Love Gun – Kiss Album #6

Side one
No. Title Writer(s) Lead vocals Length
1. I Stole Your Love Paul Stanley Stanley 3:04
2. Christine Sixteen Gene Simmons Simmons 3:14
3. Got Love for Sale Simmons Simmons 3:29
4. Shock Me Ace Frehley Frehley 3:49
5. Tomorrow and Tonight Stanley Stanley 3:40
Side two
No. Title Writer(s) Lead vocals Length
6. Love Gun Stanley Stanley 3:18
7. Hooligan Peter Criss, Stan Penridge Criss 3:01
8. Almost Human Simmons Simmons 2:49
9. Plaster Caster Simmons Simmons 3:27
10. Then She Kissed Me Jeff Barry, Ellie Greenwich, Phil Spector Stanley 3:02

Love Gun is the sixth studio album released by the American hard rock band Kiss in 1977 on Casablanca Records. So it was the seventh release of the band at the label. The recordings made on the subsequent tour formed the basis for the live album Alive II.

The musical band history of Kiss knows several distinct phases. From 1974 to 1976, the band recorded five studio albums with Kiss, Hotter Than Hell, Dressed to Kill, Destroyer, Rock and Roll Over, which showed their typical Hard Rock comparatively consistently and without major deviations. In this time also fell a very successful live album, namely 1975 Alive !. In particular, this album made the band suddenly known to a large audience. Love Gun can be considered the final studio album of this first phase, as the group followed the release of their second live album, Alive II, in the development of pop music and followed with the next joint studio album, Dynasty, the disco trend.

The shootings for Love Gun took place from May 2 to 22, 1977 under the direction of producer Eddie Kramer in Record Plant Studios in New York, the budget was at that time for high 94,000 US dollars. However, this sum was not enough to cover the actual costs, and according to his contract, Eddie Kramer would have been obliged to pay out of his own pocket the $ 19,968 overdraft. On June 21, 1977, the members of Kiss decided to share this sum with Kramer, because the overdraft on the budget had not been his fault alone.

Love Gun is the first full-length album to feature on every member of the group for at least one song. While Peter Criss had previously sung individual tracks, Ace Frehley on Love Gun made his debut as a lead vocalist on the play written by him Shock Me, which was inspired by an accident that Frehley had on the Rock and Roll Over tour: Kiss On December 12, 1976, in Lakeland, Florida, Frehley touched an ungrounded railing with his hand and received an electric shock. The concert could be continued after a short break.

Frehley was very nervous when it came on May 17, 1977 to record the song for Shock Me. This nervousness was also the reason why he had always refused to sing his songs, even though he had already written titles for the band’s second album, Hotter than Hell. For Rock and Roll Over the title Queen for a Day was born, which Frehley was to sing, but at the last moment he renounced, and the song was never released. The vocal recordings for Shock Me he made in darkened light lying on his back to cope with his nervousness.

Peter Criss’s piece on the album was Hooligan, which he had written with Stan Penridge. Kramer motivated Criss to sing the song as he had imagined and was thrilled by the performance. The recording took place on May 12, 1977, and Criss had to edit parts of the text in the studio to adapt to the music.

Love Gun also included a cover version of the play Then He Kissed Me, the pop classic of The Crystals (1969), which was retyped for Kiss in Then She Kissed Me. The band also considered recording Go Now by The Moody Blues or Jailhouse Rock for the album, but ultimately opted for the title written by Phil Spector, Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich. The cover of the album was drawn by Ken Kelly and shows Kiss standing above four steps between two pillars, surrounded by sitting on the floor, scarce and masked with white make-up dark-haired women who look up to the members of the group. As a protective cover for the record a colored inner cover was used, which showed a marble surface on which, apparently with blood, the word “kiss” was written. As a bonus, the buyers of the first edition received a cardboard sheet with the “Kiss Love Gun” (a craft bow, which ended up with a pistol with a flagged flag and the word “Bang”) and an order form for merchandise articles.

Love Gun appeared in the US on June 17, 1977 (in Germany on June 30, 1977) and was immediately awarded gold and platinum for 1,000,000 units sold. The album reached number four on the Billboard 200, but was here, as in previous albums of the group, Payola in the game. The singles featured Christine Sixteen (Billboard Hot 100: # 25; Cashbox: 58) and Love Gun (Billboard Hot 100: # 61; Cashbox: 58).