 1980.[8] The album marked another departure for Kiss, as this was the first album since 1977's Love Gun not to feature all members on vocals, excluding the four solo releases in 1978.[1]

One year after their last tour, which was somewhat a disaster, Criss was fired from the band due to his erratic behavior. Unmasked was the first album that failed to reach platinum status since 1975's Dressed to Kill. Kiss only played one show in the US, at the Palladium with Eric Carr. The band decided to take a break from the US because the album was more successful in other countries, and Kiss played in Australia, England, New Zealand, Germany, France, and Italy.

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Lead vocals Length
1. "Is That You?"   Gerard McMahon Paul Stanley 3:59
2. "Shandi"   Stanley, Vini Poncia Stanley 3:36
3. "Talk to Me"   Ace Frehley Frehley 4:00
4. "Naked City"   Gene Simmons, Poncia, Bob Kulick, Pepe Castro Simmons 3:49
5. "What Makes the World Go 'Round"   Stanley, Poncia Stanley 4:14
6. "Tomorrow"   Stanley, Poncia Stanley 3:18
7. "Two Sides of the Coin"   Frehley Frehley 3:16
8. "She's So European"   Simmons, Poncia Simmons 3:30
9. "Easy As It Seems"   Stanley, Poncia Stanley 3:24
10. "Torpedo Girl"   Frehley, Poncia Frehley 3:31
11. "You're All That I Want"   Simmons, Poncia Simmons 3:04

Personnel[edit]

Credited personnel[edit]

  • Paul Stanley - rhythm guitar, vocals, bass guitar on "Tomorrow" and "Easy As It Seems", lead guitar on "Is That You?", "What Makes the World Go 'Round", "Tomorrow" and "Easy As It Seems", all guitars on "Shandi"
  • Ace Frehley - lead guitar on "Talk to Me", "Two Sides of the Coin", She's So European", Torpedo Girl", and "You're All That I Want", vocals (bass guitar on "Talk to Me", "Two Sides of the Coin" and "Torpedo Girl")
  • Gene Simmons - bass guitar, vocals
  • Peter Criss - drums (credit only)

Uncredited personnel[edit]

Touring personnel[edit]

Charts[edit]

Album
Chart (1980) Peak
position
Australian Albums Chart[9] 3
Austrian Albums Chart[10] 3
Canadian Albums Chart[11] 12
Dutch Albums Chart[12] 5
German Albums Chart[13] 4
Italian Albums Chart[14] 11
New Zealand Albums Chart[15] 1
Norwegian Albums Chart[16] 1
Spanish Albums Chart[17] 11
Swedish Albums Chart[18] 17
UK Albums Chart[19] 48
US Billboard Pop Albums[20] 35


Singles

Year Nation Single Chart Position
1980 United States "Shandi" Billboard Pop Singles 47[21]
Australia Pop Singles 10[citation needed]
Austria Pop Singles 5[22]
"Talk to Me" Pop Singles 39[citation needed]
Canada "Shandi" RPM 100 Singles 69[23]
Germany Pop Singles 28[citation needed]
"Talk to Me" Pop Singles 32[citation needed]
"Tomorrow" Pop Singles 70[citation needed]
Holland "Shandi" Pop Singles 24[citation needed]
"Talk to Me" Pop Singles 39[24]
Norway "Shandi" Pop Singles 4[22]
New Zealand Pop Singles 6[22]
Switzerland "Talk to Me" Pop Singles 10[24]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Sales/shipments
Canada (Music Canada)[25] Gold 50,000^
United States (RIAA)[8] Gold 500,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Leaf, David and Ken Sharp. KISS: Behind the Mask: The Official Authorized Biography, Warner Books, 2003. ISBN 0-446-53073-5
  2. ^ Unmasked (Kiss album) at AllMusic
  3. ^ "VISTA RECORDS - KISS - Unmasked (1980)". Vistarecords.proboards.com. Retrieved 2011-08-13. 
  4. ^ "KISS - Unmasked (album review)". Sputnikmusic. 2010-01-01. Retrieved 2011-08-13. 
  5. ^ "Kiss: Album Guide | Rolling Stone Music". Rollingstone.com. Retrieved 2011-08-13. 
  6. ^ "Internet Archive Wayback Machine". Web.archive.org. 2003-06-26. Retrieved 2011-08-13. 
  7. ^ "AllMusic Billboard Unmasked". Retrieved 2009-01-27. 
  8. ^ a b "American album certifications – Kiss – Unmasked". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH
  9. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6. 
  10. ^ http://swisscharts.com/showitem.asp?interpret=KISS&titel=Unmasked&cat=a
  11. ^ "Search - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". collectionscanada.gc.ca. Retrieved 9 August 2011. 
  12. ^ http://swisscharts.com/showitem.asp?interpret=KISS&titel=Unmasked&cat=a
  13. ^ http://swisscharts.com/showitem.asp?interpret=KISS&titel=Unmasked&cat=a
  14. ^ http://www.hitparadeitalia.it/hp_yenda/lpe1980.htm
  15. ^ http://swisscharts.com/showitem.asp?interpret=KISS&titel=Unmasked&cat=a
  16. ^ http://swisscharts.com/showitem.asp?interpret=KISS&titel=Unmasked&cat=a
  17. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2. 
  18. ^ http://swisscharts.com/showitem.asp?interpret=KISS&titel=Unmasked&cat=a
  19. ^ http://www.officialcharts.com/artist/_/kiss/
  20. ^ "Kiss Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums" at AllMusic. Retrieved February 11, 2010.
  21. ^ "AllMusic Billboard singles". Retrieved 2009-01-27. 
  22. ^ a b c "Lescharts.com". Retrieved 2010-05-15. 
  23. ^ "RPM Magazine 100 singles". Retrieved 2010-03-19. 
  24. ^ a b "Lescharts.com". Retrieved 2010-05-15. 
  25. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Kiss – Unmasked". Music Canada.