Music From the Elder

Click to see a scan of the incorrect layout.

US Version:
Side A
1. The Oath (4:32) - Stanley/Ezrin/Powers
2. Fanfare (1:22) - Ezrin/Stanley
3. Just A Boy (2:30) - Stanley/Ezrin
4. Dark Light (4:12) - Frehley/Fig/Reed/Simmons
5. Only You (4:19) - Simmons
6. Under The Rose (4:49) - Carr/Simmons
Side B
1. A World Without Heroes (2:40) - Stanley/Ezrin/Reed/Simmons
2. Mr. Blackwell (4:53) - Simmons/Reed
3. Escape From The Island (2:50) - Frehley/Ezrin/Carr
4. Odyssey (5:36) - Powers
5. I (3:52) - Simmons/Ezrin
Track order on the cover of the alternate U.S. pressing:
Side A
1. Fanfare (1:22) - Ezrin/Stanley
2. Just A Boy (2:30) - Stanley/Ezrin
3. Odyssey (5:36) - Powers
4. Only You (4:19) - Simmons
5. Under The Rose (4:49) - Carr/Simmons
Side B
1. Dark Light (4:12) - Frehley/Fig/Reed/Simmons
2. The Oath (4:32) - Stanley/Ezrin/Powers
3. A World Without Heroes (2:40) - Stanley/Ezrin/Reed/Simmons
4. Mr. Blackwell (4:53) - Simmons/Reed
5. I (3:52) - Simmons/Ezrin

Elder Gatefold
Elder gatefold artwork

Ace was very unhappy with the band's choice of Bob Ezrin for producer for the album because Ezrin was the main force behind the new direction the band was going to take. Ace thought that KISS needed to do another heavy metal record to get themselves back on track, but Ezrin pushed them to do the concept album. Eric Carr agreed with Ace, but was not given a vote since he was not part of the original band. Ace was outvoted two to one. Because of this Ace felt even more alienated from the band than he already had. Accordingly he had little to do with the recording other than the two tracks he wrote and recorded himself. Ace was also reported to be unhappy with the final mix of the album which downplayed the guitar work.

Ace and Anton Fig perform all of the instruments on 'Dark Light,' while Ace and Eric Carr perform everything on 'Escape From The Island," two of the album's best tracks.

' The Elder' was the first studio album which Eric Carr appeared on.

Japanse Slipcase for ElderGene Simmons

When The Elder was released in Japan, the record company designed a cover showing the band in their costumes and makeup that slid over the original cover. It was also not called Music From The Elder; instead it was given the title "Great Decisive Battle of The Underworld." "Escape From The Island" isn't on the Japanese version of 'The Elder,' instead it was released 7 months later on the 'Killers' album.

The hand on the cover is actually Paul Stanley's.

The door on the cover belongs to a Methodist church on Park Avenue in New York City.

The Elder was an original story for a film written by Gene Simmons. The movie never was produced despite the fact that the soundtrack was written for it.

KISS hoped that The Elder would translate into a string of albums that would be connected by a common thread--this concept of a boy chosen to fight against evil. The Elder would have an immediate follow-up album (tentatively titled 'War of The Gods') that would continue the story line and then a third album of the film's score. Of course, this never happened due to abysmal sales of The Elder. At the time, Pink Floyd was very successful with their concept album, The Wall, and KISS believed that The Elder could do the same for them after the disappointing Unmasked album.

The Elder quickly went out of print and became a hot collector's item in the 80's until it was released on cd by Mercury in 1989. It was the last Kiss album to see re-issue apparently because both Paul and Gene did not want it to be released. Apparently they bowed to fan pressure and the album was released in May of 1989.


Promotional photo originally shot for "Elder".

The band refined their look for the album as they wanted to be taken seriously. Paul cut his hair short and wore a headband; Gene tied his hair back in a strange-looking ponytail, and Ace also cut his hair into a shag. Oddly enough, Eric Carr was the only member to keep his long hair. Other changes included the nixing of the infamous blood-spitting and wild antics, no more platform shoes and a toning down of the outfits. Needless to say, this hurt the band's image rather than helping it.

An untitled demo was recorded by Ace and Eric at this time and it wouldn't be released until 1992. The song was released as an instrumental on "Hot in the Shade" and called "Carr Jam 1981." According to the liner notes of Revenge, this song was meant to showcase Eric Carr with a 2 to 3 minute drum solo in the middle; essentially it was to be his "Moby Dick". Ace first reworked the song for his 1987 Frehley's Comet album and called it "Breakout" with Anton Fig performing the drums. Eric was given writting credits on the Comet album.

Lou Reed co-wrote "Dark Light," "A World Without Heroes," and "Mr. Blackwell."

"Dark Light" was originally titled "Don't Run" and had different lyrics.

"A World Without Heroes" was originally titled "Every Little Bit of Your Heart."

"Only You" was originally performed as "Eskimo Sun" by Wicked Lester around 1970, and was a love song.

The stage show for The Elder was to be very elaborate, featuring the band as Keepers of the Light of Truth, protecting a damsel in distress with a freeze gun in a three-act play. KISS was going Broadway, but alas it never
came to be. The entire tour was scraped because of poor album sales.

Two videos were produced for the album: "A World Without Heroes" and "I."

The only live performance of material from The Elder was on the Friday show on January 15, 1982 as KISS played The Oath, I, and A World Without Heroes. Rumor has it that W.A.S.P.'s Blackie Lawless was in the audience (as a fan) for KISS' appearance on the Friday show.


Paul Stanley & Gene Simmons

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