As I am beginning to write this post, my phone just blew up with word of the passing of rock and roll great Fats Domino. I believe this man was one of the original group of rockers inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. He is most famous for his rendition of “Blueberry Hill”, but it was his New Orleans-style of piano playing that made the lasting impression. Just ask RRHOFamer and one of my personal favorites Randy Newman, who was greatly influenced by the man. RIP Fats!
Today, I was planning to tackle a blast from my past, a band with whom I spent my middle school years of 1975 through 1977 totally obsessed. You know them as “You wanted the best and you got it! The hottest band in the land…KISS!” That’s right, I am venturing back to the days during which I was a member of the KISS Army and everything! Like most of us who came of age in the Seventies, I had a KISS poster in my room, right between my posters of Farah Fawcett and Cheryl Tiegs. I really did have all the required suburban pop culture references in my room in those days. I cranked the old Sears stereo that had an 8-track tape player, cassette player/recorder AND radio built into one box, which made me think I was cool. No, it was not the Hi-Fi system I desired, but the volume would annoy my younger brother, so mission accomplished!
Anyway, I had all the required KISS merchandise: T-shirt, belt buckle, jumbo poster, comic books, albums, etc. That is, until I heard punk. Then, I went through the whole KISS-backlash thing. Now, I like KISS and respect their place in rock history. By going back to the make-up, KISS could potentially live forever, with new members adorning the classic make-up in order to tour and keep the whole empire alive and well beyond the lives of Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley, and even to a minor role Ace Frehley and Peter Criss. They hold a unique position in rock as being the one group that could actually outlive its members without ever relying on tribute bands keeping their sound alive. And, that is the inherent brilliance of the band.
KISS has been wonderful throughout most of their career at writing great, concise rock songs that appealed to people across the board. They continue to be revered by metalheads, hard rock lovers (both male and female), hair metal bands and even the grunge artists of the Nineties. When the main songwriters, Stanley and Simmons, remain focused, they can write some rock anthems that will get played on Top 40 radio stations which is unheard of by most hard rock artists. And, if it wasn’t for KISS, the whole hair metal thing of the Eighties would have never happened, for better or worse.
So, today, I want to take a look at My 25 Favorite KISS Songs. Let’s get started.
25. “Rock Bottom” (Alive!, 1975)
24. “Hotter Than Hell” (Hotter Than Hell, 1974)
23. “Plaster Caster” (Love Gun, 1977)
22. “Hard Luck Woman” (Rock and Roll Over, 1976)
21. “C’mon, and Love Me” (Dressed to Kill, 1975)
20. “Cold Gin” (KISS, 1974)
19. “Tears Are Falling” (Asylum, 1985)
18. “Let’s Put the X in Sex” (Smashes, Thrashes & Hits, 1988)
17. “God Gave Rock & Roll to You” (Revenge, 1992)
16. “Hell or Hallelujah” (Monster, 2012)
15. “Say Yeah” (Sonic Boom, 2009)
14. “Beth” (Destroyer, 1976)
13. “Christine Sixteen” (Love Gun, 1977)
12. “Let Me Go Rock ‘n’ Roll” (Hotter Than Hell, 1974)
11. “Black Diamond” (KISS, 1974)
10. “Strutter” (Alive!, 1975)
9. “God of Thunder” (Destroyer, 1976)
8. “Calling Dr. Love” (Rock and Roll Over, 1976)
7. “Lick It Up” (Lick It Up, 1983)
6. “I Was Made for Lovin’ You” (Dynasty, 1979)
5. “New York Groove” (KISS: Ace Frehley, 1978)
4. “Love Gun” (Love Gun, 1977)
3. “Detroit Rock City” (Destroyer, 1976)
2. “Shout It Out Loud” (Destroyer, 1976)
1. “Rock and Roll All Nite” (Alive!, 1975)
This list was one of the easier ones to make. Maybe, it has to due to the fact that KISS has been on my turntable, or in my CD player, for over 43 years. No, I do not listen to them as obsessively as I did during my middle school years. Yet, playing them on my high pain days, along with Metallica and Black Sabbath, actually helps me counteract those days. There’s nothing like adrenaline to psychologically fight the pain. Then again, that’s what my pain pump is for.