A look back at 50 years of Kiss-Tory, as the legendary band prepares to take its final stand


NEW YORK (AP) — Fifty years ago, dreaming of becoming the biggest band in the world, four young New Yorkers took their guitar, amp and drums to a loft on 23rd Street in New York.

This weekend, Kiss, the band started by all four of them – albeit currently with two different members – will be say goodbye to it About 10 blocks north of that loft. Kiss will perform at Madison Square Garden, becoming one of the biggest, if not the biggest, band in the world, redefining expectations for the live concert experience.

Here is a look at major events in Kiss’s history, taken from Associated Press interviews with Kiss members, quotes they gave to other media, and material from band members’ biographies:

1973: gene Simmons, Who worked as a teacher for a while and loved horror movies, comic books and cabbies Paul Stanley, Who once dropped off flyers at Madison Square Garden to see Elvis Presley and swore that one day he would be on the same stage, exits his band Wicked Lester and begins searching for bandmates to present a true spectacle : An act where the show and visuals were as important as the music. They found drummer Peter Criss, who had advertised in a music paper looking for a band. Ace Frehley, Who came to the audition with one red sneaker, one orange sneaker and a guitar.

Each member adopts a specific stage identity: Simmons Demon; Stanley the Starchild; Astronaut Frehley, and Catman Chris. The band hones its act with small club gigs, and by New Year’s Eve, gets a support slot on the bill with Blue Öyster Cult. Simmons’ hair accidentally burned while fanning the fire that night. (This happened several times over the years, to the extent that they stationed a roadie nearby with a wet towel.)

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1974: Kiss releases its self-titled debut album, and its follow-up album, “Hotter than Hell”.

1975: The band releases its third album, “Dressed to Kill”, which includes a catchy song called “Rock and Roll All Night”. But it would not be until a live version of that track was released on Kiss’s “Alive!” Does not come forward as an anchor. That is the band’s first big hit.

1976: Kiss released what is considered by many fans to be their best studio album, “Destroyer”, which included the orchestral song “Beth”, which, incidentally, became one of their biggest hits. “Beth” was the B-side of the hard-rocking single “Detroit Rock City”, but radio disc jockeys started playing ballads instead and it took off.

1977: The band releases “Love Gun” and a second live album, “Alive II”. Kiss has been named America’s most popular band in a Gallup poll. The band played Madison Square Garden for the first time.

1978: In a move unheard of in the music industry, the four members released solo albums together, each selling over one million copies. But Frehley has the only hit with “New York Groove”. NBC airs a two-hour TV movie starring the band, “Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park.” Kiss has flooded the world with more band-themed merchandise than the usual T-shirts and posters, including lunchboxes, vitamins, transistor radios, trading cards, and pinball machines. Later offerings include Kiss Condoms and Kiss Caskets.

1979: Kiss released “Dynasty” with the disco-inspired “I Was Made for Lovin’ You”. At this point, in addition to breathing fire and spitting blood as usual in his live shows, Simmons is seen flying into the air and landing on top of the speakers above the stage.

1980: They released the pop-y “Unmasked” and later replaced Chris with drummer Eric Carr.

1981: The band released “Music from the Elder”, a concept album that relives “Harry Potter” 20 years before the event begins. But this album, aside from its medieval theme and their distinctive musical style, did not appeal to many fans.

1982: Responding to the backlash against “The Elder”, Kiss released “Creatures of the Night”, a blistering, drum-heavy masterpiece that is one of the heaviest albums of all time. Frehley is replaced by Vinnie Vincent on lead guitar.

1983: Deciding it was time to abandon the trademark makeup, Kiss revealed what they really looked like on an MTV special, which coincided with the release of the “Lick It Up” album. He remained without makeup until a reunion tour with the original members in 1996.

1984–1990: Kiss released the albums “Animalize,” “Asylum,” “Crazy Nights” and “Hot in the Shade” as MTV adopted its new look. Guitarist Mark St. John replaced Vincent in 1984, but a painful nerve condition in his hands soon left him unable to continue. He has been replaced by Bruce Kulik.

1991: Carr died of heart cancer.

1992: Hired Eric Singer, a respected drummer for Alice Cooper, Black Sabbath, Badlands and Lita Ford, who had toured with Paul Stanley’s solo band in 1989. The band released “Revenge” and recorded the album “Alive III”. On that tour.

1995: The lineup – Stanley, Simmons, Kulik and Singer – joined Frehley and Criss during a taping of the MTV “Unplugged” show, telegraphing an upcoming reunion.

1996–7: “Carnival of Souls”, a grunge-inspired album that was leaked and already widely bootlegged, is officially released. The original members of Kiss reunited to become the highest-grossing tour of the year.

1998: The reunited Kiss released “Psycho Circus”.

2000–3: Kiss announced their first farewell tour. Soon after it ended, Stanley and Simmons changed their minds. In 2002, Frehley was replaced by Tommy Thayer, a longtime band assistant. The band released “Alive IV” with a symphony orchestra in 2003. Singer rejoined, solidifying a lineup that has remained stable ever since.

2009–2012: Kiss released their final studio albums “Sonic Boom” and “Monster”. They launch a series of annual autumn “Kiss Cruises” taking fans to tropical destinations.

2019: beginning of kiss “End of the Road” tour, 19 years after his first “farewell” tour. Its final two shows are scheduled for December 1 and 2 at Madison Square Garden, a five-minute subway ride from where they began.

Copyright 2023 The associated Press, All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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