Alive! by Kiss, two LP live album, released by Casablanca Records 1975, value £50

KISS originated in New York City, formed in 1972/73 with members Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons, Peter Criss and Ace Frehley. Their stage appearance saw them wearing flamboyant, garish outfits, and disguising themselves with greasepaint make-up, they took on the persona of comic book style characters: The Starchild (Stanley), The Demon (Simmons), The Spaceman (Frehley) and The Catman (Criss). Up to the release of this album, Kiss had released their first three albums with only a modicum of success. As outrageous as they looked, fans told them that their albums were not capturing how they sounded playing live, their bizarre look seemingly undermined their ability as a straight heavy rock band. But this album made people sit up, listen and take notice. What makes this 16 track album so unique is that the songs were recorded at different venues: Detroit, Michigan, Cleveland, Ohio, Wildwood, New Jersey and Davenport, Iowa.

Alive! has since been acknowledged as probably one of the greatest live album of all time; their fortunes changed dramatically, it was a huge success all over the world, peaking at number two in the UK album chart. It also spawned their UK hit Rock 'n' Roll All Nite. With fans known as the Kiss Army, the band toured, combining and creating what became known as The Greatest Rock 'n' Roll Show on Earth. They played five sell-out shows at the Budokan Theatre, Japan, breaking the previous four held by The Beatles. In 1977, Kiss topped the polls as the most popular act in the USA, but by 1983 the popularity of the band was waning and drastic measures were introduced. The legendary greasepaint that had concealed their true identities was removed, which led to a resurgent interest in the band leading to success with their next album Asylum followed by Crazy Nights, the latter featuring the UK hit Crazy, Crazy Nights.

Kiss are just beginning to embark on a farewell tour with current dates set to play in the UK. This album title is actually a homage to the live album Slade Alive by the British rock band Slade. They will be wearing their greasepaint to begin with, as the fans now expect it, but have indicated that they will remove it towards the end to reveal their real selves! We shall see?