© (P) 1974 Casablanca Records; © 1997, KISS Catalog Ltd.

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Black Diamond

Paul Stanley

This was one of the earliest songs Gene and Paul wrote together, even though the writing was credited solely to Paul. According to Paul, "Gene came up with the riff that's incorporated into the chords" (Guitar World, 8/92). The collaboration goes a bit further with Gene originally having intended to write a song using the title only to have Paul write a song with the title before Gene could finish writing his own song! Essentially, the song is about a black prostitute and New York street life in general, though, as would be the case with many early songs "Black Diamond" is more about the big guitar sound that Paul and Ace worked hard to get. Whereas "Deuce" is Gene Simmons' version of the Rolling Stones' "Bitch," this could be said to be Paul Stanley's version of "Brown Sugar." Clocking in at 3:47 in its demo form, the song was given to Peter to sing, apparently at the last moment while the band was in the studio cutting the demo (Gooch, Suhs - KISS Alive Forever).

The transition from the March 1973 version to the November 1973 recording for the debut album saw the introduction being developed with more pronounced acoustic guitar. The lead into the song also changed from a cymbal to Peter counting off time with his sticks. The guitar solo is shortened, being replaced with another repetition of the verse, and while the song is nearly 1:30 longer than the demo, the final 1:45 of the song is the extended outro with a decreasing tempo fade. According to Paul, "The tag at the end of the song reminds me of early Neil Young or 'Stairway To Heaven.' It needed something extra, because we just didn't think the song was over" (Guitar World, 8/92).

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