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Ken Kelly, Artist Behind Classic KISS, Rainbow, and Manowar Album Covers, Dead at 76

Ken Kelly, Artist Behind Classic KISS, Rainbow, and Manowar Album Covers, Dead at 76

Unfortunate information for the rock, metallic, and artwork worlds nowadays, as Ken Kelly, the illustrator driving the covers of these types of common albums as KISSDestroyer, Rainbow‘s Soaring, and quite a few popular releases by Manowar, has died. He was 76 yrs old.

News of Kelly’s demise was verified by his good friend Danny Stanton, president and founder of Coallier Leisure, who wrote, “RIP KEN KELLY. You will constantly be a legend in the KISS world. This kind of a terrific dude, artist, close friend.”

As described by Blabbermouth, Kelly begun as an artist by finding out the paintings of famous illustrator Frank Frazetta in his studio.

His perform graced the addresses of common Warren Publishing horror journals like Creepy, Eerie, and Castle of Frankenstein. It was there that his get the job done was to start with observed by KISS drummer Peter Criss.

By way of a 2018 interview with Kelly in Print:

“I experienced generally considered it was Gene Simmons, but Criss’s spouse said it was he who was reading Eerie and Creepy while Gene and Paul Stanley were reading through Marvel comics. So I would say Peter Criss was basically responsible for me ending up staying the protect person.

“Warren was publishing journals every couple of weeks, so the turnaround [for covers] experienced to be incredibly quick. You had to arrive up with a principle, paint it, provide it, and then you had been on to the upcoming one. So when Kiss arrived alongside, I was ready.”

Seemingly, Kelly’s authentic notion for the Destroyer protect did not suit KISS’ preferences:

“They assumed it was far too violent…It was 1975, and they didn’t want to start this kind of a big project with these a detrimental protect. I believed my career was more than. That was a single of the heaviest blows I have at any time acquired.”

Nonetheless, upon remodeling the painting, KISS accepted it.

Kelly’s two most notable contributions to rock and roll deal with art are most very likely Destroyer and KISS’ Appreciate Gun.

The notoriety of these album handles later on earned him prospects with Rainbow, for whom he illustrated the go over of 1976’s Climbing, and Manowar, for whom he did many album covers like 1987’s Fighting the Earth and 1988’s Kings of Steel.

Absolutely everyone at MetalSucks sends their heart out to Kelly’s loved ones, friends, supporters and collaborators during this hard time.