Ask any Kiss fan to name their favorite Kiss album, and I guarantee you they will say Destroyer. Almost every single one of them will say Destroyer. There is also a possibility that some may mention the great Kiss live album called Alive! And there are many that may also throw in Rock and Roll Over. But for the most part, most Kiss fans will pick Destroyer as the greatest Kiss album ever released. Would we argue with them? Absolutely not! Hands down, the Destroyer album was the best Kiss album ever released. The band will never release another album as good as Destroyer. They tried to come close with Rock and Roll Over and Love Gun was excellent too, but nothing compares to the Kiss album Destroyer. Here’s why……
Reason One: Shout It Out Loud
The Kiss album Destroyer blew everyone away instantly when it was first released. In 1976, disco started becoming very annoying to rock and roll fans. We all needed an album that would rock hard in the face of disco. Interestingly, Kiss was on Casablanca Records, home to Donna Summer and many other future disco acts. That was a point not lost on many Kiss fans.
Two weeks before the Kiss Destroyer album was released, Casablanca Records released the first single from the album entitled “Shout It Out Loud.” This song was an instant hit among Kiss fans and so many more. The song started with a great guitar lick pushed forward by those great bass drum quarter notes by Peter Criss. Then, the co-lead vocals by Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons just knocked us out of our Chevy Impala seats, blowing us away instantly. Boom! That great chorus hit us hard, and then Ace Frehley’s fantastic guitar solo sealed the deal. And this was all before the album had hit the stores.
Shout It Out Loud : First single from Destroyer
Reason Number Two: The Cover
It wasn’t long before we started to see the trade magazines depicting the new Kiss album cover for Destroyer. The pictures were placed in the great rock and roll magazines of the time like Cream Magazine, Circus Magazine, Crawdaddy, and Rolling Stone. Everything about that cover was simply perfect. Kiss cartoon figures that looked almost exactly like the band members in real life. Standing on those rocks over a bed of destruction it seemed, with that dark blue sky behind and the Kiss trademark in bright orange and yellow. Simply perfect. An image that you just could not get out of your mind.
Reason Number Three: Detroit Rock City
Kiss fans will never forget the moment they heard “Detroit Rock City” for the first time. For many of us, it was the second we got home from the mall record store or the record store in town, ripped off the plastic, and placed that beautiful vinyl record on the turntable. Our heads almost exploded as to what we heard.
After about a minute and a half of news broadcasts and the sounds of the city streets, those guitars started to creep in quickly, and then Ka-Pow! Kiss had never sounded as more explosive as they did on that album’s opening track, “Detroit Rock City.” To this day, millions of Kiss fans call “Detroit Rock City” their favorite Kiss song of all time. There’s almost never been a better album opener, and not a better album opener to date on any Kiss record. As much as the album’s debut single “Shout It Out Loud” sounded like an anthem, the song “Detroit Rock City, was an anthem times ten.
Reasons three, four and five
As the song “Detroit Rock City” faded away, the album’s next song, “King Of The Night Time World,” throttled in with a thunderous motion like the album opener. Another great hard-rocking song full of power with another excellent Paul Stanley lead vocal. The album’s third track, “God Of Thunder,” hit fans hard with a completely different type of groove in an almost funky sense. Once again, the song starts with some sound effects until Ace Frehley’s classic guitar lick rips through your heart.
SIDE TWO and reasons five and six
Side two of the Kiss Destroyer album opened up with the great track “Flaming Youth.” This was another great song to open up an album side with. It is the only song credited to Ace Frehley as one of the writers, along with Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons, and Bob Ezrin. This one’s a little more pop-sounding than anything on side one, especially when it hits the song’s second half, where they bring it down. The second song on the album, “Sweet Pain,” starts with a guitar riff that sounds slightly like Brian May of Queen. Of course, when Gene Simmons begins to sing, the Queen reference is thrown out the window. “Sweet Pain” is followed by “Shout It Out Loud,” as the third song on side two.
Reason Seven: Beth
For Kiss fans who were listening to the Destroyer album for the first time after just walking out of the store with it, their mouths dropped, and many probably fainted when they heard the next song on the record. The sound of a tinkling piano and sweet strings in the background was not what anyone was expecting to hear after the song “Shout It Out Loud” on side two. What was this? Kiss had recorded a ballad. Are you kidding me? Peter Criss was singing lead? Peter Criss had written the song? Who the heck is Stan Pennridge? Well, the whole world would soon find out and hear the song too, as “Beth” would become the band’s biggest hit of their career. The song would become widely accepted by everyone, including all the die-hard Kiss fans.
Peter Criss’s sweet vocals on the song “Beth” was soon followed up by his banging drums on the next track entitled “Do You Love Me.” This is not the same song as the 1960s classic by the Contours. This was a song written by Paul Stanley, Kim Fowley and Bob Ezrin. “Do You Love Me” was probably the weakest song on the album at least in our opinion. It was perhaps why they placed the song as the last track. There was another track after it entitled “Rock and Roll Party,” but it was just a minute and a half of sound effects to close the album in the same way it opened up.
There are albums that you purchased in your youth that you never forget. If you grew up in the 1970s, went to high school in the seventies, or had older brothers or sisters who were teenagers in the 70s or vice versa, chances are This Kiss Destroyer album was somewhere in your house, in somebody’s room, on somebody’s turntable, probably with lots of scratches because we all played this one……. all the time.
Why Destroyer Was The Best Kiss Album article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2023
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Updated November 21, 2023