Gene Simmons / Kiss

Gene Simmons

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Most Kiss fans associate Gene Simmons with the band's hardest-rocking compositions; after all, he's responsible for such heavies as "Watchin' You," "Calling Dr. Love," "Larger Than Life," and "Goin' Blind." So many Kiss fans must have been surprised when they heard Gene's diverse 1978 solo album, with songs that contained choirs and string arrangements, plus elements of Beatles pop, '70s funk/disco, and feel-good rock & roll. Granted, there are a few heavy rockers (such as the single "Radioactive," "Burning Up With Fever," and "See You in Your Dreams"), but Simmons was always a closet Beatles fan, as evidenced by "See You Tonite," "Always Near You," "Man of 1,000 Faces," and "Mr. Make Believe." The only real misstep is a preposterously embarrassing cover of the Disney classic "When You Wish Upon a Star" (complete with Disney-esque sound effects/music). But Simmons made sure that the top artists of the day lent a hand (Aerosmith's Joe Perry, Cheap Trick's Rick Nielsen, Donna Summer, Cher, Bob Seger, Jeff "Skunk" Baxter, Helen Reddy, and Janis Ian), which makes Gene's solo album an unpredictable yet ultimately enjoyable release.

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