Glam rock legends Kiss were formed in NYC in 1973 by school teacher/bass player Gene Simmons and guitarist/singer Paul Stanley. Recruiting drummer Peter Criss and axeman Ace Frehley through newspaper and magazine ads, Simmons and Stanley set out to do nothing less than conquer the known rock world.
Their self-titled debut album came out in early 1974 on Casablanca Records, followed later that year by ‘Hotter Than Hell’. Both albums were packed with hard rock tracks that would later become Kiss classics, including ‘Strutter’, and ‘Cold Gin'. Their first real commercial success, though, came with 1975's ‘Dressed To Kill’, which featured the timeless anthem "Rock And Roll All Nite".
1976's ‘Destroyer’ cemented the band's hard-won image as the greatest rock n' roll band in America. Kiss' next two albums, ‘Rock And Roll Over’ and ‘Love Gun’, also went platinum. In 1978, they issued ‘Kiss Alive II’, followed by solo records from each of the members. 1979's ‘Dynasty’ produced a couple of popular numbers, but a slight disco edge to the music and an obvious, strained relationship between the members saw their original fan base beginning to erode.
In 1980, original drummer Peter Criss left the group; Anton Fig filled in for the recording of ‘Kiss Unmasked’ later on that year. Official replacement Eric Carr joined the band in time to perform on their 1980 world tour. 1981's Music From The Elder received disappointing sales, and guitarist Ace Frehley was the next to leave. Vinnie Vincent took up axe duties for 1982's ‘Creatures Of The Night’.
By 1983, Kiss had dropped the make-up and revamped their sound for a new decade, resulting in the platinum-selling ‘Lick It Up’, their first for Mercury Records. Music videos and more touring followed, with Vincent replaced by first Mark St. John and then Bruce Kulick in 1984.
In 1991, drummer Eric Carr passed away from cancer at age 41. He was replaced by Eric Singer, who played on 1992's Revenge, an album that later went gold. ‘Kiss Alive! III’ was issued in 1993, but failed to achieve the success of the first two. 1996 saw the first official reunion of all four original members since 1980.
In 1998, the reformed original Kiss released ‘Psycho Circus’ and once again wore make-up and outlandish costumes and undertook a highly successful tour. They continued through 2001, at which time Peter Criss again quit- reportedly due to financial issues. Frehley left in 2002, amid rumours of acrimony. In 2003, Polygram released 'Symphony: Kiss Alive IV'.
Kiss continue to tour.
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