Any KISS fan that came of age in the mid 70’s would know the name Kenny Kerner. Kenny and Ritchie Wise produced the debut album from the band and like everyone at the time we wanted to absorb every little nugget of detail from this strange band in kabuki makeup. Kenny was the same way when the demo came across his desk.
“Though the demo sounded very strong, the band was presenting more than just music—they were presenting an image. Something controversial. Something different. Something memorable. Something entertaining. Something that made people react. And that was the key for me. It wasn’t just in the music. For me, it was the entire package.”
“Strutter” was the first song on the debut album and thereby the first KISS song I ever heard. It remains by favorite from the band.
The debut was also ranked by Rolling Stone magazine as the greatest KISS album of all time.
Kenny also produced gems from other bands including the #1 hit and current theme song to the TV show Louie “Brother Louie”
Here’s Gladys Knight and The Pips “I’ve Got To Use My Imagination”. The song reached #4 on the Billboard charts in 1974
Jose Feliciano “And The Feeling’s Good”
He also worked on what was supposed to be Badfinger’s 3rd album and became both because of the band’s personal and professional issues a legendary never to be released album. It did finally came out in 2000 and you can hear the great sound that Kenny was able to get from a band on the edge of implosion.
Kenny was more than a producer. He devoted his career to educating talent not only on how to record but more importantly, taught musicians the business side of the industry. He first at the Music Institute and then at The Cool School and also served as the Senior Editor at Music Connection magazine for over eight years. You can see his full list of credits here.
Most importantly he was instrumental in serving as a foster parent to my brother-in-law and remained a prominent fixture in his life. I considered Kenny a friend.
Kenny passed away this week. He is going to be missed but his legacy will live on.