Some of Kiss’ most famous album covers could have looked very different.

The gallery below shows how albums as early the band’s 1973 self-titled debut through 1997’s Carnival of Souls were changed or nearly changed during the creative process, and how records such as 1981’s Music From “The Elder” and 1983’s Lick It Up actually were released with different cover art in some countries.

Flipping through the covers of Kiss’ 20 studio albums is a quick way to relive the roller-coaster ride full of ups, downs and sudden turns the band has undergone during its nearly five-decade career. But the narrative those images provide can’t always be trusted.

For example, under label pressure and eager to display a strong and united front as they were splitting in half, Kiss kept Peter Criss‘ and Ace Frehley‘s faces on covers of albums they didn’t actually play on in the ’70s and ’80s. You’ll see how albums such as Dynasty, Unmasked and Creatures of the Night might have looked if the musicians who performed on the records matched up with who was on the covers.

We also dive into “What If?” territory below by imagining how differently the cover art of Kiss’ ’80s and ’90s albums could have been designed in an alternate universe where band members group never took off their makeup.





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