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More than 100 Million Albums Sold, 28 Gold Records: KISS is No Joke

What can really be said about KISS? Wikipedia perhaps sums it up best:

…the group rose to prominence in the mid to late 1970s with their elaborate live performances, which featured fire breathing, blood spitting, smoking guitars, shooting rockets, levitating drum kits and pyrotechnics.

The band was formed by Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons in 1973. The profile says that the band – including some solo records by members — has 28 gold albums. That’s the most by any rock band.  Its website says that the band has sold more than 100 million albums. KISS was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame last year, its 15th year of eligibility.

The KISS site does a nice job. Instead of a profile, it offers a bullet-pointed history. Stanley and Simmons were members of an early 1970s band called Wicked Lester. In 1972, they saw an ad in Rolling Stone from a who “is looking to do anything to make it.” That was Peter Criss, and the duo become a trio. In January 1973, guitarist Ace Frehley auditioned and joins the band. The trio was a quartet.

Wicked Lester became KISS – Stanley came up with the name – and Frehley designed the prototype KISS logo.

KISS was the first act Neil Bogart signed to Casablanca Records. Before he died at 39, Bogart was instrumental in the careers of Donna Summer, The Village People, T. Rex and George Clinton and Parliament. He also founded Boardwalk Records and signed Joan Jett and Harry Chapin.

There is only one KISS. That may, ultimately, be a good thing. But it also is a good thing that there is one of them.

Above is “Rock and Roll All Nite” and below is “Shout It Out Loud.”

Wikipedia entries on KISS and Neil Bogart and the KISS website were used in to write this profile. Homepage image: NMiranda.