KISS: SoundScan-Era Record Sales Revealed

Ken Barnes of USA Today has posted the SoundScan-era sales of KISS, one of the bands most unfairly excluded from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Like RUSH and DONNA SUMMER (two other artists excluded from the Hall), KISS' sales heyday came long before 1991, when SoundScan began tabulating record sales. They sold (and their label pressed) a ton of records in the '70s; these SoundScan-era numbers will represent just a fraction of those older titles' totals. Still, it's always intriguing to see what's continuing to sell and what's mired in the doledrums.

The long list follows.

Year of release Title: Sales

1974 "Kiss": 174,000
1974 "Hotter Than Hell": 153,000
1975 "Dressed to Kill": 166,000
1975 "Alive": 258,000
1976 "Destroyer": 580,000
1976 "Rock and Roll Over": 183,000
1977 "Love Gun": 193,000
1977 "Alive II": 295,000
1978 "Double Platinum": 510,000
1978 "Peter Criss": 23,000
1978 "Ace Frehley": 46,000
1978 "Gene Simmons": 31,000
1978 "Paul Stanley": 33,000
1979 "Dynasty": 157,000
1980 "Unmasked": 171,000
1981 "Music From The Elder": 110,000
1982 "Creatures of the Night": 148,000
1983 "Lick It Up": 92,000
1984 "Animalize": 93,000
1985 "Asylum": 81,000
1987 "Crazy Nights": 104,000
1988 "Smashes, Thrashes & Hits": 810,000
1989 "Hot in the Shade": 112,000
1990 "First Kiss": 786 (hmm..., what is this, anyway?)
1992 "Revenge": 596,000
1993 "Alive III": 552,000
1996 "MTV Unplugged": 300,000
1996 "You Wanted the Best, You Got the Best!!": 329,000
1997 "Greatest Kiss": 394,000
1997 "Carnival of Souls - The Final Sessions": 175,000
1998 "Psycho Circus": 479,000
2001 "Box Set": 141,000
2002 "Very Best": 433,000
2003 "The Millennium Collection": 311,000
2003 "Symphony: Alive IV": 134,000
2005 "Gold" ('74-'82): 105,000

Total: 8.6 million

Barnes writes: "So what can we conclude about latter-day KISS fans from all this? They like hits collections: 'Smashes, Thrashes' is the band's best-selling album of the SoundScan era, and other, largely redundant collections have solid sales.

"The live albums score well, especially 'III', which actually came out during the SoundScan era.

"'Destroyer' is by far the best seller of the early studio albums. Hard to argue with this esthetically, considering the metafictional pinnacle that is 'Detroit Rock City' is on this album.

"There are about 90,000-100,000 fans out there that have to have everything in CD form. Except the four simultaneously released solo albums from 1978. And Ace is still winning that battle (of course, he had the only hit from the releases, his cover of HELLO's 'New York Groove')."

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