THE 21 BEST SONGS
July 16, 2011
Thanks to Dave Reffert for sharing his article with KISSOnline!

by Dave Reffett

Here is where my story with Kiss began. I was in the seventh grade and was a young hell-raising thrash kid into Megadeth, Testament, Anthrax, Overkill and Metallica.

One day my best friend had a Hit Parader magazine that he brought to school, and he said, “Dave, check these dudes out." When I saw Kiss on the cover, they had that whole "Japanese Kabuki meets outer-space warrior" vibe to them, and as a 12- or 13-year-old kid, I thought they ruled instantly. I didn’t even really care what kind of music they played or if they even played music at all. I was hooked.

To me, Kiss is the most underrated band of all time. I know some of you out there reading this are saying, WHAT!?!?! But here goes.

When I talk music, I always bring up Kiss because, pound for pound, they are probably my favorite band of all time. It’s a toss-up between them and Megadeth. But from a lot of people what I hear is, “Oh man, I could just never get into Kiss." I really feel like a lot of people are missing out on the greatness they have to offer.

Some say they sold out because of their vast product line, or they say they are not great musicians or whatever, but you just can’t argue with their incredible live show, and the songs are just unbelievable. I just don’t think they get the respect they deserve as songwriters. They have hooks for days, those big over-the-top choruses that hit you like a ton of bricks. That’s what has set them apart from other bands: They have memorable songs that stand the test of time.

To thrive and to still be hugely relevant in the music business for almost 40 years is pretty much unheard of. Yet Rolling Stone has barely acknowledged their existence, and they are still not in the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame after a decade of being eligible.

If they were good enough for Dimebag Darrell to love them, then hey, who can argue with that?

I already loved the band’s image, but they blew me away musically with Kiss Unplugged. It’s an absolutely amazing live record. The musicianship they showed in that performance was incredible. Paul and Gene are both spot on with the vocals, the band is firing on all cylinders and Bruce Kulick’s wailing acoustic guitar solos made me a huge fan instantly. I loved it. After hearing that record, I had to own every song the band had ever done. I quickly learned that their back catalog was equally impressive, spanning tons of genres and vibes.

I saw Kiss for the first time when I was around 16. I took a couple of friends with me to see them in concert in Columbus, Ohio. Ted Nugent and Skid Row were opening up for them on “The Farewell Tour."

I remember my friends came along just to get away from our boring little small town. They poked fun at Kiss during the whole car ride there, saying things like “Kiss is dinosaur rock” and making fun of Paul’s legendary in-between song banter.

But when the band fired up and the 100-foot drum risers came out and the fireworks started popping and the pyro blazed, they melted away into a couple of 10-year-old kids. I had a good laugh because when the show ended, the same guys who were talking smack on Kiss were now like, "Oh dude, I need to buy a shirt” and “I’m getting Peter Criss’ signature drum sticks." I will never forget it. It was one of the best shows I’d ever seen. The truth is I say that after every Kiss show I go to.

I actually just got back from seeing them last night in Manchester, New Hampshire. The great ones ripped the roof off of the place. If you haven’t seen them yet, go see them. You wont regret it. It’s a blast.

Before I go, everyone knows “Rock and Roll All Nite,” but I feel with those best-of collections, you are never truly getting “the real best of” stuff. So here goes: These are the Kiss songs I feel are “must own” songs. Every rock fan should check them out.

“Shandi,” from Alive IV

This comes off of Unmasked originally, but this version is awesome. It has the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra backing them up. It is a truly great song.




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