“Back in the ’70s, Howard Marks was Kiss’ business manager; he was a financial, suit-and-tie, New York City guy who worked in advertising,” singer and bassist Gene Simmons explained in the liner notes to the new 45th-anniversary Super Deluxe edition of Destroyer. “When we were trying to think of a name for the new Bob Ezrin-produced record and couldn’t come up with a title, Marks said, ‘My son heard your conversation and suggested, “Why don’t you call the record Destroyer?”‘ just like that.
“We all looked at each other like, ‘Out of the mouths of babes, I guess,'” Simmons continued. “We immediately went, ‘Yeah, that’s right, Destroyer. Wow, that’s cool.’ I remember wanting to call it Dynasty, which we used much later on, you know, like the Ming Dynasty, the continuation of China, and there was also a TV show named Dynasty, but I wasn’t aware of it.”
Released on March 15, 1976, Destroyer became Kiss’ most successful U.S. studio album, selling over 2 million copies and peaking at No. 11 on the Billboard 200. It spawned five singles, including the beloved stadium-rock anthems “Shout It Out Loud” and “Detroit Rock City” and the No. 7-peaking ballad “Beth.”
Kiss later applied the Dynasty title to their seventh studio album, which came out in 1979 as the group’s popularity was beginning to decline and the original lineup was beginning to splinter. Despite this friction, Kiss still scored another huge hit with Dynasty‘s disco-inflected lead single, “I Was Made for Lovin’ You,” which peaked at No. 11 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Paul Stanley praised Destroyer in a new interview with UCR, calling it “pivotal for us, a real a raise-the-bar moment.” He added that the LP “wasn’t initially met and embraced in the way we had hoped because, let’s face it, it didn’t sound like Kiss Alive! But over time it became a part of who we are and who we’re perceived to be, and the songs just transcend, perhaps, the initial resistance to the sonics or the instrumentation.”
Kiss Lineup Changes: A Complete Guide
An in-depth guide to all of the personnel changes undergone by the “hottest band in the land,” Kiss.