March 20, 2014
To celebrate the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame finally recognising Kiss, as well as the 40th anniversary of the band’s first album, here’s the first part of our Kiss kountdown.

Words: Geoff Barton, Paul Elliott, Ken Sharp


War Machine

One of the heaviest tracks Kiss have recorded was, surprisingly, co-written by Gene Simmons, Bryan Adams and Adams’s writing partner Jim Vallance. Also surprising is the fact that Simmons came up with the bones of the song while tinkering on a cheap miniature synthesiser. Bombastic, powerful and badass, The Demon’s foreboding vocals on War Machine are full of scowling menace.



Paul Stanley has dismissed 1980’s Unmasked as “a pretty crappy album”, but there is one track on the record that he still loves. “Tomorrow is a really great song,” he says. He’s right – it’s a pop-rock classic, and the hit that never was.



Although the 1989 album Hot In The Shade is now all but forgotten, this masterful, acoustic-based power ballad was a Top 10 hit in the US. Paul wrote it with the king of power ballads – and of bad hair – Michael Bolton.



Gene Simmons: “I got the idea for Unholy from a song that [Kiss collaborator] Adam Mitchell wrote that Doro Pesch recorded called Unholy Love. I just loved the word ‘unholy’. Vinnie Vincent and I wrote the lyric together.”


Sure Know Something

For 1979’s Dynasty album, Paul Stanley wrote this brilliant pop song with producer Vini Poncia, co-writer of Leo Sayer’s hit You Make Me Feel Like Dancing. With its smooth funk vibe and killer chorus, Sure Know Something is high-class Kiss.


Modern Day Delilah

From 2009’s Sonic Boom, this track incorporates all the hallmarks of a quintessential Kiss tune: a fiery, muscular riff hot-wired to a soaring lead vocal by Stanley (the song’s writer), and sporting tough, kiss-off lyrics to a love gone bad. The band’s first single in 11 years, the song was the opener on the Sonic Boom tour.


Makin’ Love

A cast-iron classic of Kiss’s sexually charged oeuvre, this torrid tale of a marathon all-night ‘session’ was co-written by Paul Stanley and Sean Delaney (who also helped develop the band’s on-stage choreography). Special mention for Ace Frehley, whose guitar playing here is at its most loose and lethal.


100,000 Years

Gene Simmons: “I read a book called 100,000 Years where 100,000 years ago we were visited by aliens. Also Einstein’s theory of relativity. I was reading all kinds of space and time continuance stuff, and it was all swirling around my head. I showed this stuff to Paul, and he’s going: ‘What’s 100,000 years?’ I said: ‘Let’s just try it.’ And then Paul came up with some stuff and I added the riff.”


Nowhere To Run

It’s Kiss’s lost classic – a great song pissed away as a makeweight on the stopgap ‘best of’ album Killers. It’s powerful and melodic – vintage Paul Stanley – and its thrumming intro echoes The Who’s Pinball Wizard.


Heaven’s On Fire

Beginning with Paul Stanley yodelling, this is one of the great Kiss songs of the 80s. Assisted by ‘hit doctor’ buddy Desmond Child, Paul based Heaven’s On Fire around a huge chanted chorus and created a hair-metal masterpiece.