“Everybody says she’s looking good, and the lady knows it’s understood, Strutter” Love that line! Painted faces, Gene spitting up blood, Ace’s guitar shooting fire, The Kiss Army, all of it began with this from their 1974 debut album. “Strutter” is one of the rare songs that both Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons wrote as a collaboration. Despite being 38 years old, kids today know this song from video games like Guitar Hero and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. In fact, “Strutter” was the first song I got 5 stars on Expert Mode on Guitar Hero (oops, was that embarrassing to admit 🙂 Tonight: I’m seeing KISS in Tampa at the 1-800-Ask-Gary Amphitheater with Motley Crue, even though it’s not my first KISS concert, I’m so excited!! Here’s the setlist I expect: KISS
“BLACK DIAMOND” KISS
The grand finale, the song KISS has used for years to close their show. With pyrotechnics, an Ace Frehley guitar solo, and a drumset getting destroyed, “Black Diamond” is classic KISS. The song starts off with Paul singing but the drummer (Peter Criss, then Eric Carr, now Eric Singer) gets the lead vocals. The thump and power of Gene’s bass mixed with a fast Ace solo creates one of the better rock grooves in their catalog. This song ended their debut album and about a million concerts.
The power ballad that even made grown men cry. Even critics of the band can’t deny the magnitude of this 2 minute Peter Criss love song. This song was a B-Side to Detroit Rock City and was almost left off of the album for being too soft. Great decision to leave it on! “Beth” opened up KISS to a wider audience. The guys were already hooked with songs like Shout It Out Loud and Rock & Roll All Night, Beth got the ladies. Here’s their reunion version from the MTV Unplugged special with Peter Criss and Ace Frehley brought back into the fold. Sadly, Peter has passed away but “Beth” will live forever to music fans.
“I WAS MADE FOR LOVING YOU”
Rod Stewart sang Do Ya Think I’m Sexy, The Rolling Stones recorded Miss You, and KISS joined the 70’s disco craze with the biggest selling hit from their Dynasty album. Unsatisfied with all of the synthesizers in disco songs on the radio, Paul Stanley set out to make a disco song with real rock guitars. Through the years, the band has roughed up the song, enhanced the fast guitar riffs, and made it less disco. It’s been a KISS concert staple since it’s release. The laser sound effects and the electric rhythm tempo break near the end is incredible, an iconic 70’s classic. Who can resist lines like, “In the darkness, girl there is so much I want to do” and “tonight, I want to give it all to you”, KISS has never been known for their subtlety.
DAILY MUSIC TRIVIA: What 80’s film starred Gene Simmons, Tom Selleck, and vicious robot spiders? Yesterday: Romeo & Juliet
“HIDE YOUR HEART” KISS
Back in the late 80’s, when gangsta rap was singing about gang violence and black on black crime, KISS released a video with a similar message. “Hide Your Heart” always reminded me of a more metal version of “Living On A Prayer”. Check out these lyrics: “Rosa had a lover on the shady side of town, Tito, he was king of the streets, and she was his possession like a jewel on his crown, Johnny better run, better run”. KISS initially passed on the song and it’s been covered by Bonnie Tyler, Molly Hatchet, even Ace Frehley (who had left the band) on his solo CD. Of course, I’m partial to the KISS version of this 1989 street anthem.
“HARD LUCK WOMAN” with GARTH BROOKS
I added a sixth song because most people don’t know this incredible crossover version. The greatest selling artist in country music history, Garth Brooks, loved the 70’s arena rock bands like Journey and KISS. On a KISS compilation tribute CD called Kiss My Ass, Garth along with artists like Lenny Kravitz, Anthrax, and Extreme added their own covers. Here’s the live version of Garth, from the Rock And Roll Over album, with help from his special back up band on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.