Unmasked (Kiss album)

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Kiss Unmasked Album Cover.jpg
Studio album by Kiss
Released May 20, 1980
Recorded January – March 1980
Studio The Record Plant Studios, New York City
Genre Hard rock, pop rock
Length 39:46
Label Casablanca
Producer Vini Poncia
Kiss chronology
Music from "The Elder"
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 in 1996. Criss had no involvement with the recording of the album; Anton Fig (uncredited) played all the drums on the album.

Album information[edit]

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 Frehley contributions, "Talk to Me" and "Two Sides of the Coin", were written or co-written by someone outside the band.

The band filmed a promotional video for "Shandi" with 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] The album cover and poster insert, designed by artist Victor Stabin, featured a winking Criss. "Unmasked was like the tail end of a comet," reflected Stanley, "and I don't mean Frehley's."[2]

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 City to officially introduce Carr as Criss' permanent replacement in the band. Kiss then toured Europe and Australia (where they're popularity was at an all time high) and played "Is That You?", "Talk to Me", "Shandi" and for a short time, "You're All That I Want" Otherwise, he album's songs have been largely ignored in 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 also played in 2001 during the Australian and Japanese concerts of the Farewell Tour but has not been performed again since the departure of Frehley.

Heavy metal singer Jørn Lande covered "Naked City" on the album Unlocking the Past (2007). In 1999, Germany label Aor Heaven released a compilation with various artists covering the entire album, it was named "Undressed An Unmasked Tribute To Kiss".


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 2/5 stars[3]
Vista Records 4/5 stars
3/5 stars[4]
Sputnikmusic 4/5 stars[5]
Rolling Stone 1/5 stars[6]
Pitchfork (0.8/10)[7]

Unmasked marked a major departure musically for the band. It reached #35 on the US Billboard chart[8] and was certified gold by the RIAA on July 30, 1980.[9]

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 1976's Destroyer. Kiss played only one show in the US, at the Palladium with 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, Sweden, Netherlands, Norway, Denmark, 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



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

Additional musicians


Chart (1980) Peak
Australian Albums Chart[10] 3
Austrian Albums Chart[11] 3
Canadian Albums Chart[12] 12
Dutch Albums Chart[11] 13
German Albums Chart[11] 4
Italian Albums Chart[13] 11
New Zealand Albums Chart[11] 1
Norwegian Albums Chart[11] 1
Spanish Albums Chart[14] 11
Swedish Albums Chart[11] 17
Swiss Albums Chart[11] 8
UK Albums Chart[15] 48
US Billboard Pop Albums[16] 35


Year Nation Single Chart Position
1980 United States "Shandi" Billboard Pop Singles 47[17]
Australia Pop Singles 10[citation needed]
Austria Pop Singles 5[18]
"Talk to Me" Pop Singles 39[citation needed]
Canada "Shandi" RPM 100 Singles 69[19]
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[20]
Norway "Shandi" Pop Singles 4[18]
New Zealand Pop Singles 6[18]
Switzerland "Talk to Me" Pop Singles 10[20]


Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Canada (Music Canada)[21] Gold 50,000^
United States (RIAA)[9] Gold 500,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone


  1. ^ Leaf, David; Sharp, Ken (2003). Kiss: Behind the Mask: The Official Authorized Biography. Warner Books. ISBN 0-446-53073-5. 
  2. ^ Kitts, Jeff: 'Back in black (and white)', Guitar World, September 1996, p68
  3. ^ Unmasked at AllMusic
  4. ^ "Kiss - Unmasked (1980)". Vista Records. Retrieved 2011-08-13. 
  5. ^ "Kiss - Unmasked (album review)". Sputnikmusic. January 1, 2010. Retrieved 2011-08-13. 
  6. ^ "Kiss: Album Guide". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2011-08-13. 
  7. ^ "Kiss: Unmasked". Pitchfork Media. June 26, 2003. Archived from the original on June 26, 2003. Retrieved 2011-08-13. 
  8. ^ "AllMusic Billboard Unmasked". Retrieved 2009-01-27. 
  9. ^ 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
  10. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6. 
  11. ^ a b c d e f g Steffen Hung. "Kiss - Unmasked". swisscharts.com. Retrieved 2016-04-03. 
  12. ^ "Search - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". collectionscanada.gc.ca. Retrieved 2011-08-09. 
  13. ^ "Hit Parade Italia - Album 1980". Hitparadeitalia.it. Retrieved 2016-04-03. 
  14. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2. 
  15. ^ "Kiss | Official Charts Company". Officialcharts.com. January 4, 2016. Retrieved 2016-04-03. 
  16. ^ "Kiss Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums" at AllMusic. Retrieved 2010-02-11.
  17. ^ "AllMusic Billboard singles". Retrieved 2009-01-27. 
  18. ^ a b c "Kiss - Shandi". Lescharts.com. Retrieved 2010-05-15. 
  19. ^ "RPM Magazine 100 singles". Retrieved 2010-03-19. 
  20. ^ a b "Kiss - Talk to Me". Lescharts.com. Retrieved 2010-05-15. 
  21. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Kiss – Unmasked". Music Canada.