KISS has enjoyed enjoyed huge success and multiple career highlights since arriving on the music scene in 1973. As one of the best-selling bands of all time, the iconic New York rockers have earned millions over the decades from huge record sales, concerts, as well as savvy merchandising and received numerous accolades along the way. Let's look at five of the greatest moments from the storied career of KISS.
The importance of KISS' first live release Alive! can't be overstated. The “Shout It Out Loud” hitmakers had achieved only moderate financial and chart success with their initial three studio albums and due to some poor financial business decisions, the band's original record label Casablanca were on the verge of bankruptcy ahead of the release of its fourth overall record - a double-side live album. Released in 1975, Alive! gave Kiss their first top 10 entry on the Billboard 200 album charts and earned the band critical, as well as financial success while saving its record label and career in the bargain.
KISS followed the release of Alive! with their classic 1976 studio album Destroyer. The album enjoyed huge sales thanks in part to its hit singles, which included the double-sided release of “Detroit Rock City” and “Beth.” Although originally tapped as the B-side, it was “Beth,” featuring lead vocals from ex-Kiss drummer Peter Criss, which gave KISS their biggest single of their career. The power ballad hit No. 7 on the Billboard 100, earning Kiss a People's Choice Award in 1977 and a No. 3 ranking on VH1's “25 Greatest Power Ballads.”
After undergoing band member departures and slumping sales in the early 80's, surviving co-founders Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons decided a radical change was needed to boost the band's fortunes. The pair decided to promote the announcement of their 11th studio album Lick It Up by shedding their trademark face mask-up for the first time at an event televised by MTV on Sept. 18, 1983. The strategy helped KISS win huge attention and revived their record sales with Lick It Up becoming their first album of the 80s to enjoy Platinum certification in the U.S.
The surprise appearance of ex-KISS founding members Criss and Ace Frehley at a KISS television performance Aug. 9, 1995 on “MTV Unplugged,” created massive media buzz about a possible reunion of the original band. Stanley and Simmons took full advantage of the heightened interest by staging one of their biggest publicity stunts to date. Fans were ecstatic when the late rapper Tupac Shakur introduced the reunited classic line up of KISS in full make up and costume at the 38th annual Grammy Awards held Feb. 28, 1996, which helped make the reunion tour, dubbed the “Alive/Worldwide Tour,” a massive success.
1. Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction
Over the course of its long and storied career, KISS enjoyed massive sales and adulation from its legion of fans, but tended to get overlooked by critics and the music industry. One of the biggest snubs was the failure of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to nominate the band for years after it became officially eligible in 1999. It took 10 more years for members of the Rock Hall to give KISS their first nomination and it wasn't until the Rock Hall started including a fan vote in their tally, that the original line up of KISS finally received inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2014.