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Kiss Hair Metal Band

What would a tribute to 80's hair metal be without listing Kiss?  Many people probably do not realize how far back the band Kiss actually goes.  Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley started out together with a band called Wicked Lester.  By 1972 they picked up Peter Criss, and by 1973 they had Ace Frehley.  In the early days, Wicked Lester tried to secure a record deal with A&R Records, but wasn't able to secure a deal.  Word has it that the A&R Records rep, Don Ellis, hated the makeup and music of Wicked Lester, and frankly wasn't interested.  After picking up Frehley, Wicked Lester officially became "Kiss".  The name is in part due to the fact that Peter Criss came from a band named "Lips", and the reference to KISS being an acronym for things such as "Knights in Satan Service" have been denied by KISS members.

In the early days, and after their 1974 debut, Kiss showed up on shows like The Dick Clark In Concert and Mike Douglas Show.  Their debut album wasn't a huge success, but their second release, Hotter Than Hell, did fair better.  This album featured the well known song "Rock and Roll All Night".  Although the albums themselves did not do real well in the early days, Kiss was becoming well known for their live concert antics (fire breathing, blood splitting, pyrotechnics, etc.).  It was this live concert energy that actually propelled the band into stardom when they released a live album in 1975 called Alive!   This album was followed by Destroyer in 1976, an album that went gold and featured the hit song "Beth".   Several more albums followed in the late 70's.  A gallop poll in 1977 ranked Kiss the most popular band in America.  The Kiss memorabilia train was chugging along.  The band had comic books, pinball machines, dolls, trading cards, board games, etc. 

In 1978, each band member was contractually obligated to release a solo album, so four solo albums were released.  All four albums hit in the top 50 of the Billboard charts and were a major success for the band.  In 1978, the band released a film called Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park.  Although the debut had one of the largest audiences of all times, the band itself was rather embarrassed about the film (hey, they can laugh about it now).  By the late 70's, tensions in the band had risen considerably, and Peter Criss left the band, followed shortly by Ace.  An interesting tidbit of info, as written in Gene's autobiography, is that Eddie Van Halen wanted to replace Ace, but the deal fell through.  In the early 80's, it was Eric Carr tapped to replace Criss on drums and Vinnie Vincent to replace Ace.  Vinnie was later fired for what Simmon's referred to as "unethical behavior". 

By 1983, Kiss decided it was time to give up the make up.  They appeared publicly for the first time without makeup in 1983 in support of Lick It UpAs far as the 80's go, the 1984 release, Animalize, was their most successful release.  The band released several platinum albums as the 80's rolled on.  The band ended the decade with the hit song "Forever", co-written by Michael Bolton.

In 1996, the original Kiss line up was back in full make up and at the Grammy Awards.  This was the kick off to an extremely successful reunion tour.  After several more years together, Kiss announced that their 2000 tour would be their last.  Interestingly enough, at the time of this writing (2012), Kiss was still on that farewell tour (although not with all original members).  The Kiss Discography, as it currently stands, is as follows:

Listen for free or download any Kiss track for just 12 cents per song!

  • 1974: Kiss
  • 1974: Hotter Than Hell
  • 1975: Dressed to Kill
  • 1976: Destroyer
  • 1976: Rock and Roll Over
  • 1977: Love Gun
  • 1979: Dynasty
  • 1980: Unmasked
  • 1982: Creatures of the Night
  • 1983: Lick It Up
  • 1984: Animalize
  • 1987: Crazy Nights
  • 1989: Hot in the Shade
  • 1992: Revenge
  • 1997: Carnival of Souls: The Final Sessions
  • 1998: Psycho Circus
  • 2009: Sonic Boom
  • 2012: Monster