Every band that has been around for a long period of time falls into a similar trap. There is too much material to be celebrated. Certain songs rise to the top, other songs sink to the bottom, but then there are those songs that get lost in the mix. These are songs that are spectacular, but never get the attention they deserve.
One of the most notable bands that suffer from this problem is Kiss. They have a vast collection of hits and potential hits, but only their best known songs get celebrated. Turn on any rock radio station (be it satellite or terrestrial) and you’re bound to hear “Rock And Roll All Night,” “Detroit Rock City,” or “Beth” after a couple of hours. However, the Kiss catalog is much deeper than that. It’s also deeper than the songs the band plays in concert. There are several amazing Kiss songs that have been forgotten or ignored over the years, which is criminal.
Here now are the top 10 Kiss songs that should get more exposure than they do.
10. Then She Kissed Me (From Love Gun)
I know this is not a true Kiss song, but a cover of The Crystals 1963 hit “Then He Kissed Me.” However, for innovation alone, this song deserves more attention. Kiss took a hit pop song from the sixties sung by a female about a boy she loved, and turned it into a rocking song from the boy’s perspective. Ace Frehley’s guitar solo shreds, and that alone makes this a note worthy song. Paul’s vocals sound exceptional and overall, “Then She Kissed Me” is a fun tune. It definitely deserves more recognition than it has ever received.
9. Saint And Sinner (From Creatures Of The Night)
A dark, deep, Gene Simmons sung song, “Saint And Sinner” is one of the greatest gifts that Creatures Of The Night gave Kiss fans. Sure “I Love It Loud,’ “I Still Love You,” and “War Machine” got all of the attention, but it’s “Saint And Sinner” that stole the show. With an incredible riff, spectacular drums by Eric Carr, some of the best bass lines of Gene’s career and vocals that he could no longer capture, “Saint And Sinner” is a mesmerizing song.
8. Little Caesar (From Hot In The Shade)
The first (original) song that featured Eric Carr’s vocals, “Little Caesar” was on track to be a huge hit. The band performed it a few times during the Hot In The Shade tour. It appeared that Kiss was going to keep the song in as a staple of the next tour, but then Eric Carr passed away and “Little Caesar” slipped into oblivion in all of the aftermath. However, this is a song that should not be forgotten. Eric Carr’s vocals are superb and with Simmons backing him up the harmony is brilliant. “Little Caesar” is one of the best songs on Hot In The Shade and one of the best Kiss songs to come out in the 80s.
7. Almost Human (From Love Gun)
Another dark Kiss song featuring Gene Simmons on lead vocals, “Almost Human” is one of the most different songs that Kiss has ever recorded. It’s also one of the most under-celebrated songs in the entire Kiss catalog. That is a real shame. With a chorus that bores into the brain, some amazing guitar work from Ace Frehley, and very original lyrics, “Almost Human” is a song that is always overlooked when mentioning the great tunes of the Kiss catalog. Gene’s voice never sounded better, and it’s this song that really rounds out Love Gun, adding to the overall success of the record.
6. Journey Of A Thousand Years (From Psycho Circus)
Perhaps one of the least recognized songs in Kisstory is “Journey Of A Thousand Years.” This is another dark, Gene Simmons sung song. It has an amazing musical arrangement and Gene’s voice was in top form during the recording of this brilliant song. I’ve always thought this was one of the best songs on Psycho Circus and I’ve never understood why Kiss has all but ignored this track since it was recorded. It has the dark elements that great Kiss songs should contain, amazing guitar riffs, and a hook that fans could chant over and over. “Journey Of A Thousand Years” is a decidedly different type of Kiss song, but that’s what makes it so great.
5. Love ‘Em And Leave ‘Em (From Rock And Roll Over)
“Love ‘Em And Leave ‘Em” could be one of the best Kiss songs of the 70s. Reminiscent of “Ladies Room” (from the same album), “Love ‘Em And Leave ‘Em” is a Gene sung ode to the women he’s loved. It’s definitely a song that only a man could be passionate about. However, with a terrific, powerful beat, vocals about loving women and moving on, and high energy throughout, “Love ‘Em And Leave ‘Em” is Kiss at their finest. If the band would play this song in concert just once, I would feel that my life as a Kiss fan is complete.
4. Uh! All Night (From Asylum)
How on Earth can you have an anthem about working hard all day in order to have sex all night and never play it in concert? This has baffled me since “Uh! All Night” was released and then quickly forgotten. While performed during the Asylum tour, the song has not been touched since. It was never included on any collection of hits, it’s never been played in concert since the Asylum tour, and it never even gets mentioned (by the band and fans alike). I think this would be one of the most requested Kiss songs to be performed live. It’s an anthem, which Kiss is great at writing, it’s got a powerful, sing-along chorus, and it embraces a timeless theme in rock and roll….sex. Why hasn’t this song been more celebrated?
3. Pledge Allegiance To The State Of Rock And Roll (From Psycho Circus)
Kiss has always been able to write incredible rock anthems. From “Rock And Roll All Nite” to “God Gave Rock And Roll To You” they’ve always put the message in the music. “Pledge Allegiance To The State Of Rock And Roll” is no exception, but it’s not as celebrated as other Kiss anthems. After the Psycho Circus tour, the band basically forgot about this song. It’s never been included on any hits records (except 20th Century Masters Volume 3) and it never gets pulled out for concerts. Such a powerful anthem would have the crowd on their feet immediately, and Kiss should think about opening the show with this song on their next tour.
2. I (Believe In Me ) (From Music From The Elder)
An amazing song that finds Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons trading vocals, “I” would have been a huge hit if it wasn’t released on an album that received no promotion and was never toured behind. While most critics and fans wrote Music From The Elder off as experimental, there are a lot of great gems on the album. “I” is the greatest gem of them all and needs to be enjoyed more often. If Kiss could pull this song out for their next concert, it would be a better anthem than “Rock And Roll All Night.”
1. Sweet Pain (From Destroyer)
This is one of the greatest Kiss songs ever recorded on the best album they’ve ever recorded. Yet, “Sweet Pain” gets zero recognition. The only time the band has ever attempted to play it in concert was during their 1995 acoustic convention tour. This was when Kiss would take requests on stage from the fans in attendance. The band was able to get through one verse and the chorus. Every other song from Destroyer has been performed and recorded live except “Sweet Pain.” With an amazing opening riff by Ace Frehley, a tantalizing, addictive chorus, and powerful music throughout, “Sweet Pain” is the one Kiss song that needs to be celebrated more than it is.
These songs deserve more exposure. Hopefully Kiss will think about dusting some of them off for the next tour and give them their due. For most of these songs, it’s a due that is long overdue.