Creatures of the Night

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Creatures of the Night
COTN album cover.jpg
Cover photo by Bernard Vidal
Studio album by
ReleasedOctober 28, 1982 (1982-10-28)
RecordedJuly–September 1982
StudioThe Record Plant and Record One, Los Angeles
Media Sound, New York City
GenreHeavy metal
Length38:47
LabelCasablanca
ProducerMichael James Jackson, Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons
Kiss chronology
Killers
(1982)
Creatures of the Night
(1982)
Lick It Up
(1983)
Singles from Creatures of the Night
  1. "I Love It Loud"
    Released: October 13, 1982
  2. "Killer"
    Released: November 1982
  3. "Creatures of the Night"
    Released: April 1983
Alternative cover
The 1985 re-release cover pictures then-new lead guitarist Bruce Kulick (bottom right).
The 1985 re-release cover pictures then-new lead guitarist Bruce Kulick (bottom right).

Creatures of the Night is the tenth studio album by American rock band Kiss, released in 1982. It was the band's last for Casablanca Records, the only label for which Kiss had recorded up to that point. The album was dedicated to the memory of Casablanca founder and early Kiss supporter Neil Bogart,[1] who had died of cancer during the recording sessions. It is also the band's last album recorded with Ace Frehley credited as an official member and their first album with Vinnie Vincent, as the initially uncredited lead guitarist. Vincent would later be credited but not featured on the cover of the 1985 reissue of the album. It was also Kiss' last album to feature the band with their trademark makeup until their 1998 release Psycho Circus.

Background[edit]

By 1982, Kiss's popularity in the US had plummeted due to changing musical tastes and their near abandonment of hard rock. 1979's Dynasty, while commercially successful, alienated many fans with the disco-flavored track "I Was Made for Lovin' You." 1980's Unmasked fell further into pop music and was Kiss's first album not to achieve platinum status since 1975's Dressed to Kill. The band did not even tour the US for Unmasked, and it also soon faced its first lineup change: founding member Peter Criss, who had not participated in any of the Unmasked recording sessions, officially left Kiss in 1980 and was replaced by Eric Carr.[2][3]

Fan hopes were raised in late 1980 when Kiss announced that they were going to record their heaviest record yet. Instead, the band released Music from "The Elder" in late 1981, a concept album originally intended to complement a film called The Elder that was ultimately never filmed. The album did not improve the band's status, and on the contrary, further alienated their US fanbase, failed to achieve gold status, and having cancelled their US Unmasked Tour just a short time before, the band then called off the planned tour for Music from "The Elder."[2]

Kiss's label situation had changed as well. Casablanca Records founder Neil Bogart had sold the label to its distributor PolyGram in 1980, and went on to briefly form Boardwalk Records before being diagnosed with and later succumbing to cancer.[4] Using a clause in their Casablanca contract that gave the band an option to leave the label if Bogart did, Kiss became free agents and signed a multimillion-dollar deal with Mercury Records. Mercury, a label also owned by PolyGram, reverted the band to their "old" label, though in name only.[5]

Composition and recording[edit]

The album represented a conscious effort by Kiss to return to the hard rock style that had helped them achieve commercial success with Destroyer (1976) and Love Gun (1977).[6] The first key ingredient was songwriter/guitarist Vinnie Vincent, who was soon to replace Frehley as the band's new lead guitarist after being introduced to the band by album co-writer Adam Mitchell.[7]

Musically, the progressive rock of Music from "The Elder" and the pop of Dynasty and Unmasked were completely absent from Creatures of the Night, making it the heaviest album the group had made at that point.[8][9] Paul Stanley called Kiss "a heavy metal band" in 1982.[10] "I Still Love You", the only ballad on Creatures of the Night, was still heavier and darker than any ballad Kiss had released in earlier years. Also contributing to the heavy sound was Carr's drumming style, which was more similar to John Bonham's drumming than to Criss' jazz-influenced style.[11] Creatures of the Night is the first Kiss album to have all lead vocal duties handled by either Gene Simmons or Stanley exclusively. All previous studio releases by the group contained at least one song with lead vocals by another band member.

Kiss had used "ghost players" on previous albums, most notably Bob Kulick (Alive II and Killers) and Dick Wagner (Destroyer), but Vincent handled most of the lead guitar as a session player and co-writer before being added as the full-time replacement for Frehley, though as an employee and not a full member (like Carr). Blues guitarist Robben Ford, a friend of the album's producer Michael James Jackson, contributed two solos in what he described as one of his weirdest gigs.[12] Mr. Mister guitarist Steve Farris (who was considered as a replacement for Frehley but was thought to not have "the right look") provided the solo and lead fills to the title track.[13] Co-writer Mitchell also contributed guitar work to the title track. Though often given credit for playing the solos on "Keep Me Comin'" and "Danger", Kulick admitted in a 2011 interview that none of the studio work he did on Creatures of the Night made it to the album;[14] this confirmed the same from an earlier Mitchell interview.[15] Jimmy Haslip (former member of Blackjack) declared in 2008 that he was invited by James Jackson to record five songs (Simmons allegedly refused to play his bass parts due to the end of his relationship with Diana Ross), but Haslip only confirmed that he recorded "Danger."[16]

Though Ace Frehley did not play on the album, his face was still featured on the album cover for contractual and commercial reasons. Frehley had been pushing the band to do a heavy rock record since Dynasty, and by the time of Creatures of the Night, he was fully disillusioned with the band; alcoholism and a prescription medicine dependency (begun after a car wreck) led to him not participating in the recording sessions. In fact, when recording sessions for Creatures of the Night began in July 1982, Kiss was essentially a trio. It was only after the album was released and a short promotional tour of Europe was completed that Frehley officially left Kiss.[8] The lead guitar replacement for Frehley for the Creatures of the Night Tour/10th Anniversary Tour in the US was Vincent, adopting his Egyptian Ankh makeup, hastily designed by Stanley.

Speaking to Record Mirror in 1982, Stanley explained the album title as "Basically, we feel that everybody is a creature of the night. We're all less inhibited and we're all vampires. The night makes people feel free and then by the cold light of dawn we crawl home to our coffins to behave like normal people during the day."[6]

Artwork[edit]

It has been speculated that the original 1982 cover was modeled after the 1979 children's book, I Can Read About Creatures of the Night.[17]

Three official variations on the album artwork exist: the 1982 original issue; the 1985 reissue, featuring Stanley, Carr, Gene Simmons, and then-current guitarist Bruce Kulick—who did not play on the album—all without make-up; and the 1997 remastered version (same photo as the original, but with minor variations in the logo and lettering). There is also a bootlegged LP that claims to be a Brazilian promo version that features Vincent in make-up airbrushed over Frehley.

Promotion[edit]

The band released a video for "I Love It Loud", which received moderate airplay on MTV. In it was a stage set up that featured Carr's drum kit as a giant metallic tank with an exploding turret. Flames and explosions were also in abundance. Frehley did appear in the video as the rhythm guitarist, with Stanley shown playing the seven-note solo.

The album is the band's most represented of their 1980s material over the course of their career in their live setlists by a wide margin and it is their 4th most represented album overall. "I Love It Loud" is a setlist staple performed at nearly all of their shows, with over 1500 performances, and "War Machine" has also been played on most of their tours, having been performed over 900 times. In addition, the album's title track and "I Still Love You" have both been performed over 300 times each.[18]

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic[19]
Collector's Guide to Heavy Metal7/10[20]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music[21]
Pitchfork1.5/10[22]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide[23]

Despite positive reviews, the album did not return the band to the commercial success they had held five years prior. Despite charting higher than The Elder (No. 45, compared to The Elder's No. 75),[24] Creatures of the Night would not attain gold status until 1994.[25] The album would receive critical recognition, with both Kerrang! and Guitar World magazines placing the album at No. 5 on their lists of best hard rock albums in 1982.[26][27] In 2022, Creatures of the Night was named No. 4 of 'The 25 greatest rock guitar albums of 1982' list in Guitar World.[28]

Carr noted in an interview that Creatures was his favorite Kiss record that he played on.[29] Stanley and Simmons, who have generally been dismissive of the band's post-1977 albums, consider Creatures to be one of their stronger efforts.[citation needed]

Creatures of the Night was certified gold by the RIAA on May 9, 1994.[25] It was certified gold in Brazil in 1983 for sales of 100,000 copies.[30]

Track listing[edit]

Side one
No.TitleWriter(s)Lead vocalsLength
1."Creatures of the Night"Paul Stanley, Adam MitchellStanley4:02
2."Saint and Sinner"Gene Simmons, Mikel JappSimmons4:50
3."Keep Me Comin'"Stanley, MitchellStanley3:55
4."Rock and Roll Hell"Simmons, Bryan Adams, Jim VallanceSimmons4:11
5."Danger"Stanley, MitchellStanley3:54
Side two
No.TitleWriter(s)Lead vocalsLength
6."I Love It Loud"Simmons, Vinnie VincentSimmons4:15
7."I Still Love You"Stanley, VincentStanley6:06
8."Killer"Simmons, VincentSimmons3:19
9."War Machine"Simmons, Adams, VallanceSimmons4:14
  • On the 1985 non-make-up release, the song "Creatures of the Night" is remixed, and "Saint and Sinner" and "Killer" are interchanged from side to side with each other. Also, for the 1985 reissue, engineer Dave Wittman remixed three tracks: "Creatures of the Night", "I Love It Loud" and "War Machine".
  • Some of the earliest pressings of the album mistakenly contained one full side of John Cougar's American Fool. Both Kiss and Cougar were under the umbrella of Mercury Records at the time.

Personnel[edit]

Charts[edit]

Album[edit]

Chart (1982) Peak
position
Australian Albums (Kent Music Report)[33] 33
Dutch Albums (Album Top 100)[34] 34
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[35] 42
Japanese Albums (Oricon)[36] 39
Norwegian Albums (VG-lista)[37] 31
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)[38] 22
UK Albums (OCC)[39] 22
US Billboard 200[40] 45

Singles[edit]

Year Single Chart Position
1982 "Creatures of the Night" UK Singles Chart[41] 34

Certifications and sales[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Brazil 120,000[42]
United States (RIAA)[25] Gold 500,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.

Release history[edit]

  • Casablanca NBLP-7270: LP
  • Casablanca NBLS-7270: Cassette
  • Casablanca NBL8-7270: 8-track

References[edit]

  1. ^ Kiss (1982). Creatures of the Night (LP Sleeve). New York City, New York: Casablanca Records. NBLP 7270.
  2. ^ a b Gooch, Curt; Suhs, Jeff (2002). Kiss Alive Forever: The Complete Touring History. New York City, New York: Billboard Books. ISBN 978-0-82-308322-0.
  3. ^ Lendt, C. K. (1997). Kiss and Sell: The Making of a Supergroup. New York City, New York: Billboard Books. ISBN 978-0-82-307604-8.
  4. ^ "Neil Bogart, entertainment executive, dead at 39". The New York Times. May 9, 1982. p. 32. Retrieved March 29, 2022.
  5. ^ Harris, Larry; Gooch, Curt; Suhs, Jeff (2009). And Party Every Day: The Inside Story of Casablanca Records. New York, New York: Backbeat Books. ISBN 978-1-61-713383-1. Retrieved March 29, 2022.
  6. ^ a b Smith, Robin (December 18, 1982). "Getting Tanked Up". Record Mirror. Vol. 29, no. 51. p. 39. Retrieved March 29, 2022.
  7. ^ Albanese, Ron (1999). "In Honor of Eric Carr: The Adam Mitchell Interview". KISS Asylum.com. Retrieved March 29, 2022.
  8. ^ a b Sharpe-Young, Garry; Reynolds, Dave (2009). "Kiss biography". MusicMight. Archived from the original on April 20, 2016. Retrieved March 29, 2022.
  9. ^ Elliott, Paul (May 29, 2016). "Kiss albums ranked from worst to best". Classic Rock. Retrieved March 31, 2022.
  10. ^ Simmons, Sylvie (December 18, 1982). "Kiss: Creature Feature". Sounds. Retrieved March 30, 2022.
  11. ^ Rubin, Jon (November 8, 1989). "Kiss Rocks' exclusive 1989 interview with Eric Carr". Kiss Rocks.net. Retrieved March 29, 2022.
  12. ^ "D'Addario: Robben Ford on His Weirdest Gig" (MP4). D'Addario and Co. January 11, 2013. Retrieved March 29, 2022.
  13. ^ Dale, Chris (March 25, 2016). "Jimmy Undiscovered kisstory – The Kiss guitarist auditions of 1982 part 2". Metal Talk.net. Retrieved March 29, 2022.
  14. ^ Sirjala, Marko (December 15, 2011). "Bob Kulick – producer, guitarist – interview part2". Metal Rules. Retrieved March 29, 2022.
  15. ^ Degraffenreid, Joe (June 29, 1999). "Adam Mitchell Interview 6/29/99 -- KISS Hell Exclusive". KISS Asylum.com. Retrieved March 29, 2022.
  16. ^ Nikas, Sakis; Kostopoulos, Louis (2008). "Jimmy Haslip Interview". Rockpages.gr. Archived from the original on March 20, 2008. Retrieved March 29, 2022.
  17. ^ Arquette, Peter (August 29, 2013). "1982 KISS Creatures of the Night album cover and title song inspired by 1979 children's book". KISS Asylum.com. Retrieved March 29, 2022.
  18. ^ "KISS Album Statistics | setlist.fm". setlist.fm.
  19. ^ Prato, Greg. "Kiss - Creatures of the Night review". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved March 28, 2022.
  20. ^ Popoff, Martin (November 1, 2005). The Collector's Guide to Heavy Metal: Volume 2: The Eighties. Burlington, Ontario, Canada: Collector's Guide Publishing. p. 187. ISBN 978-1-89-495931-5.
  21. ^ Larkin, Colin (2006). Encyclopedia of Popular Music. Vol. 4 (4 ed.). Muze. p. 875. ISBN 978-0-19-531373-4.
  22. ^ Josephes, Jason. "Kiss: Creatures of the Night". Pitchfork. Archived from the original on February 19, 2003. Retrieved August 8, 2011.
  23. ^ "Kiss: Album Guide". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on June 27, 2011. Retrieved September 4, 2011.
  24. ^ "Kiss Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved February 3, 2022.
  25. ^ a b c "American album certifications – Kiss – Creatures of the Night". Recording Industry Association of America.
  26. ^ "Kerrang!'s list of hard rock albums in 1982". Retrieved April 10, 2011.
  27. ^ Grassi, Tony (August 16, 2011). "Readers Poll: Top 10 Guitar Albums of 1982". Guitar World. Retrieved March 30, 2022.
  28. ^ Prato, Greg (March 2, 2022). "The 25 greatest rock guitar albums of 1982". Guitar World. Retrieved March 27, 2022.
  29. ^ Valentino, Thomas (October 1989). "Eric Carr Interview". KISS Asylum.com. Retrieved March 30, 2022.
  30. ^ "Quem KISS Teve – Parte 3". YouTube. Retrieved January 7, 2012.
  31. ^ "#KISS #WeAreStrongWithYou Песня.. | KISS Army | VK".
  32. ^ "#KISS #WeAreStrongWithYou Эдам Митчелл.. | KISS Army | VK".
  33. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  34. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Kiss – Creatures of the Night" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 2 April 2019.
  35. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Kiss – Creatures of the Night" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 2 April 2019.
  36. ^ Oricon Album Chart Book: Complete Edition 1970–2005 (in Japanese). Roppongi, Tokyo: Oricon Entertainment. 2006. ISBN 4-87131-077-9.
  37. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – Kiss – Creatures of the Night". Hung Medien. Retrieved 2 April 2019.
  38. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Kiss – Creatures of the Night". Hung Medien. Retrieved 2 April 2019.
  39. ^ "Kiss | Artist | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart. Retrieved 22 April 2018.
  40. ^ "Kiss Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved 2 April 2019.
  41. ^ "Official Charts Company". www.officialcharts.com. Retrieved February 25, 2019.
  42. ^ "Brazil - Viva Latino! - Talent Seeks". Billboard. Vol. 97, no. 4. January 26, 1985. p. VL-24. Retrieved September 24, 2021 – via World Radio History.

External links[edit]