That Time Kiss Revisited Their Past With ‘The Originals’
On July 21, 1976, to capitalize on the multi-platinum success of their past two releases, Kiss released The Originals, a specially priced box set containing their lesser-known first three studio albums.
Despite quickly building a strong live following based on their over-the-top stage show, Kiss' self-titled 1974 debut, their sophomore effort, Hotter Than Hell, from later that same year or 1975's Dressed to Kill made a lasting impression on the sales chart. It wasn't until Casablanca Records took a big risk by releasing the now-classic double live album Alive! that the band's career rocketed into the stratosphere. Their 1976 Bob Ezrin-polished studio follow-up, Destroyer, cemented their 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 replicated the 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.
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.
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