4. 'Love Gun' (1977)
The final studio effort of Kiss' glory years, after which they took a swan dive into a mucky pit filled with solo albums, disco balls, band-member switcheroos, concept records and all other manner of musical hijinks. And yet, not only are many of the songs top notch (opener "I Stole Your Love," the title track) but Love Gun also ranks as a true group effort. For the first time, all four members contribute lead vocals (Ace Frehley's "Shock Me" is a particular highlight — just ask the boys in Buckcherry, who basically rerecorded it as "Lit Up"), and they also lend one another a hand instrumentally, with Stanley playing a little lead guitar and bass and Simmons pitching in with some six-string rhythm work. Producer Eddie Kramer even jumps in on the action, adding some rollicking one-chord piano to Simmons' lascivious "Christine Sixteen." Recalled Kramer, "[Gene] actually coached me on how to play like a Neanderthal person."