Forty years ago today, the four founding members of KISS — Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Ace Frehley and Peter Criss — released their respective solo albums all on the same day to much fanfare, chart success, and platinum sales. And now, four decades later, all four of these pioneering albums are celebrated in The Solo Albums – 40th Anniversary Collection, a limited-edition 180-gram 4LP box set by Casablanca/UMe that’s earmarked for release on October 19.

Preorders commence today, September 18th, for the limited run of 2,500 vinyl box sets, available exclusively through KISS’ artist webstore and The Sound Of Vinyl. Each heavyweight 180-gram LP features a unique color to match its associated cover art; Gene Simmons appears in red vinyl, Paul Stanley sports purple vinyl, Ace Frehley contains blue vinyl, and Peter Criss is in green vinyl. All four albums are housed together in a deluxe black-matte slipcase that features glossy black images of the four artists’ faces surrounding a silver-foil print of the infamous KISS logo.

Also included in this set are four 12-by-12-inch posters of each album cover, plus an exclusive turntable slipmat that shows all four of artist Eraldo Carugati’s iconic, painted album-cover face images all connected together.

All four of these solo albums served to showcase the wide range of talents of each KISS bandmember. Gene Simmons, co-produced by Simmons and Sean Delaney, features the band’s bassist and co-lead vocalist switching over mainly to acoustic and electric guitar duties for songs that highlight his penchant for Beatles-esque melodies, funk, and hard rock. Highlights include a remake of See You In Your Dreams (initially found on KISS’ 1976 benchmark album Rock And Roll Over) and a cover of the 1940 Disney classic from Pinocchio, When You Wish Upon A Star. Guest musicians include Aerosmith’s Joe Perry, Cheap Tricks’s Rick Nielsen, Bob Seger, Cher, Donna Summer and Katey Sagal.

Meanwhile, Paul Stanley was co-produced by Stanley and Jeff Glixman and it showcases all-original material and stellar work across the board from the KISS lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist, in addition to lead and acoustic guitar work from longtime KISS axe associate Bob Kulick. The super-catchy track Hold Me, Touch Me (Think Of Me When We’re Apart) reached No. 46 on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart.

Ace Frehley, produced by Eddie Kramer and Frehley, finds the lead guitarist doing what he does best. Frehley’s foot-stomping cover of New York Groove, originally a 1975 hit by the British glam band Hello, peaked at No. 13 on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart. Guest musicians include Anton Fig on drums (a sometimes KISS session musician who later became a member of Frehley’s Comet) and bassist Will Lee, both of whom went on to become core members of both of David Letterman’s late-night talk-show house bands led by keyboardist Paul Shaffer.

Finally, Peter Criss was produced by Vini Poncia, a onetime Ringo Starr co-writer who later produced a pair of key KISS albums, 1979’s Dynasty and 1980’s Unmasked. Most of the songs on Peter Criss had been written back in 1971 for the drummer/vocalist’s aptly named pre-KISS band, Lips. The album also boasts a rousing cover of Bobby Lewis’s No. 1 1961 hit single, Tossin’ And Turnin’, a song that KISS often wound up playing live during their 1979 Dynasty tour.

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    • Doug R. on

      Me too, Dana! I still have Prince’s “Purple Rain” 45 on purple vinyl! 😉 $300 for this box set and worth every penny! Yeah it’s alot of money, but my original 4 solo albums are 40 years old and warped as hell! So I needed to replace them anyway. But I’m still keeping my originals, for nostalgia! 🙂

  • Rattlehead on

    I agree, Doug and Dana! Colored vinyl is awesome! My favorite item I have is a slime green colored 12″ promo of Metallica’s Fade to Black. And it glows in the dark, too! So cool!!

    I went on KI$$ website to order this box set, and it indicates this box set is all sold out! Wow, that was fast!

    I remember when these solo albums were first released in 1978. I thought it was so awesome that the band, whose members were each iconic like the Beatles, each released solo albums. As a fan of the band, i thought it was great to get a bunch of music from each band member, considering that Ace and Peter didn’t have many song writing credits with KI$$. As a kid, I didn’t really like Gene’s or Peter’s albums. But as i got older and became more aware of each band members’ influences, i learned to appreciate the music on Gene and Peter’s albums.

    • Dana on


      There is another link you can order it from, try that one.

      D 🙂

    • Doug R. on

      Rattle, my brother from another mother, I couldn’t have said that better myself! I loved Ace & Paul’s albums first time I heard them, but Gene & Peter’s? Took a LONG time for me to appreciate their solo albums as well. Ace & Paul’s we’re exactly what I expected, but Gene & Peter’s definitely were a surprise! I mean, they weren’t just different from all the other KISS albums, they were really, REALLY different! I’ve always liked all genres of music, pre-90’s, but at only 12 years old at the time, I didn’t know what to make of The Demon and The Catman! But of course now, it’s all good! 🙂

  • James Apple on

    Actually kind of a cool collection that you get two very good albums out of (Paul’s and of course- Ace’s).

  • Keith G on

    I remember buying these when they came out. They each had a poster included that I hung up on my bedroom wall. I loved the Ace and Paul records immediately. Paul’s record sounded exactly like I thought it would. Most of those songs would have made great KISS tunes. Ace’s record was surprisingly good, and showed that “Shock Me” and “Rocket Ride” weren’t accidents. Of the two, I actually listened to Paul’s record the most. Gene’s record was rather strange, and not what I expected. My favorite song on it was “Tunnel of Love”, and that’s the only song off of that record I will still occasionally listen to. Peter’s record I did not like initially, because at the time I didn’t appreciate anything but hard rock/ heavy metal music. I didn’t like songs like “Beth” or “Hard Luck Woman”, much. But, later, I came to appreciate slower music like Peter’s record. Now, songs like “Easy Thing” and “Kiss the Girl Goodbye” I can actually listen to and enjoy.

    • KB on

      I still have all 4 original albums on vinyl with the posters, which I never hung up so they are in mint condition.
      I agree. Paul’s album still holds up really well today. Carmine Appice played drums on a couple of tunes and the whole thing is really good.
      Ace’s was my second favorite, probably because his and Paul’s sounded the most like KISS.
      Gene’s? Didn’t get into it then and never really have.
      I have grown to like Peter’s album more over the years, but at the time, my Mom liked it so I wasn’t having any of that!

  • RTunes68 on

    What’s sorely missing from this box set are the inter-connecting posters that were included in each of the original albums!

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