1980: * Kiss signs what was then the biggest record deal in the industry, with Mercury/Polygram Records. But because of Polygram's recent acquisition of Casablanca, Kiss decides to just continue recording for their old label. * The band begins work on their next album. Peter is not involved in the recording. Again, Anton Fig is brought in to fill in. * Plans for a second movie, entitled "Behind the Mask" are put on hold. * "Unmasked" is released in May. It's again produced by Vini Poncia and shows a very "poppy" side to the band. It only reaches #35 on the Billboard charts, and goes gold. * Kiss and Peter decide to go their separate ways. Peter's final job with the band is the filming of the "Shandi" promotional video clip. * "Shandi" is released as a single. It reaches #47 on the Billboard Hot 100. * A search is put into effect for a replacement for Peter. Hundreds of applicants are looked over. Thirty are called for an audition. * Chosen for the replacement is Brooklyn born Paul Caravello. The band likes his charisma and charm, as well as his strong vocal capabilities. * Paul Caravello chooses the name Eric Carr and becomes the new member of Kiss. He takes the persona of "The Fox" and makes his television debut on the Sunday morning children's program "Kids Are People Too." * Eric makes his live debut with Kiss at the Palladium in New York City. * "Tomorrow" is released as the second single off of "Unmasked" in America. It fails to chart. In Europe, Japan and Australia "Talk to Me" is released as the album's second single. * Kiss travels to Europe for only the second time. They tour the continent extensively. * Kiss goes to Australia to perform for the first time. It becomes one of their most successful tours, with 6 sold out stadium concerts. 1981: * Kiss is relatively quiet throughout the year, writing and working on material for their next album. They originally plan on making a heavier sounding album, along the lines of their earlier albums. "Destroyer" producer Bob Ezrin is brought in to work with them. * Kiss decides to try a concept album for their next project, much to the dismay of both Ace and Eric. The concept is a simple one, based on mythological characters and heroes. The story is written by Gene. * "(Music from) The Elder" is released in November. The album is critically received, but it perplexes both the band's record company and the band's fans. It becomes Kiss's poorest selling album, reaching #75 on the Billboard charts. The band also change their image, with shortened hair and less elaborate costumes. * "A World Without Heroes" is released as a single. It peaks at #56 on the Hot 100. * Due to the album's failure, Kiss decides not to tour. 1982: * Paul and Gene get involved in Cerebral Palsy charities. * Kiss films their only live "Elder" performance on the late night ABC show, "Fridays." "The Oath," "A World Without Heroes" and "I" are played live. Kiss also plays "I" on the syndicated music show "Solid Gold." * Kiss is awarded as Europe's top performing act and plays "I" at New York's Studio 54 for a live remote all across Europe. Missing from the ceremony is Ace. * At the request of Polygram Europe, Kiss puts together the compilation album "Killers," which features four new studio songs: "I'm a Legend Tonight, "Down on Your Knees," "Nowhere to Run" and "Partners in Crime." The songs are more along the lines of early Kiss. Ace is not featured on of the songs. Bob Kulick steps in for most of the lead guitar work. To this day, the four songs have never been released on an American Kiss album. * Kiss decides to part company with manager Bill Aucoin. Kiss's affairs are now handled by their business management. * Ace is involved in a serious car crash and is unable to join the band for work on their next album. * Kiss starts recording their 17th album in New York City. At the same time, the band begins to fly guitarists in for possible replacements for Ace. Numerous guitarists audition to play on the record including future Ratt guitarist Robbin Crosby, future Bon Jovi guitarist Richie Sambora and former Angel guitarist Punky Meadows. Bob Kulick, Robben Ford and Steve Ferris lend their lead guitar talents to the new album, as does session guitarist Vinnie Cusano, who co-wrote numerous songs for the album. * "Creatures of the Night" is released in October. It's Kiss's "return to form" music-wise, with a very heavy drum sound. It reaches #45 on the Billboard charts and eventually goes gold. * Kiss travels to Europe for a promotional television tour. Ace joins them, but also decides to leave the group once they return to America. * The band films the video for "I Love it Loud." It's Ace's farewell to the band. * "I Love it Loud" is released as the album's only single. It "bubbles" under the Billboard Hot 100 chart at #102. * Kiss decides to recruit Vinnie Cusano as Ace's replacement. He changes his name to Vinnie Vincent and is given the persona of the "Egyptian Warrior." * Kiss begins their new North American tour on New Year's Eve in Rockford, IL. 1983: * The North American "Creatures of the Night" tour is plagued with two problems: 1. poor attendance. The band plays to numerous half empty venues. 2. The band is faced with problems from religious fanatics claiming Kiss is Satanic and that their image is corrupting to America's youth. It's these two problems that the tour is called off halfway through. * The band travels to South America for the first time in their career. There, they play to the biggest crowds they've ever played to. Outdoor concert audiences total nearly 200,000 people per show. * Kiss return to America to begin work on their next album. Vinnie Vincent contributes a great deal of new material. * Kiss sign a new deal with Mercury Records due to floundering business with Casablanca. * The band decides at their photo shoot for the new album cover to finally unmask. They supposedly take photos with and without makeup and costumes (pictures from the session with the makeup have yet to surface). The clothes worn in the pictures without makeup are the street clothes the band members wore the day of the shoot. * Kiss officially unmasks on MTV, on a late Sunday evening, without much hype and promotion. However, news of the image change makes headline news in the entertainment industry. * "Lick it Up" is released in September. It becomes Kiss's strongest album in years, chartwise, reaching #24 on the Billboard charts, eventually going platinum. The video of the title track gets heavy airplay on MTV. * The band travels to Europe for their third tour of the continent. * The band comes home and begins a new North American tour, playing small arenas and large theaters. Ticket sales increase due to interest in the image change. * "Lick it Up" is released as a single. It reaches #66 on the Billboard Hot 100. 1984: * "All Hell's Breakin' Loose" is the album's second video and single. The video gets decent airplay, but the single fails to chart. * The band winds up their successful tour, but personal problems begin to develop with Vinnie. Contractual disputes and ego problems on both sides cause Vinnie to leave in the spring. * The band is given a tape of ten guitar players to audition. Among them are California native Mark Norton. Mark's playing highly impresses the band, particularly Paul. He's given an audition and is hired as Vinnie's replacement. He changes his name to Mark St. John. * The band begin work on their 19th album, produced by Paul Stanley. Gene gets preoccupied with his new acting career. Filming of his first movie "Runaway" takes him away from the studio. * Paul finishes up the production of the album. Right before he hands over the master tapes to Polygram, he decides to remix the entire album. * "Animalize" is released in September. It peaks at #19 on the Billboard charts and goes platinum (some sources say that it's nearing double platinum). * "Heaven's on Fire" is released as a single. It gets extensive radio airplay and peaks at #49 on the Hot 100. The video also receives heavy MTV rotation. * The "All Hell's Breakin' Loose" video is nominated, but loses for best cinematography at the first ever MTV Video Music Awards. * Kiss begins rehearsals for their "Animalize" tour. However, Mark begins to show signs of an arthritis condition called Reiter's Syndrome. It makes his hands and joints swell up and he is unable to play guitar. * In a frenzied panic, Kiss manage to acquire Bruce Kulick to fill in on lead guitar while Mark recovers from his illness. Bruce had been a friend to the band for years. His brother Bob was one of the guitarists to audition for the band in 1973. He was almost chosen before Ace came into the rehearsal loft. Bruce had played the lead guitar solo on the song "Lonely is the Hunter" on the "Animalize" album. * Kiss travel to Europe in September to begin their tour with Bruce on lead guitar. They take Mark on the road with them, in case he's well enough to take over. * Upon returning to America in December, Mark is still not healthy. The band make a decision and decide to make Bruce a full time member. * Kiss films their Detroit, MI show for an MTV Saturday Night Concert and future home video. 1985: * "Thrills in the Night" is released as a single. It fails to chart. * The "Animalize" tour winds up with a sold out show at the Meadowlands Arena in East Rutherford, NJ in March. * The "Animalize Live Uncensored" home video is released in the spring. It reaches platinum status. * Kiss immediately begin work on their 20th album. They record at New York's Electric Lady Studios. This is currently the last Kiss studio album to be worked on in New York. * Gene works on two new movies while work on the album is being completed: "Wanted Dead or Alive" and "Never Too Young to Die." He plays a hermaphrodite in the latter. * "Asylum," Kiss's 20th album is released in September. It reaches #20 on the Billboard charts and eventually goes platinum. * "Thrills in the Night" is released as the album's first single. It reaches #51 on the Hot 100. The video receives heavy rotation and becomes a #1 requested video on MTV's new "Dial MTV" program. * The "Asylum" tour is set to start in early November, but is pushed back a few weeks due to Paul suffering from a groin injury. * The tour starts in late November. The band incorporates more colorful, "glam" oriented costumes, as well as a 40 foot logo. They also decide to play cover songs on the tour: The Who's "Won't Get Fooled Again" and Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love." The tour is successful, but not as big as the previous two. 1986: * "Uh! All Night" is released as a single. It fails to chart. The video receives decent airplay. * "Who Wants to Be Lonely" is the third video to be filmed from "Asylum." It receives minimal MTV airplay. * Kiss winds up their tour in April and takes a break to prepare new material and work on other projects. Bruce films a guitar instructional video for Star Licks. Gene works on some acting projects, including the horror movie "Trick or Treat," where he plays a DJ. He also produces new albums for rock acts Keel and Black 'n Blue * Kiss begin filming a new documentary home video for release in early 1987. 1987: * The "Kiss Exposed" home video is released in the spring. It instantly becomes a huge seller, hitting the #1 spot on the Billboard Music Video chart. It reaches platinum status. * Kiss relocate to Los Angeles to begin work on their next album. They call in producer Ron Nevison (Heart, Ozzy Osbourne, Survivor, UFO) to work with them. * "Crazy Nights" is released in September. It reaches #18 on the Billboard charts and goes platinum. It features a lighter sound with heavy keyboard emphasis. * "Crazy Crazy Nights" is released as the first single. It peaks at #68 on the Hot 100. * Kiss begins their "Crazy Nights" tour. Attendance is moderate. Some full houses, some half full. 1988: * "Reason to Live" is released as the second single off the album. It peaks at #64. The video becomes the #1 requested video on MTV for a full month. * The band winds down the North American portion of their tour. They then travel to Japan for the first time in 10 years. They take with them a rather scaled down stage show, lacking the major theatrics and light up logo that made them famous. * "Turn on the Night" is released as a single. It fails to chart. * Paul and Gene appear on both the Oprah Winfrey and Geraldo Rivera shows to discuss life on the road and groupies. * Kiss play two packed club shows at the Ritz in New York as a preparation for their upcoming European tour. * Kiss goes to Europe to co-headline the "Monsters of Rock" stadium tour with Iron Maiden. Also on the bill are David Lee Roth, Megadeth, Guns 'n Roses and Helloween. * A special home video titled "Crazy Nights" is released. It features all three videos from the last album. * Upon their return to America, Gene sets up his own record label, Simmons Records, distributed through RCA/BMG Records. The first and most successful act on the roster is House of Lords, who release two albums in 1988 and 1990 respectively. * Kiss readies their second "greatest hits" album. They remix and remaster 13 classic songs as well as record two new tracks. Eric Carr is forced to record a new vocal on Peter Criss's classic "Beth," which doesn't fit well with both Peter and with Kiss fans. * "Smashes, Thrashes and Hits" is released in November. It reaches #22 on the Billboard charts. It ultimately makes double platinum status. * Plans for a small club tour go into effect, however those plans are soon nixed. * "Let's Put the X in Sex" is released as a single. It peaks at #97 on the Billboard Hot 100. The video becomes another #1 requested video on Dial MTV. 1989: * "(You Make Me)Rock Hard" is released as a single. It fails to chart. The video gets minimal airplay on MTV's "Headbanger's Ball" program. * Paul decides to do a Northeastern club tour while the band takes a break. Paul's band consists of guitarist Bob Kulick, Kiss's tour keyboard Gary Corbett, bassist Dennis St. James and future Kiss drummer Eric Singer. Paul incorporates many Kiss classics that are not played in years. Fan reaction is great. The tour concentrates in the New York/Pennsylvania area, but also travels to Ohio and Los Angeles. * Kiss reconvene in L.A. to begin work on their next album. Friction between Paul and Gene arises. Paul wants Gene to concentrate more on Kiss matters and less on outside projects like acting and managing. Gene understands and begins to focus more on the band. * After successful demo recording at a small studio called The Fortress, the band decides to record the whole album at this studio. They strip down their sound to being more guitar oriented. * "Hot in the Shade" is released in October. The album features Eric Carr's first original composition/vocal on the song "Little Caesar." The album peaks at #29 and goes gold. * "Hide Your Heart" is released as a single. It reaches only #66 after a strong showing on Top 40 radio. The video receives decent airplay on MTV. * Plans for a "return to form" stage show are made, based on the "sphinx" album cover. Both Britny Fox and former Kiss guitarist Ace Frehley are offered the opening slots. However, fan interest begins to wade and album sales slip, causing the band to put their touring plans on hold.