|Destroyer is the fourth studio album and fifth album overall by hard rock band Kiss, released on March 15, 1976 in the United States. It was the second consecutive Kiss album to reach the Top 20 in the United States, as well as the first to chart in Germany and New Zealand. The album was certified gold by the RIAA on April 22, 1976. It was certified platinum on November 11, 1976, the first Kiss album to achieve that distinction.
Coming on the heels of the group's breakthrough album Alive!, Destroyer is easily the most ambitious studio recording of Kiss's '70s catalogue. Bob Ezrin, who had previously worked with Alice Cooper, was brought in to produce the album. Among the production flourishes Ezrin introduced to Kiss were sound effects, strings, screaming children and reversed drums (on "God of Thunder") as well as a children's choir.
Destroyer is the first Kiss album to prominently feature outside musicians, such as members of the New York Philharmonic-Symphony Orchestra. However, one musician was not credited: Dick Wagner, from Alice Cooper's band, replaced Ace Frehley on tracks such as "Sweet Pain" (as Frehley didn't want to interrupt a card game he was playing during recording sessions for the song) and even on a song that Frehley himself co-wrote, "Flaming Youth". Wagner also played the acoustic guitar found on the song "Beth". The success of Alive! and Destroyer enabled the band to embark on their first tour of Europe.
Throughout the years, "Detroit Rock City", "God of Thunder", "Shout It Out Loud" and "Do You Love Me" have become permanent staples on the band's concerts. "Beth" was last played live on the band's 2003 concert Kiss Symphony: Alive IV; after drummer Peter Criss' final departure, the band permanently retired the song from their set list.
In 2003, the album was ranked number 496 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.
After attaining modest commercial success with their first three studio albums, Kiss achieved a commercial breakthrough with the 1975 concert album Alive! It was the first album by the band to be certified gold, and eventually went multi-platinum. The success of Alive!, which spent 110 weeks on the charts, benefited not only the struggling band but their cash-strapped label, Casablanca Records. Kiss signed a new contract with Casablanca in late 1975, partly because the label had been very supportive from the start of the band's career. The contract was only for two albums, however, an indication that Casablanca was unsure if the group could duplicate the accomplishments of Alive!
Rehearsals for Destroyer began in August 1975, while the group was embarked on their supporting tour for Alive! Bob Ezrin, who had produced a string of successful albums for Alice Cooper, was chosen to work with Kiss. The band felt that Ezrin was the right person to help them take their sound to the next level and to maintain the commercial success they had achieved with Alive
The first recording sessions for the album took place from September 3–6, 1975 at Electric Lady Studios in New York City, during a brief break between the Dressed to Kill and Alive! tours. The basic album tracks were recorded during this time. The majority of the recording sessions for Destroyer took place in January 1976, after the conclusion of the Alive! tour.
The first demo recorded during the Destroyer sessions was "Ain't None of Your Business," featuring Peter Criss on vocals. The plodding, heavy song, written by country songwriters Becky Hobbs and Lew Anderson, was rejected by the band and later appeared on the 1977 debut album by Michael Des Barres' band Detective. Although this song was rejected other outside songs and suggestions were accepted by the band. In particular, Kim Fowley and Mark Anthony became important contributors during the songwriting process.
During the recording sessions Ezrin resorted to numerous tactics designed to increase the quality of music Kiss recorded. Because none of the group were trained musicians, Ezrin halted the sessions at one point to provide lessons in basic music theory. In an effort to instill a sense of discipline, he wore a whistle around his neck and exhorted the band with sayings such as, "C'mon campers, let's get going!" 4
U.S. Pop Albums 11
New Zealand 16
Certifier Certification Sales
RIAA (U.S.) 3x Platinum 3,000,000
The following information regarding list placements attributed to Destroyer is taken from AcclaimedMusic.net.
Publication Country Accolade Year Rank
Rolling Stone U.S. The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time 2003 496
Blender U.S. The 100 Greatest American Albums of All Time 2002 50
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