Talk to most hard-rocker, and more than a few pop, alternative, and country stars, and you'll find a former child who will cop to standing in front of a mirror doing Ace Frehley poses to Kiss' Alive album. The band's cartoonish makeup and hook-driven guitar rock tunes made them many youngsters' first taste of rock and roll, and many of those youngsters went on to become famous musicians in their own right. Here are seven of the best Kiss covers from a wide range of artists.
7. Bonnie Tyler- Hide Your Heart
Bonnie Tyler knows a thing or two about making hits from bombastic rock anthems. Her biggest, “Total Eclipse of the Heart,” was written by regular Meat Loaf collaborator Jim Steinman. For her 1988 Desmond Child produced the album, Hide Your Heart, Tyler took this tune, written by Kiss frontman Paul Stanley and Child, which Kiss recorded a year later on Hot in the Shade.
6. Lenny Kravitz- Deuce
The 1994 Kiss tribute album Kiss My Ass: Klassic Kiss Regrooved is just one of dozens of Kiss tribute albums on store shelves, but it's by far the most famous due to the massive star power on display and for prominently featuring artists outside the hard rock genre retooling Kiss to their respective styles. One of the most unique was Lenny Kravitz's disco-funk take on the Kiss classic “Deuce.”
5. Skid Row- C'mon and Love Me
Coming near the end of the '80s “hair metal” explosion, Skid Row has always been open about their influences. In 1992, the band released an EP called B-Side Ourselves, collecting various b-sides and rare covers by the band. One of the album's two singles was “C'mon and Love Me,” a faithful take on the Dressed to Kill anthem that had originally appeared as a b-side to their 1991 single “Slave to the Grind.”
4. Garth Brooks- Hard Luck Woman
The second of three songs from Kiss My Ass: Klassic Kiss Regrooved on this list, this was the most talked about cover on the album. Country megastar Garth Brooks presaged his eventual transformation into rocker Chris Gaines by showing off his own Kiss influences. But “Hard Luck Woman,” originally sung by Kiss drummer Peter Criss, was more of a departure for Kiss than Brooks, as it was a rare acoustic ballad from the band's original lineup. Brooks even joined Kiss on their MTV Unplugged session to perform the song.
3. Doro- Only You
Kiss fans have a love-hate relationship with the band's 1981 album Music From “The Elder.” A symphonic concept album, it was a huge departure for a band known for its 4-minute sex anthems and guitar hooks. But it does have its fans and one of them happens to be the “first lady” of heavy metal herself, Doro Pesch. Pesch included “Only You” on her second solo album, 1990's Doro.
2. Anthrax- She
Unsurprisingly, the best Kiss cover on Kiss My Ass: Klassic Kiss Regrooved came from pioneering thrash metal band Anthrax. Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian has never been shy about his adoration of Kiss and, in this case, the song selection was spot on. “She” was one of Kiss' heaviest guitar songs from Dressed to Kill and fit perfectly with the driving metal style of Anthrax.
1. Rob Zombie and Friends- God of Thunder
Rob Zombie had recorded Kiss' “God of Thunder” once before, with his original band White Zombie. But the best version and the best indicator of Kiss' wide influence came at the 2006 VH1 Rock Honors when Zombie was joined by Scott Ian, original Kiss guitarist Ace Frehley, Guns N' Roses guitarists Slash and Gilby Clarke, and Motley Crue drummer Tommy Lee. The crashing wall of guitars and Zombie's demonic growl made for a great rendition of one of Kiss' most menacing songs.