|Studio album by|
|Released||September 21, 1987|
|Studio||Can-AM Recorders, Tarzana, CA|
One on One Recording Studios, Hollywood, CA
Rumbo Recorders, Canoga Park, CA
|Singles from Crazy Nights|
Crazy Nights is the 14th studio album by American hard rock band Kiss, recorded from March to June 1987 and released on September 21, 1987 by Mercury and Vertigo in Europe. This was the second album to feature the new line-up of Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Bruce Kulick, and Eric Carr.
Crazy Nights is also the first KISS album to feature heavy use of keyboards and synthesizers, which was another departure in their music style, changing from their Creatures of the Night/Lick It Up/Animalize/Asylum heavy metal sound into a more radio-friendly and pop metal sound. It was re-released in 1998 as part of the Kiss Remasters series and is the last Kiss album to have been remastered.
A relatively high number of songs from Crazy Nights were performed live during its supporting tour, but during and especially immediately following the tour, most of those songs were dropped and were never performed again. Only the song "Crazy Crazy Nights" was retained in their setlist for the Hot in the Shade Tour which followed a couple years later; it was dropped after that tour and would not return for nearly 20 years until the Sonic Boom Over Europe Tour. This makes the album one of the least represented in the bands' entire catalog over the course of their career in their setlists, behind only their 1981 album commercial flop Music from "The Elder".
Kiss took a different approach in creating their album Crazy Nights, in efforts to turn around their image after they had a downfall in their music career due to experimentation of the band's music genre and the loss of two prime members. The band had a lot to prove after their decline of success.
After the Asylum Tour had ended, Kiss went on a couple of months hiatus due to Gene Simmons' career as an actor and a producer, which made the band seem like his side job instead of primary job. For Kisstory, Paul Stanley stated that he got tired of Simmons's lack of commitment and one day told him:
We were in the parking lot one day, and I said to Gene, 'Look, you're off doing all these other things while still reaping the benefits of this band—and I'm getting screwed. It's not fair for me to put in this kind of time, while somebody else who is supposed to be my partner, is not." And Gene looked at me and said, 'That's fair.' I could have used Gene's input. But my attitude at that point was that I certainly wasn't going to listen to a guy who's off managing cabaret singers and producing five bands, while I was trying to make an album.
Simmons' temporary departure gave space to Eric Carr and Bruce Kulick. Kulick had four co-writing credits and Carr one, but almost got other material on the album. Stanley had worked with Desmond Child, Diane Warren and Adam Mitchell and co-wrote songs: "Crazy Crazy Nights", "I'll Fight Hell to Hold You" and "When Your Walls Come Down" with Mitchell ("I'll Fight Hell to Hold You" and "When Your Walls Come Down" with Kulick), "Bang Bang You", "My Way" and "Reason to Live" with Child ("My Way" with Bruce Turgon also), and "Turn On the Night" was co-written by Stanley and Warren.
As Kiss' previous two albums had been self-produced, the band felt it needed to bring in an outside producer who would help the album achieve more commercial success. Producer Ron Nevison was hired to produce the album, but because of Nevison's filled schedule, the band had to wait for his schedule to clear. Nevison was chosen in part from his recent commercial success in producing platinum albums for Heart and Ozzy Osbourne. Simmons said for KISStory, "When we started working on "Crazy Nights", we looked for someone else to pull the cart, another person to help guide the band...So we hooked up with a producer named Ron Nevison, who[m] Paul had wanted to work with for a while, although I never did." In the "Crazy Nights, it's 25 years strong" KissFAQ interview, Ron Nevison describes the efforts band members put into the album: “Well, this was the only album I did with them. I do know that Gene wasn’t there all the time. Obviously Bruce was and, to some extent, Eric. Mostly, a majority of the work on that album I did with Bruce and Paul. The bass tracks were cut initially, and Gene was only needed for lead vocals. I must say that most of the time he was there, he was in the back of the studio reading “Variety.” Although Simmons' participation was low for the album, he did contribute in providing Nevison with 20–25 songs that were potential material for the Crazy Nights album, including one song called "I'm Going to Put A Log In Your Fire Place", which was ultimately not used on this or any subsequent albums. The albums Crazy Nights and Asylum were also under new management representation with Larry Mazur, a consultant.
The album was at first called "Who Dares Wins", which was Carr's idea. According to him, "During a photo session, our wardrobe girl had this commando patch lying around with 'Who Dares Wins' on it, and I said, "Hey, what a great idea for an album title!" Then she brought it over to Paul who said the same thing. We ended up not using it because it didn't look good in print, and it sounded as if no one would understand it." The idea was dropped in June, but managed to appear on some Japanese advertisements for the upcoming album. Another title the band thought of was "Condomnation", but as Stanley said, "Well, Condomnation was never really the title. It was just a thought that passed through our minds and gave everyone a chuckle." The record sessions started in March at One on One Recording Studios in Canoga Park, California, but later continued in Rumbo Recorders, also in Canoga Park, and Can-Am Recorders in Tarzana, California. In June the album was completed, and it was mixed at Can-Am Recorders by Nevison, before being turned over to PolyGram in July.
In his 2014 biography “Face The Music”, Paul Stanley claims that drummer Eric Carr had stopped speaking to him during the tour for Crazy Nights. Stanley eventually sat down with Carr and insisted that the “non-communicative bullshit” had to end, which it did. Stanley claimed that Carr had started to drink more and may have been doing drugs by the late 1980s, which may have been causing his unhappiness. Stanley also claimed that Carr had started to obsess over not being the original drummer for Kiss, which he said Carr also did during the 1980 Australia tour.
"While their melodies continue to be quarried from stone, their lyrics are written in lipstick," wrote Emily Fraser in a three-star Q review. "The riffs often have purpose and force and, in the cases of 'No No No' and 'Thief in the Night', a keen, cutting edge."
Crazy Nights peaked at #18 on the US Billboard 200 chart, making it the highest-charting Kiss album of the 1980s in the US. It was certified platinum on November 18, 1987 in Canada and a few months later in the US, on February 18, 1988. All three singles off the album had corresponding videos that received heavy rotation on MTV, and were also featured on the Crazy Nights home video. The most successful single was "Crazy Crazy Nights", charting in five countries; and the least successful was "Turn On the Night", charting only in the UK, where it reached #41. The highest-charting single was "Crazy Crazy Nights," which reached #4 in the UK.
The album was very well received by executives at Polygram records. It was widely reported that during a meeting in which the album was played for them in full, the entire conference room reportedly stood and applauded for a full five minutes afterward. The excitement was enough for the corporate team to promote the album well past platinum status, cementing its reputation as one of the benchmarks of 1980's corporate rock.
"Crazy Crazy Nights"
"Crazy Crazy Nights" was the first single from the album and reached #65 on Billboard Hot 100 and #37 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks. The song was a massive hit in UK where it reached #4 and, to date, is Kiss' highest-charting single in the UK. "Crazy Crazy Nights" also went into the Top 40 in Norway, Netherlands and Australia, where it reached #7, #28 and #34 respectively. The song would be performed regularly on live shows until Eric Carr's death in 1991, and returned to the setlist on the Sonic Boom Over Europe Tour in 2010.
"I'll Fight Hell to Hold You"
Adam Mitchell reportedly plays on the song along with Bruce Kulick.
"Bang Bang You"
"No, No, No"
"No, No, No", was originally titled "Assume the Position" and later "Down on All Fours". It was based on Kulick's riff which he and Carr developed into a song in Carr's apartment in New York City so it could be finished by Gene Simmons. According to Carr, "I just set up a double bass drumbeat on my drum machine. I just got this feel in my head, and I started coming up with this real staccato stuff for the verse." It is Kulick's favorite song because "It's the fastest, ferocious thing, and it features me a lot." The song was only performed live during the Crazy Nights Tour.
"Hell or High Water"
"Hell or High Water" is a song based on Kulick's idea and riff which he came up with during the Asylum Tour; Simmons wrote the lyrics. The song was rarely performed during the Crazy Nights Tour.
"When Your Walls Come Down"
"When Your Walls Come Down" is another song based on Kulick's riff that he came up with during the Asylum Tour. Stanley had the chorus and with Mitchell's assistance, the song was finished. The song did not come out well when played live, so it was only played a couple of times.
"Reason to Live"
Stanley recalled when he played the "Reason to Live" demo to Simmons, "I remember calling up Gene and playing it to him down the phone... I played the song to Gene, and obviously the bomb had gone off at the other end. He was speechless." (its entirely possible he fell asleep) Stanley was always okay with having power ballads on Kiss albums, which first started with "I Still Love You" on Creatures of the Night. Stanley also said, "If a band was to be honest, they would tell you that at that time, the only hope for airplay was a ballad." A music video, directed by Marty Callner, was made and featured Playboy centerfold Eloise Broady. "Reason to Live" reached #64 Billboard Hot 100 and #34 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks and #33 in the UK. The song also managed to chart in the Netherlands, reaching #89. The music video for the song was a big hit on MTV in early 1988, regularly appearing as the top requested video on Dial MTV.
"Good Girl Gone Bad"
"Good Girl Gone Bad" was written by Simmons, friend Davitt Sigerson, and his songwriting partner Peter Diggins, whom Simmons never met. The song was lyrically based on something obvious from Simmons's community college period: "A young lady who Gene went to college with, a girl who started out the demure virgin, all coy and unclaimed...then met up with 'The Tongue'! The only sad thing about the tale is that when she finally did give way, it was in the backseat of a car—and with someone else, a friend of Gene's, in fact." The song was not performed live.
"Turn On the Night"
"Turn On the Night" was the third single off the album. A music video directed by Marty Callner was made in Worcester, Massachusetts on January 27, 1988. "Turn On the Night" only charted in the UK, where it reached #41.
"Thief in the Night"
A few other songs were recorded for the album, but not included. Kulick, Child and Stanley wrote a song called "Sword and Stone" that did not manage to get on the album because Nevison was not thrilled with the song. Kulick later stated, "I just felt really bad that Ron Nevison didn't like the song 'cause then it would have been on "Crazy Nights". But I couldn't control that. And the demo that is out there in bootleg form is pretty good. We did it at Electric Lady with Eric Carr, and it's a full-blown KISS track practically. I actually came up with that riff backstage on tour early on, "Asylum", I think. That's what happens. Paul didn't mind as much; I felt pretty bad about that." The song was offered to Canadian rock band Loverboy, and was re-recorded by their lead guitarist Paul Dean on his 1988 album Hard Core. The song was also recorded by German heavy metal band Bonfire for a Wes Craven movie, Shocker.
Carr, Simmons and Mitchell wrote "Dial 'L' for Love". Carr, who sang the song, was the primary writer, and he later passed it to Simmons and Mitchell who completed it. As Carr stated, "The song wasn't good at the time, so it didn't get on the album." A demo was made, but it did not include completed vocals. An instrumental recording of "Dial 'L' for Love" would be released on Unfinished Business in 2011.
"Are You Always This Hot" is a song written by Simmons and Mitchell and is unique because it has not yet been found in collector's circles nor re-recorded by another artist. In the 1980s, Simmons had the ritual of making new songs that are based on some older songs, or simply spoken, he recycled them. And "Are You Always This Hot" is one of them. It was first written by Mitchell in 1981. The song "Time Traveler" was recorded during these sessions and later released on the 2001 KISS Box Set. Some other songs that were written for the album, but never made it, are "Boomerang", "'X' Marks the Spot", "Scratch and Sniff", "What Goes Up", "Hunger for Love", "Dirty Blonde" and "No Mercy", although "Boomerang" would be later featured on Hot in the Shade.
|1.||"Crazy Crazy Nights"||Paul Stanley, Adam Mitchell||Stanley||3:47|
|2.||"I'll Fight Hell to Hold You"||Stanley, Mitchell, Bruce Kulick||Stanley||4:10|
|3.||"Bang Bang You"||Stanley, Desmond Child||Stanley||3:53|
|4.||"No, No, No"||Gene Simmons, Kulick, Eric Carr||Simmons||4:19|
|5.||"Hell or High Water"||Simmons, Kulick||Simmons||3:28|
|6.||"My Way"||Stanley, Child, Bruce Turgon||Stanley||3:58|
|7.||"When Your Walls Come Down"||Stanley, Mitchell, Kulick||Stanley||3:25|
|8.||"Reason to Live"||Stanley, Child||Stanley||4:00|
|9.||"Good Girl Gone Bad"||Simmons, Davitt Sigerson, Peter Diggins||Simmons||4:35|
|10.||"Turn On the Night"||Stanley, Diane Warren||Stanley||3:18|
|11.||"Thief in the Night"||Simmons, Mitch Weissman||Simmons||4:07|
- "Crazy Crazy Nights"/"No, No, No" – August 18, 1987 (Mercury 888 796)
- "Reason to Live"/"Thief in the Night" – November 12, 1987 (Mercury 870 022)
- "Turn On the Night"/"Hell or High Water" – February 18, 1988 (Mercury 870 215)
- Paul Stanley – rhythm guitar, vocals, keyboards
- Gene Simmons – bass guitar, vocals
- Eric Carr – drums, percussion, backing vocals
- Bruce Kulick – lead guitar, keyboards, backing vocals; bass guitar on "Hell or High Water"
- Phil Ashley – keyboards
- Tom Kelly – backing vocals
|Canada (Music Canada)||Platinum||100,000^|
|United States (RIAA)||Platinum||1,000,000^|
^shipments figures based on certification alone
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