Forty years ago this week, on February 18, 1974, KISS released their debut album, Kiss.
Many of my friends are, like me, raving KISS fans. This post is not for them. They already know all of this, and much more. You see, when KISS fans gets together we try to out-did-you-know one another.
This post is for the rest of you, my KISS-curious friends.
So, here you go, 10 things you probably didn't know about KISS:
1. The highest charting KISS single ever recorded is "Beth", the piano and strings ballad written and performed by Peter Criss, the original drummer.
2. Gene Simmons recorded "When You Wish Upon a Star" on the 1978 album Gene Simmons. Yes, the Pinocchio song.
3. KISS recorded a concept album that was supposed to eventually become a movie. Music from The Elder was a commercial flop but is still endeared by many fans (and hated by others). The movie was never made.
4. Much of the credit for KISS may belong to two people you have probably never heard of: long-time band manager Bill Aucoin and road manager Sean Delaney.
5. KISS owns an Arena Football League team, LA KISS. If you can't get to Los Angeles to catch a game, that's ok, you'll be able to get your LA KISS fix by watching the upcoming reality TV show.
6. KISS has earned more than $500 MILLION in merchandising in the last 40 years.
7. There are now different musicians "playing the parts" of Ace Frehley and Peter Criss. Currently, Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer are playing the parts of the original band members. Like many bands, the line-up has changed quite a bit throughout the years, with six other artists able to claim membership as KISS band members - rest in peace Eric Carr and Mark St. John. And if you wonder what Gene Simmons thinks about any controversy surrounding new artists donning original members' makeup and outfits, read Gene's tweet to my good friend and fellow KISS Army member, Shane.
8. KISS first appeared on television without their makeup on an MTV special on September 18, 1983. It has been called one of the worst rock fails of all time.
9. There were only eight months between the release of the first and second KISS album, five months between second and third, that's three albums in 13 months! KISS released 12 albums, including 2 live albums and the four "solo" albums in between February 1974 and September 1978!
10. Eddie Van Halen almost joined KISS!
Okay, I can't leave it at 10. Here are a few more:
11. Yes, KISS made a movie, "KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park", filmed at California's Magic Mountain.
12. After being snubbed for many, many years, KISS will finally be inducted to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. I, as many KISS fans, don't care one bit.
13. Gene Simmons was born in Isreal and was a sixth grade teacher in New York before joining KISS.
And, here are a few of my KISS facts:
My favorite member: Gene
Favorite drummer: Eric Carr
Favorite Guitarist: Mark St. John and Bruce Kulick
Favorite Albums: The Elder, Destroyer, Animalize, Crazy Nights
Favorite live album: KISS ALIVE II (duh!)
The first album I ever bought: KISS Animalize
The first cassette I ever bought: KISS Animalize
KISS Concerts I've attended: 1996 with original line-up and 2009 with current line-up