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Kiss

Rooted in the campy theatrics of Alice Cooper and the sleazy hard rock of glam rockers the New York Dolls, Kiss became a favorite of American teenagers in the '70s. Most kids were infatuated with the look of Kiss, not their music. Decked out in outrageously flamboyant costumes and makeup, the band fashioned a captivating stage show featuring dry ice, smoke bombs, elaborate lighting, blood spitting, and fire breathing that captured the imaginations of thousands of kids. But Kiss' music shouldn't be dismissed -- it was a commercially potent mix of anthemic, fist-pounding hard rock driven by sleek hooks and ballads powered by loud guitars, cloying melodies, and sweeping strings. It was a sound that laid the groundwork for both arena rock and the pop-metal that dominated rock in the late '80s.

Kiss was the brainchild of Gene Simmons (bass, vocals) and Paul Stanley (rhythm guitar, vocals), former members of the New York-based hard rock band Wicked Lester; the duo brought in drummer Peter Criss through his ad in Rolling Stone, while guitarist Ace Frehley responded to an advertisement in The Village Voice. Even at their first Manhattan concert in 1973, the group's approach was theatrical, and Flipside producer Bill Aucoin offered the band a management deal after the show. Two weeks later, the band was signed to Neil Bogart's fledgling record label, Casablanca. Kiss released their self-titled debut in February of 1974; it peaked at number 87 on the U.S. charts. By April of 1975, the group had released three albums and had been touring America constantly, building up a sizable fan base.

Culled from those numerous concerts, Alive! (released in the fall of 1975) made the band rock & roll superstars; it climbed into the Top Ten and its accompanying single, "Rock 'N' Roll All Nite," made it to number 12. Their follow-up, Destroyer, was released in March of 1976 and became the group's first platinum album; it also featured their first Top Ten single, Peter Criss' power ballad "Beth." Kiss mania was in full swing; thousands of pieces of merchandise hit the marketplace (including pinball machines, makeup and masks, and board games), and the group had two comic books released by Marvel as well as a live-action TV movie, Kiss Meet the Phantom of the Park. A 1977 Gallup poll named Kiss the most popular band in America. The group was never seen in public without wearing their makeup, and their popularity was growing by leaps and bounds; the membership of the Kiss Army, the band's fan club, was now in the six figures.

Even such enormous popularity had its limits, and the band reached them in 1978, when all four members released solo albums on the same day in October. Simmons' record was the most successful, reaching number 22 on the charts, yet all of them made it into the Top 50. Dynasty, released in 1979, continued their streak of platinum albums, yet it was their last record with the original lineup -- Criss left in 1980. Kiss Unmasked, released in the summer of 1980, was recorded with session drummer Anton Fig; Criss' true replacement, Eric Carr, joined the band in time for their 1980 world tour. Kiss Unmasked was their first record since Destroyer to fail to go platinum, and 1981's Music from the Elder, their first album recorded with Carr, didn't even go gold -- it couldn't even climb past number 75 on the charts. Ace Frehley left the band after its release; he was replaced by Vinnie Vincent in 1982. Vincent's first album with the group, 1982's Creatures of the Night, fared better than Music from the Elder, yet it couldn't make it past number 45 on the charts.

Sensing it was time for a change, Kiss dispensed with their makeup for 1983's Lick It Up. The publicity worked, as the album became their first platinum record in four years. Animalize, released the following year, was just as successful, and the group essentially recaptured their niche. Vincent left after Animalize and was replaced by Mark St. John, although St. John was soon taken ill with Reiter's Syndrome and left the band. Bruce Kulick became Kiss' new lead guitarist in 1984. For the rest of the decade, Kiss turned out a series of best-selling albums, culminating in the early 1990 hit ballad "Forever," which was their biggest single since "Beth." Kiss was scheduled to record a new album with their old producer, Bob Ezrin, in 1990 when Eric Carr became severely ill with cancer; he died in November of 1991 at the age of 41. Kiss replaced him with Eric Singer and recorded Revenge (1992), their first album since 1989; it was a Top Ten hit and went gold. Kiss followed it with the release of Alive III the following year; it performed respectably, but was not up to the standards of their two previous live records.

In 1996, the original lineup of Kiss -- featuring Simmons, Stanley, Frehley, and Criss -- reunited to perform an international tour, complete with their notorious makeup and special effects. The tour was one of the most successful of 1996, and in 1998 the reunited group issued Psycho Circus. While the ensuing tour in support of Psycho Circus was a success, sales of Kiss' reunion album weren't as stellar as anticipated. Reminiscent of the band's late-'70s unfocused period, few tracks on Psycho Circus featured all four members playing together (most tracks were supplemented with session musicians), as the band seemed more interested in flooding the marketplace with merchandise yet again instead of making the music their top priority. With rumors running rampant that the Psycho Circus Tour would be their last, the quartet announced in the spring of 2000 that they would be launching a U.S. farewell tour in the summer, which became one of the year's top concert draws. But on the eve of a Japanese and Australian tour in early 2001, Peter Criss suddenly left the band once again, supposedly discontent with his salary. Taking his place was previous Kiss drummer Eric Singer, who in a controversial move among some longtime fans, donned Criss' cat-man makeup (since Simmons and Stanley own both Frehley and Criss' makeup designs, there was no threat of a lawsuit) as the farewell tour continued.

With the band scheduled to call it a day supposedly by late 2001, a mammoth career-encompassing box set was set for later in the year, while the summer saw perhaps the most over-the-top piece of Kiss merchandise yet -- the "Kiss Kasket." The group was relatively quiet through the rest of the year, but 2002 started with a bang as Gene Simmons turned in an entertaining and controversial interview on NPR where he criticized the organization and berated host Terry Gross with sexual comments and condescending answers. He was promoting his autobiography at the time, which also caused dissent in the Kiss camp because of inflammatory remarks made toward Ace Frehley. Frehley subsequently declined to appear at an American Bandstand anniversary show; his place was taken by a wig-wearing Tommy Thayer, and Simmons was quick to dismiss the performance as another in a long series of money-oriented decisions. The band kept touring the globe with no new album in stores, but in 2008 they returned to the studio, re-recorded their hits, and released Jigoku-Retsuden aka KISSology or Kiss Klassics (the release was initially exclusive to Japan).

In spring of 2009, the band began recording their first studio album in 11 years, and released the results in October with the title Sonic Boom. Produced by Paul Stanley and Greg Collins, the album was exclusively distributed in North America by Wal-Mart. In 2012, the band's twentieth studio album, Monster, surfaced, rewriting the cowbell-heavy party rock of their '70s heyday and adding some nods to the sinister metal of 1992's Revenge. In 2014, after 15 years of eligibility, Kiss was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine & Greg Prato, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

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Track List: Alive! 1975-2000 (Alive II)

Disc 1
Disc 2
Disc 3
Disc 4
x

Track List: Hell Or Hallelujah (Single)

Comments

tim.lafferty 4
I attended the concert outside of Indy and there was not anyplace to pack in. Complete sell out!! and people constantly walking the isles because the lawn was FULL! Great Show!
One hell of a concert last night,would definitely see them again
My daughter wanted to do something fun on the Friday before she started school. So, I bought cheap tickets on Groupon for the Kiss/Def Leppard concert on Friday August 15. We had a blast, the seats were wonderful and so was the concert.
I will be seeing them tomorrow night at the DTE theater with one of my kids,this is a dream come true for me
Don't read this because it actually works. You
will be kissed by the love of your life on the
nearest possible Friday by the love of your life.
Tomorrow will be the best day of your life.
However if you don't post this you will die in 2
days. Now you've started reading so don't stop.
This is so scary put this on 5 songs in 143
minutes. When done press f6 and your lover's
name will come on the screen in big letters.
This is so scary because it actually works
In my last comment I was referring to the ticket sales for the Kiss and Def Leppard concert. I heard the concert was wonderful. I bought Groupon tickets for Friday's show. Lawn tickets were $20.00 and seats were $30.00 with no additional fees.
I don't think the Kiss and Def Leppard concert is doing well. It's not a good sign when when the tickets are offered on Groupon for $20.00.
interesting very different from most of their songs sound like they were trying to do something else little more deep
Right On Brett!!!! Very true.
Whether you love them or hate them you cannot deny they are an enigma a true American classic
Great show with Leppard at Jones Beach Arena on Aug 6. Both bands proved beyond a doubt there iconic status.
When I saw them on American Idol i thought they were sooooooooooo o o o o o o o creepy. I also couldn't tell who was who
pcaros
you are clueless, Peter, Chris, limited talent, Ace Frehley, limited talent..Paul ' s voalcals???? Gene's presntce and master mind...????? .they dont make up for it, the supliment it, they are the full performance package...an icon in RR !
What kiss lacks in musical talent they make up for in attitude, fun and excitement
Kiss will always be iconic. I was 8 in 1978 and remember collecting Kiss trading cards. Wish I still had them, though it is possible they are in my fathers attic. I was also a fan during their rebranding years and enjoyed their more melodic sound as well. Now they all seem to be grumpy old men who like to blame each other for all the bad. Time for Kiss to call it a career and let history judge where they stand.
Kiss will perform at the Fashion Rocks concert this fall. The concert will take place on Sept. 9 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. It will air live on CBS at 9 p.m. Eastern time. The event takes place during New York Fashion Week. Tickets go on sale on August 1.
I love rock and roll all nite
joe.pitzhi
Just saw them last night at the Bridgestone arena in Clarksville Tennessee
Len that is so true. I would actually stop at '78. Ace wrote their best songs as is still going. New album is coming out or may already be out
My hometown heroes!
Kiss will play a nine-show Sin City residency this fall. They will be at the Joint at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino beginning Nov. 5th to Nov. 23. Kiss released their first album in 1974. They have been celebrating their 40th anniversary this year.
Just saw em' live with Def Leopard!!! AMAZING!!!!
Anything KISS DOSE KICKS A** ALL FOR THE LOVE OF ROCK N ROLL AND IM A FREAK
KISS=Tribute Band!
Don't read this because it actually works. You will get kissed on the nearest possible Friday by the love of your life. Tomorrow will be the best day of your life. However if you do not post this comment on at least 3 songs you will die in 2 day. Now that you've started reading this don't stop. This is so scary put this on at least 5 songs in at least 144 minutes when press f6 and your lovers name will appear on the screen in big letters this is so scary because it actually works!!
Put your hand in my pocket grab onto my rocket who write better lyrics than that
Kiss I went to you concert last week at the Vancouver Washington Clark County Ampitheater. While memories of your music in my teen years flooded my soul. I sure missed the Beth anthem. I was far up just before the grass seating. So I had to watch you on the t.v. screens. I still wouldn’t have missed it for the world. Keep it up! I will be buying more of your older cd’s today!
Excellent! 0
Kiss destroyed Utah co headlining with Def Leppard. Awesome show from 2 iconic bands!
Lol awesome
Paul , gene , ace , my fav peter are music gods
Dont wana wait till you no me better
Lets spend the time that we got together
Anything with out Ace and Paul SUCKS!!!...u n l e s s you like that lame as candy rock shitt!
Actual album is Alive 3 and to be honest if you have listened to anything after Ace and Peter then you know that the musicians such as Bruce Kulick and Eric Carr and Eric Singer are far superior Revenge is an unbelievable album Monster the same
Love u guys
Loved kiss until 1982 now its just a joke without peter and ace
Dynasty and Earlier is true kiss.
I LOVE KISS
U
O
I love kiss
I suppose Love Gun and earlier is true Kiss?
say what you will about this band.good bad ugly or whatever.the y are the foundation of what is today's rock and roll
AGREED @Redpinkcool


CANNOT STAND POP OR COUNTRY!!!
This is my convention and conformity!! Lolz
@bugggeorge Today is Friday, the love of my life is the younger Axl Rose, and I don't have an f6. I'm using a phone. What do I do? Lolz
Lol
loudogg0417
Good point, eric and tommy are ok subs; but both cannot replace ace and peter. Paul and Gene have completely f-up this band.
Don't read this because it actually works. You will be kissed in the nearest Friday by the love of your life. Tomorrow will be the best day of your life. However if you don't post this you will die in 2 days. Now you've started reading this so don't stop. This is so scary put this on at least 5 songs in the next 143 minutes. When done press f6 and your lover's name will appear on the screen in big letters. This is so scary because it actually works
riverman172
Fake Peter and fake ace. I can't fake interest in that.
Don't read this because it actually works. You will be kissed in the nearest Friday by the love of your life. Tomorrow will be the best day of your life. However if you don't post this you will die in 2 days. Now you've started reading this so don't stop. This is so scary put this on at least 5 songs in the next 143 minutes. When done press f6 and your lover's name will appear on the screen in big letters. This is so scary because it actually works.
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