Listening booth — Kiss, “Escape From The Island”

Legend has it that before the album that became Music From “The Elder” turned into Kiss’s half-baked attempt to imitate Genesis, it was supposed to be a straightforward hard rock LP. But then producer Bob Ezrin (fueled by massive amounts of cocaine) and Gene Simmons (fueled by massive amounts of ego) thought that what Kiss fans really wanted was a concept album with a threadbare “plot” and lots of orchestra. Oops!

We’ll never know if Music From “The Elder” would have sold more in 1981 had it contained more songs like Ace Frehley’s kickass instrumental blast “Escape From the Island,” but it sure would’ve been less reviled. And fans might have gotten more than one album out of the fairly potent Simmons/Stanley/Frehley/Carr lineup.