When I was in second grade, “Rocket Ride” by Kiss was my hands-down, absolute most favorite song. It was released as a 45RPM single in 1977 on Casablanca Records, but I didn’t discover it until about 1982 when a neighbor gave it to me because I liked the Casablanca logo. I would listen to it on my record player every day after school, even taking it to school on Fridays because our teacher let us play records during lunch each week. I’m pretty sure my classmates quickly grew impatient with my stubbornly consistent choice, but I didn’t care. I couldn’t wait to hear Ace Frehley’s thinly veiled sexual innuendo blasting out over his flanged-out guitar, despite having no idea what it all meant at the time.
Anyway, each afternoon as I listened to my records, I would lay all the ones on deck out on the floor, so I could see all my choices and put them in order. Well, my little brother came tumbling in one afternoon and accidentally stepped on “Rocket Ride”, cracking my most prized single in half. I was devastated and begged my father to drive me to Peaches immediately to replace it. He eventually caved, but little did I know at the time that since that 45 had actually come out in 1977, it wasn’t exactly readily available in 1982. Needless to say, I was crestfallen. I always kept an eye out for it over the years, never seeing another copy anywhere. Then, in 1995, when I was on a trip to New Orleans for a college radio convention, I flipped through the Kiss section just out of habit, expecting to come up empty as usual, but there it was. The price tag could have said anything, and I would have paid it or at least tried. Annoyingly, I had to wait a few days until I got home to listen to it, and I was both anxious and hesitant. So, the moment I walked in the door, I laid out all my new purchases on the floor (old habits…) and, fuck me, if I didn’t step on the goddamn thing before it ever got to the turntable. Mother fucker. I was beyond pissed. 13 years of waiting and splat. I wasn’t even really much of a Kiss fan- just a fan of “Rocket Ride” and its effect on me.
A few years later a friend of mine who knew my history with the song said he had a gift for me and handed me a pristine copy of “Rocket Ride” all wrapped in plastic. It was almost anti-climactic when I finally got the record on the turntable. Nothing could have lived up to the way that song had sounded to my eight-year-old ears. But I still love the song in all its cheesy glory.