The album that propelled Kiss into super-stardom, Destroyer, turns 42 this week!
From the enchanting ballad “Beth” to the amplifying headbanger “God of Thunder”, Kiss touched many different genres and infused multiple styles of music to create a sound entirely their own.
But while the album sold millions of copies worldwide and contains a handful of karaoke favourites, there may be some facts about the album you don’t know. We collected five of them to celebrate the four decades we’ve spent rocking out to Destroyer!
1. “Detroit Rock City” is based on a true story
Paul Stanley wrote the song after he found out a fan died outside of an arena Kiss was playing at (he was struck by a car.)
There’s no Neil Peart, but Rush‘s debut album is still a certified classic.
It’s crazy to believe, but today marks the 44th birthday of the Toronto-based band’s self-titled studio release in 1974!
The band first formed in 1968, starting as a group called The Projection until drummer John Rutsey’s brother Bill said, “You need a better name for the band – how about Rush?” As Rush, they eventually settled as a trio comprising Rutsey, Geddy Lee (lead vocals and bass) and Alex Lifeson (guitar and backing vocals), though in the early 70s their vinyl output had been limited to a few singles, including a cover of Buddy Holly’s 1957 song ‘Not Fade Away’, whose B-side was a song called ‘You Can’t Fight It’, the first original Rush song to be released.
By 1973, the group were an established part of the Toronto music scene and, confident in their abilities, decided to make the debut Rush album a self-produced affair. They began recording at Eastern Sound in Toronto, in March of that year, but were unhappy with the early results. Deciding not to include ‘You Can’t Fight It’ on the album, they began again at Toronto Sound Studios. Lifeson remembers the place as “a very small 16-track studio, which was very smoky”.
It was a manic time for the musicians. As Lee recalled: “We would be doing four sets a night, and then we would be finished by 1am and load out of the bar and load into the recording studio and record all night, and then go home to crash for a few hours before loading back into the bar to do another show. Back and forth – that’s kind of how we recorded our first album.”
Rutsey (who left the band after the album’s completion, to be replaced by long-standing drummer and songwriter Neil Peart) was the band’s principal lyricist at the time but kept telling Lee and Lifeson that he was not satisfied with what he had written and eventually tore up the songs he had penned for the debut Rush album. They had only enough money left for a few days of studio time and decided that desperate measures were needed. “I had to sit down and write the lyrics basically for the next two days and sing them as soon as one was written,” Lee said. The mood of uncertainty is reflected in the album opener ‘Finding My Way’.
Part of what rescued the situation was the close personal and musical bond between Lee and Lifeson. They were both 20 and had been friends since they were teenage students together at junior high school. They also shared the bond of both coming from families who had emigrated to Canada (Lifeson’s parents were born in Serbia and Lee’s parents had survived Auschwitz).
A chart journey just three months short of ten years ended with a No. 1 on this date 29 years ago for Simple Minds!
On 25 February, 1989, their Ballad of the Streets EP, led by the softly powerful signature track ‘Belfast Child,’ became the Scottish band’s only British chart-topper on the singles countdown.
That journey had begun in May 1979 when the band first appeared on the UK sales index with ‘Life In A Day.’ In these days when bands could build their followings slowly and surely over a period of years, that was the first of four singles over a two and a half year period that all peaked outside the top 40.
They didn’t break that threshold until May 1982, when ‘Promised You A Miracle’ raised their game considerably with a No. 13 peak. By early October that year, its success had helped fuel a No. 3 album in New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84). But singles-wise, Simple Minds continued to do things the slow way.
They had to wait another three years for their first top ten single, when ‘Don’t You (Forget About Me)’ reached No. 7, as did its follow-up ‘Alive and Kicking’ a few months later. Then, after the No. 9 hit ‘All The Things She Said’ in 1986, the last year of the decade finally gave the already long-running band their first No. 1.
The music world was in shock when Sonny Bono tragically died in a skiing accident in 1998.
While Sonny had been removed from music for a while up until his passing (he served as Mayor of Palm Springs, California and as congressman for the state for a combined ten years), his contribution to pop culture is undeniable.
He spent plenty of time on the screen, working with Cher on the Top Ten shows The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour and The Sonny & Cher Show. Sonny also had a very memorable role in Airplane II: The Sequel in 1982 as mad bomber Joe Selucci and a part in the ’80s horror movie Troll.
But TV wasn’t the first love: from 1965 to 1973, Sonny & Cher released five albums together that sold over 40 million copies worldwide.