Pros: KISS music released originally at a magical KISS time. Good quality remaster.
Cons: Nerdy sex lyrics, besides this, nothing.
A brief look back at the times when KISS recorded this album.
KISS, very successful on tour, yet the brand new record company almost went bankrupt the year before KISS released this LP, Rock and Roll Over. Then toward the end of 1975, KISS decided it to be wise to release a live album, the strategy being that people love the show, maybe they'll buy this album.
So, KISS recruits Eddie Kramer to produce their double live release, Alive! and it sells like hot cakes. KISS is now a rock and roll force that is finally in the game of big money and big fame.
KISS desired to keep the money machine rolling so they hired big shot rock and roll producer Bob Ezrin for their follow up to Alive!.
The result was the successful Destroyer. KISS was bigger than ever. Fans of their first three albums couldn't believe that this is the same KISS they were hearing.
In a couple of ways, this wasn't the same KISS. Bob Ezrin was not used to producing such a musically sloppy band. He would demand perfection during recording and this was hardest on drummer Peter Criss and lead guitarist Ace Frehely. As a result Ace did not play on all of the nine songs from Destroyer. A session guitarist would be brought in at times like these, such as Rick Derringer or Bob Kulick. Peter and Ace's frustrations with the band KISS, mainly started with the recording of this album.
To ease tension within the band, KISS decided to get Eddie Kramer back in the producer's chair. Eddie was the producer from KISS's very first demo back in 1973.
KISS calls this album, a 'return to KISS rock and roll' but what it is chiefly, it's a space for Ace and Peter to goof off some more. Don't get me wrong, this album did not come out amateurish or silly, (well maybe a little silly), but Ace and Peter weren't sitting at their school desks with their hands folded either.
KISS and Eddie Kramer entered the empty Star Theater in Nanuet New York and recorded this album, Rock and Roll Over. Eddie Kramer chose a big theater to record this album so that KISS could try and create a "live" atmosphere. Due to the fact that this album had Eddie Kramer at the helm, this is one of the few albums that have all four original members playing on every song.
KISS have ten studio albums (if you count ALIVE II side 4) officially credited to the original members musical chops, yet only five of these albums have the original four Ace, Paul Gene and Peter playing their instruments on every song. You see, if it weren't for drugs or playing your instruments right, we would have had a different KISS today maybe.
KISS released Rock and Roll Over on November 11, 1976 and this was the first LP released by KISS to ship platinum status. The album reached a chart high of #11 on the pop album charts.
I Want You is a superb way to kick off an album. The song starts with a couple of acoustic guitars and a serenading voice by Paul Stanley. Then the song kicks into a heavy rocking tune which includes drums with flange and a small guitar solo by Paul before Ace takes over and plays the second half of the measures allotted for the solo. This song has certain guitar work by Paul that will very present in the KISS future post Ace and Peter.
Paul again at the lead vocals for fan favorite Take Me. The song is very much early KISS but with the superstar bubblegum tinge that was not present on those first three albums from 1974-1975. The lyrics written by Paul and Sean Delaney come off a little nerdy or amateur sounding, but all of these lyrics have that quality.
Put your hand in my pocket
Grab onto my rocket
Feels so good to see you Lucille
Baby got to know
Do you want to go
How you gonna make me feel♫
The second single off the album is Calling Dr Love and it reaches a surprisingly high #16 on the charts. Gene sings in his demon growl voice to the catchy choppy heavy guitar chords. Peter tips the hat to Blue Oyster Cult with the dominant use of the cowbell here. This song is one that has pretty much stayed in the set list since its release here on Rock and Roll Over.
Ladies Room for me has always gone hand in hand with Calling Dr Love. They don't really sound alike, yet they have that same energy. I don't think the lyrics really mean anything as a whole. Possible Gene had recently heard the expression 'jewel in the rough' and decided to incorporate it into the lyrics. This is one of the things Gene would do with his lyrics, he would get a phrase which he liked then write 117 songs around it. By the time KISS enters the studio to record their new album, Gene would have amassed about 500 songs, mostly crap though.
Hey it seemed to work for Gene Simmons, everybody's got their song writing ways.
The best song that Peter had written and recorded for KISS is definitely Baby Driver found here. Actually one of the better songs on this album is Peter's one writing contribution. Peter had never contributed any songs that KISS used until earlier this year when they recorded Beth, and look at this he had a top ten hit with that piece of junk. Who knew? Baby Driver sounds like a heavy metal Motown song, we have Ace's guitars which sound like horns, and the driving background vocals during the chorus.
♫Go Baby Driver, Go baby, go go♫
Love 'Em And Leave 'Em has a great guitar riff which opens the song and is also used for the chorus. I love the sound and beat of Peter's drums so much in this song. Peter seemed to have a keen sense of what the song needed and his drum beats were almost always unique. People seem to want to put Peter down for his musical ability, but you must admit he had a great ear for music and composing drum beats for the band's music. This song seems to go just about a minute too long with its repetitive chorus that continues until the fade out. I know that it works sometimes, but Hey Jude this is not!
Mr. Speed is arguably the best song on the album. It has a great guitar lick that is played throughout the song, and the chorus is just as catchy. The lyrics do baffle me as I read them as a whole. I'm not sure what he means by 'Mr. Speed', and or why the ladies call him Mr. Speed.
♫You need lovin', you're lookin' out for new romances
Yeah, it's true, you know you've got to take your chances
When I laugh, well baby don't you know you can cry
'Cause you ain't enough lady, to keep the master satisfied, yeah ♫
Gene rerecorded See You In Your Dreams on his solo album because he didn't like the way it came out here on Rock and Roll Over. KISStorians will tell you it is a mystery about what Gene didn't like about this version, but I feel it's pretty obvious. On Gene's solo album he adds a verse which makes the song make more sense. The lyrics here:
♫When you're in the room, you're home too soon
You can't get me out of your mind
And you get in bed, you cover your head
My letter to you is signed
And this is what I'm sayin'...♫
After he sings this verse, he just goes back into the chorus, but on his solo album he sings the verse which should follow "And this is what I'm sayin'...", here on Rock and Roll Over, he doesn't go into what he's saying, on his solo album, he tells you:
♫I love you, you know I do, but take me home tonight
And think of me, I think of you, baby baby it's alright, it's alright yeah♫
This is Gene's attempt now to write and record a Motown type song with KISS just as Peter did with Baby Driver. This doesn't come off the same way as Peter's attempt, but it's still valid. I can't decide what version of the chorus I like better, Gene's solo album version or the one found here. Paul's voice during the chorus sounds great, yet the ladies sing on Gene's solo album sound great as well.
The one song that Paul wrote on his own here is one that he didn't even intend to keep for the new KISS album. Paul wanted to write a song for Rod Stewart to record, the result is Hard Luck Woman. It sounds pretty much like a song Rod Stewart would sing, it sort of has that Gasoline Alley quality to it. Rod passed unfortunately, yet fortunately Peter's voice is scratchy like Rod's and when he begged Paul to let him sing it, Peter hit the mark again. It sounds like at least two acoustic guitars, but I think I hear three to tell you the truth, and I'm usually right about these things.
Makin' Love is one of those rare KISS songs that I don't know which version I prefer. It's usually always the live version, but this studio version has some great features not available in the live. This is the heaviest and fastest song on the album. I like the addition of the acoustic guitar here during the pre-chorus. The guitar solos by Ace here and in the live version are both two of his best. Peter again here uses his unique senses and creating a musical and unparagoned drum beat, which compliments Paul's song.
This remaster like all of the KISS remasters released in 1997 is a huge improvement from the first issue of the KISS CDs. This sound production is more bright, yet with a deep bass, and definitely louder. As I listen to the CD right now at my computer I again appreciate the new remasters. Even though I have grown to have a strong dislike or hate for KISS and what they stand for, the child that grew up listening to this music still finds time to listen to their music from time to time. If KISS ever decides to release their back catalog in a surround sound format, I'll be at the store buying those too.
CD: 4 stars (compared to other KISS albums)
Peter Criss: Vocals, Drums
Ace Frehely: Lead Guitars
Paul Stanley: Vocals, guitars
Gene Simmons: Vocals, Bass
1. I Want You
2. Take Me
3. Calling Dr. Love
4. Ladies Room
5. Baby Driver
6. Love 'em and Leave 'em
7. Mr. Speed
8. See You In Your Dreams
9. Hard Luck Woman
10. Makin' Love
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~For More KISS Reviews~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Rock and Roll Over
KISS Alive II
Gene Simmons - Solo Album
Ace Frehley - Solo Album
Peter Criss - Solo Album
Paul Stanley - Solo Album
Lick It Up
KISS: The Deluxe Box Set
Symphony: Alive IV
KISS - Gold