Monday, March 12, 2012

Song of the Day: KISS, "Black Diamond"

Jenny and I were discussing the Replacements when the origins of "Black Diamond" came up. I wonder how many people don't know that it was written by the self-proclaimed "hottest band in the world."

These days, I don't listen to a lot of KISS. They can't compete with AC/DC or Van Halen. But they do have many great songs and even better, the best show on earth. Watching four flying, fire-breathing, blood-spitting superheroes throwing the greatest party in the universe and inviting the entire world is a thrill that I hope everybody gets at least once.

KISS is more of a business than a band, but in the '70s, their commercial sensibilities assured (for a while) quality control of their music. "Black Diamond" is a good example, the closing track on their debut album and a highlight of any KISS show. Peter Criss, usually shafted in KISStory, sings like he's really out on the streets for a living. He's not a spellbinding drummer, but this song (along with "Hard Luck Woman" and Beth") shows why KISS will never be as great without him.

Even without the budget, audience, special effects or experience that they have today, seeing KISS play "Black Diamond" is a marvelous experience. Watching the band on their way up here, leaving a 1975 TV show audience in the dust, I am still awestruck by their songcraft and showmanship.

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