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Back In The Solo Album Groove: Solo Era Timeline

As the "Alive II" era came to a close, 1978 opened with several major projects on the horizon that would ultimately change the trajectory of the "Hottest Band in the World..." This timeline runs January 1978 to April 1979.

By Julian Gill

January 1978

7 - KISS "Alive II" hits its high position of #7 on the US Billboard Top 200 album charts...
7 - Carl Glickman hosts a party in Cleveland inviting sponsers of KISS show there.
8 - The band are invited to WMMS in Cleveland, on the day of their show there, to be guest disc jockies in the afternoon.
10 - NBC's "Land of Hype and Glory" airs exploring hype in media and popular culture, using KISS as a primary example.
16 - KISS appear on the American Music Awards via satellite from Largo, MD.
21 - "KISS Alive II" sheet music, published by Almo, becomes their biggest seller at one point reaching 30,000 units per week.
21 - KISS donate $4,000, from their Ampex Gold Reel awards for 4 gold records, to cancer and diabetes research.
21 - "Shout It Out Loud" (Live) debuts on the US Billboard singles charts at #85.

February

3 - Final date of the "Alive II" tour in Providence, RI.
11 - The "Shout It Out Loud" single reaches its high position of #54 on the US Billboard singles charts. It charts for two weeks at this position and then drops off the charts completely.
22 - Recording sessions at Electric Lady Studios for Paul Stanley's solo album.
25 - Recording sessions at Electric Lady Studios for Paul Stanley's solo album.
25 - "Rocket Ride" debuts on the US Billboard singles charts at #89.
27 - Paul Stanley friend Victoria Medlin dies. Paul dedicates his solo album in her memory.

March

25 - "The Originals II" released in Japan.
28 - Japanese tour commences at the Budokan Hall in Tokyo.

April

2 - Japanese tour ends after 5 sold-out dates at the Budokan Hall in Tokyo.
8 - Ace Frehley completes mixes of the instrumental backing tracks of "All for Nothing" and "I'm in Need of Love" at Soundmixers.
11 - Former tour truck driver JB Fields dies in a crash on tour with BOC. Paul dedicates his solo album in his memory.
22 - The "Rocket Ride" single reaches its high position of #39 on the US Billboard singles charts. It only charts for one additional week.
25 - "Double Platinum," the band's first domestic US compilation collection, is released in the United States.

May

1 - The planned first filming day at one of the "KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park" locations, Kings Dominion Park in Doswell, VA, near Richmond. The film was being promoted in the trade magazines as the "first rock gothic mystery filmed for TV." Filming also took place at Culver City Studios, Magic Mountain, and as Ace puts it, "at some mansion up on top of some hill" (In the Hollywood Hills - Ed.).
16 - "Double Platinum" certified Gold & Platinum by the RIAA in the USA.
18 - KISS perform a free concert for 8,000 at Magic Mountain in Valencia, CA parts are filmed for use in the "KISS Meet the Phantom of the Park" TV Movie. The concert sequences are on a stage in the parking lot near the Colossus roller coaster, which at the time was still under construction.
19 - "Double Platinum" debuts on the US Billboard Top 200 album charts at #75.
26 - Final day of filming for the KISS movie.
27 - Fritz Postlewaite and Peter Criss involved in a car accident following the wrapping of filming the KISS movie. According to Rolling Stone, "Kiss drummer Peter Criss got a concussion, plus rib and finger injuries... Postlewaite suffered serious burns but said he would recover quickly, while Criss was healthy enough to start work on his solo album."

June

1 - "Double Platinum" certified Gold by the CRIA.
6 - Paul demos an acoustic version of "Beth" at Electric Lady Studios with Dave Wittman engineering.
17 - Final initial charting date of "Alive II" on the US Billboard Top 200 album charts at #160.
21 - Casablanca's executive VP Larry Harris' son born.
25 - Cancelled recording session for Ace at The Estate.
27 - Start of a recording session by Ace at Plaza Sound Studios in New York City.
29 - Song-writing agreement between Peter Criss and Sean Delaney for the Delaney written tracks used on Peter's solo album, plus the unused "Spotlights (And Lonely Nights)" which would have been shared 50/50.
30 - "Double Platinum" hits its high position of #22 on the US Billboard Top 200 album charts...

July

? - Bally Corporation announces the KISS pinball machine model.

August

2 - Comedienne Totie Fields dies. She'd sparred with Gene on the Mike Douglas Show in 1978. He mentions her on his album liner notes.
14 - "Ace Frehley" 8-track sequence finalized.
17 - Test pressings of "Ace Frehley" ordered from Columbia Record Productions by PolyGram for Eddie Kramer.
19 - "Alive II" returns to the US Billboard Top 200 album charts at #175.
22 - At a "Face The Music" panel in Chicago, Clive Davis (Arista) and Joe Davis (Elektra) advise Neil Bogart to cut back the shipments of the KISS solo albums to 750,000 per album. Bogart insists that with the low (6%) return rate of KISS product that he expects to ship 8 million copies by Christmas. The others felt that major band individual members sold poorly and that over-shipments created an illusion of the artist's success (Billboard, 9/2/78).
26 - "Alive II" on the US Billboard Top 200 album charts at #175.
28 - The second Marvel "KISS" comic goes on sale.

September

3 - Final "Alive II" charting on the US Billboard Top 200 album charts at #180.
5 - "Assembled Especially for Radio" promotional 12" distributed to select reviews and account managers.
18 - The "KISS" solo albums are released in the United States backed with a $2.5 million marketing support. 500,000 special plastic bags are printed and sent to retailers for purchasers of the four albums. 5.3 million copies of the albums are shipped.
30 - PolyGram distribution changes the return policy on Casablanca product preventing returns until 180 days after release in an effort to keep product in stores longer and prevent over-ordering.

October

? - "Double Platinum" certified Gold by the ARIA.
2 - Each of the four solo albums certified Gold & Platinum by the RIAA in the USA.
14 - Ace Frehley's "New York Groove" debuts on the US Billboard singles charts at #87.
14 - "Paul Stanley" debuts on the US Billboard Top 200 album charts at #89.
14 - "Gene Simmons" debuts on the US Billboard Top 200 album charts at #88.
14 - "Ace Frehley" debuts on the US Billboard Top 200 album charts at #87.
14 - "Peter Criss" debuts on the US Billboard Top 200 album charts at #85.
21 - Final "Double Platinum" charting on the US Billboard Top 200 album charts at #177.
28 - "KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park" broadcast on NBC.
28 - Neil Bogart honored as "Man of the Year" by the United Jewish Appeal's Federation of Jewish Philanthropies at the New York Hilton, the youngest receipent (at that time) of the award.

November

? - Tour manager Fritz Postlewaite gets married in New York. Band members attend.
4 - "Hold Me, Touch Me" debuts on the US Billboard singles charts at #85.
8 - Ace makes a promotional appearance at WGCL in Cleveland, OH (KAF).
15 - Eddie Kramer pays Greg Raffa $4575 to cover the balance of the bill for Ace's recording and mixing sessions at Plaza Sound.
18 - Gene makes an in-store appearance at Tape City in New Orleans.
25 - "Peter Criss" hits its high position of #43 on the US Billboard Top 200 album charts.

December

? - Returns of the solo albums reach a reported 2 million copies...
1 - "Gene Simmons," "Ace Frehley," and "Paul Stanley" certified Gold by the CRIA.
1 - "New York Groove" (CAN-135) released as a single in the UK backed with "Snow Blind." Special colored-vinyl versions include a paper mask.
2 - An edit of "Radioactive," removing the Ron Frangiapane/Janis Ian intro section, debuts on the US Billboard singles charts at #84.
5 - Paul interviewed live on KJR-Seattle radio station promoting his solo album and in-store appearance at Peaches for the following day.
6 - Paul in-store appearance at Peaches in Seattle, WA.
12 - Gene Simmons hosts a KISSmas party at Fiorucci's in Beverly Hills, CA where Disney's Pinnochio is aired along with his recording of "When You Wish Upon A Star".
16 - "Paul Stanley" hits its high position of #40 on the US Billboard Top 200 album charts.
21 - Ken Anderson memos KISS about plans for KISS' 1979 world tour: "Most spetacular show ever to go on the road."
23 - "Hold Me, Touch me" reaches its high position of #46 on the US Billboard singles charts.
30 - Ace guests live on 99X WOR-FM, WXLO NY, with his pet dogs Blondie & Seamus also in the studio. Tracks are played from the solo albums and he talks about the new show/tour.

January 1979

3 - Lydia Criss served with divorce papers...
6 - "Gene Simmons" hits its high position of #22 on the US Billboard Top 200 album charts.
13 - "Ace Frehley" hits its high position of #26 on the US Billboard Top 200 album charts.
13 - "Radioactive" reaches its high position of #47 on the US Billboard singles charts. It only charts for one additional week.
23 - Completion of Peter's demo sessions at Music Farm Studios in New York City with Vini Poncia. The four songs recorded with Stan Penridge would be presented for use on KISS' "Dynasty."
27 - UK single "Radioactive" (CAN 134) reaches its highest position of #41 on the official British Market Research Bureau/Music Week 'Top 75' singles' chart.

February

3 - "New York Groove" reaches its high position of #13 on the US Billboard singles charts. It charts at that position for two weeks.
10 - Final US charting week of "Paul Stanley" at #162.
24 - Final US charting week of "Peter Criss" at #195.
24 - Planned KISS appearance as Grand Marshalls at the Endymion Parade during Mardi Gras celebrations in New Orleans. KISS had to cancel due to a police strike in the city, though management had felt that it was quite a PR coup at the time the event was being organized.

March

2 - Gene makes a guest appearance in make-up, on the "Mike Douglas Show," as part of a Cher skit.
11 - Final US charting week of "Gene Simmons" at #179.
18 - Final US charting week of "Ace Frehley" at #176.

April

25 - A solo album box set is released in Japan containing the four albums.

May

3 - The "Robert Klein Hour" with guests Ace Frehley and Gene Simmons airs. The show had been taped in April. This is the last known appearance of band member's wearing their "Love Gun/Alive II" costumes. Robert had been one of the guests on the Mike Douglas Show on which KISS appeared in 1974.



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This timeline will be updated during the "Back in the Solo Album Groove" celebration. If you have any Aucoin/KISS-related memos or timeline entries, corrections, clarifications, etc., that you'd like to contribute and share with your fellow fans - you'd be most welcome! Please email KissFAQ.