There was something magical about a band that wore bizarre costumes and make-up. I longed to go to a concert and imagined the fireworks, the spitting blood and the sound. Oh, that sound. I could only imagine how loud it actually was. The only thing I knew was that it would have been louder than my record player.
I first became acquainted with KISS in 1976 with, believe or not, a K-Tel album called Disco Mania. That’s right---you read correctly: Disco Mania. The song “Rock and Roll All Nite” appeared late on the second side. And I loved it. I played it all the time. I got other KISS albums. I imagined what it would be like to see them in concert.
In 1976, KISS played a concert at my soon-to-be junior high. River Trails Junior High in Mt. Prospect, Illinois, had recently won a promotion sponsored by a local radio station. The contest: the school that collected the most 3 x 5 cards with the word “snickers” on it would have KISS play a show in their gym. The kids at River Trails anteed up and KISS was coming. The concert occurred on May 4, 1976.
And I did not go.
I knew kids who went. In fact, the concert became legendary. By the time I got there in 1980, people were still talking about it. Kids my age were now claiming that they had attended with older brothers or sisters. Gene Simmons killed a chicken on stage, it was said.
There’s not much about this event online. But there is a Facebook discussion and someone posted a couple of pictures:
|Photo by Ken Jenks|
|Photo by Ken Jenks|
This month on Adventures in Vinyl, we will be taking a nostalgic trip back to 1976 through K-Tel’s Disco Mania album. Like all K-Tel albums, this one contains a diverse mix of tunes. There are, of course, some big early disco hits here, such as the ubiquitous “The Hustle.” Of course, Gloria Gaynor makes an appearance.
But then there’s Styx. Bachman Turner Overdrive.
And of course, KISS.
“Rock and Roll All Nite.”
I always wondered what Gene Simmons, Peter Criss, Ace Frehley and Paul Stanley thought about that.
Adventures in Vinyl can be heard on the Vinyl Voyage Saturday Mornings at 11 AM CT with encore broadcasts throughout the week. This is the only radio show dedicated to a K-Tel record compilation. Each month, a new K-Tel album is featured.
More information can be found here.