KISS fans' long, national nightmare ended today in 1979 with the release of the "Dynasty" record, their first studio album in two years. The album was released during a time of great tumult for the band and was notable for a variety of reasons. Unfortunately most of those reasons have nothing to do with the quality of the songs on the album.
"Dynasty" is somewhat of a train wreck, even for a KISS album. Ace Frehley, never one known for his vocal or lyrical chops, sings three songs on the album, each worse than the next. Peter Criss, recovering from a hand injury, mercifully only has one song on the record. Gene Simmons chipped in two tracks, one decent and one paint by the numbers, while Paul Stanley filled out the rest.
Criss' injury led to Anton Fig making his first appearance with KISS after having played on Ace's solo album. Fig played drums on nine of the ten tracks. "Dynasty" also marked the first appearance of writer Desmond Child, who co-authored the smash hit "I Was Made For Lovin' You". Child would later write hits for Aerosmith, Bon Jovi, Alice Cooper, and Ricky Martin. That's right, the summer you had "Livin' la Vida Loca" on repeat you were listening to the same guy that wrote a KISS disco song.
The disco connection is of course what most fans/critics find notable about "Dynasty". Accusations of KISS selling out raged at the time, but those accusations were not true. There is no way KISS was guilty of selling out in 1979 simply because they had already sold out in 1973 when they formed the band. (See Tool's "Hooker With a Penis" for an explanation.)
The disco songs on the album, "I Was Made For Lovin' You" and "Sure Know Something", were necessary for KISS to continue. The band was being torn asunder from forces within and without the band. Their idea of taking a break and releasing four solo albums was a failure, despite each album going gold. Criss' drumming was holding the band back and Ace was a basket case. Without the success of "Dynasty", largely on the backs of the disco songs, it's doubtful that KISS would have been able to weather the impending storm that was to be called "The Elder" and survive long enough for new drummer Eric Carr to give the band the kick in the ass they so desperately needed.