When Kiss Revisited Their Past on ‘The Originals’
Kiss capitalized on their mid-'70s multi-platinum streak by issuing The Originals, a specially priced box set containing the group's lesser-known initial studio albums.
They'd quickly buildt a strong live following based on their over-the-top stage show. Still, Kiss' self-titled 1974 debut, sophomore effort Hotter Than Hell from later that same year, and 1975's Dressed to Kill failed to make a lasting impression on the sales chart. It wasn't until Casablanca Records took a big risk by releasing the now-classic double album Alive! that the band's career rocketed into the stratosphere.
The 1976 Bob Ezrin-polished studio follow-up, Destroyer, cemented Kiss' place in the rock hierarchy, and made somebody on the band's marketing team realize that the group's early catalog was now prime for repackaging.
Billed as "the albums that kicked off a rock 'n' roll explosion," The Originals arrived on July 21, 1976 with replicated original album jacket art for each of the three records on paper inner sleeves contained within the box set's gatefold packaging. In an effort to add extra value – and possibly convince some longtime fans who already owned the individual albums to pony up for them again in this new configuration – the set also featured six trading cards, a Kiss Army sticker and a 16-page booklet tracing the history of the band.
Watch Kiss' Commercial for 'The Originals'
According to KissMonster, the initial pressing of 250,000 copies of The Originals sold out, leading to a second printing the following year. In 1978, a sequel, The Originals II, was released, but only in Japan. That second collection has gone on to become one of the holy grails of Kiss collecting, with used copies selling for hundreds of dollars.