October 1974: KISS Release "Hotter Than Hell"

HOTTER THAN HELL
Photo Credit
(Casablanca)

October 22, 1974, KISS returned to the public eye with the band's second studio effort, Hotter Than Hell. While the group's self-titled debut attracted a lot of attention, it failed to ignite radio or record sales. This was their chance for a do-over.

RELATED: March 1975: KISS Releases "Dressed to Kill"

"We hoped to remedy the deficiencies we found in the first album,” is how Paul Stanley put it in his book, KISS: Behind The Mask. “We were never as rock’n’roll-y or good-time-y as we sounded on that album. We were much heavier live. So, for Hotter Than Hell, we tried to capture sonically how we sounded live. Unfortunately, the people we were working with might not have been the right people to be doing it with.”

There was just one single from Hotter Than Hell:  “Let Me Go, Rock ‘n’ Roll.” The title track served as the B-side, perfect for the Halloween season. There was even a TV commercial.

The plan failed. Hotter Than Hell actually performed worse than KISS' debut. Where the first record peaked at #87 on the Billboard 200, Hotter Than Hell was only able to muster up a #100 peak position on the same chart. The numbers were so bad that the group's label head, Neil Bogart at Casablanca Records, ordered KISS cancel the rest of the supporting tour to record a third album that he would produce: Dressed to Kill.

Still, Hotter Than Hell is packed with KISS classics long considered fan favorites, including two written by guitarist Ace Frehley: "Parasite" and "Strange Ways." Not yet confident in his singing abilities, Frehley let Gene Simmons and Peter Criss handle vocal duties, respectively.

FUN FACTS: The iconic Hotter Than Hell album cover images were created during a wild photo shoot/party by Norman Seeff, complete with half-naked women. Paul Stanley was so wasted that he had to be propped up for the cover shot.

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