KISS is one of the largest grossing heavy metal bands, still touring today. They helped define the genre of heavy metal in it’s infancy and all of it’s sub-genres and cultures. They are the Rolling Stones of the Heavy Metal genre. Chances are where you may not be able to bring to mind a song of theirs, if you listen to rock and roll or metal on a regular basis, you’ve heard and will recognize at least one of their songs, if not who it’s by.
The song that makes the 10th spot on the list is “You Wanted The Best” found on the album “Psycho Circus” (released in 1998) and their “You Wanted The Best” Live concert album (released in 1996). This was a song that was composed when the original members (Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Ace Frehley, and Peter Criss) got back together. The band throughout their history had many break ups, shake ups, and make ups. The band was never seen without their famous makeup in their initial stages. Peter Criss however left by 1980, followed by Ace in 1982. Then in 1983 KISS ditched the makeup and costumes. The lineup changed many times in the next decade until 1996, at which point they donned their costumes and trademark make up once again. In this song each band member has a line in each of the verses that reiterates things that they said about each other to the media. They did a brilliant thing by being honest about their opinions of one another, taking them and saying them to each other in the song, but stressing in the chorus that regardless of what they thought of each other, they had a duty, and an obligation to give the fans what they wanted. Hence the refrain “You wanted the best. You got the best.”
Number 9 is the song “Deuce”. This song is found on their self titled album (released in 1974), the album “Alive!” (released in 1975), their “Double Platinum” album (released in 1978), their “Smashes, Thrashes, & Hits” (released in 1988), “Alive III” (released in 1993), “Greatest KISS” (released in 1997), “The Very Best of KISS” (released in 2002), and their “Symphony Alive IV” album (released in 2003). The interesting thing about this song is that even the band admits they are not sure what it is supposed to mean, but critics agree that this is a song that all metal and rock fans love to jam to.
The number 8 song is “Every Time I Look At You”. This song is found on the “Revenge” (released in 1992) and “Unplugged” (released in 1996). This song is a power ballad sung from the point of view of a man who was unfaithful to the woman he loved. The song is the man’s offering of his undying love, and he reiterates that despite what he did to her, despite what she thinks of him or how she might retaliate, that he loves her. This song is an expression of Metal’s softer side. Power Ballads in the infancy of Metal became part of the equation for a successful metal band, especially in the Glam scene. However KISS is able to stand out from the other metal groups of their era for the rest of their music as well as their ability to perform power ballads.
The song that earns the number 7 spot is “Paralyzed”. This song can be found on their “Revenge” album (released in 1992). Much of the defining qualities of the metal genre were messages of anti-establishment and anti-control. It was a generation of speaking out and questioning the validity of authority. This song explores the oppression that many often find themselves in with the control and authority that is unjustly exerted with the excuse that it is for our safety and security. The song describes such controlling practices almost like an anesthesia that paralyzes those under it’s influence, turning them into the political robots and corporate slaves of today.
Number six is “Unholy” which can also be found on their “Revenge” album (released in 1992), as well as their “Alive III” (released in 1993) album. Unholy contains more of an anti-religion and anti-political message. During this time the band was under heavy criticism by the conservative right wing community for everything from claims that they were satanic to they were corrupting the minds of young people in the nation. This song is a clear message to their critics to call them unholy or whatever they wished to, but regardless of the way the establishment viewed rock and roll, they were here to stay, and stay they have.
Song number five in the rankings is “War Machine” which can be found on their “Creatures of the Night” album (released in 1982). This is a loud and heavy song with great riffs and an extremely strong anti-establishment message, where KISS claims to be the War Machine that rolls right over the establishment and their attempts at control.
The song “Shout It Out Loud” comes in at number 4 on this list. This song can be found on the album “Destroyer” (released in 1976), “Alive II” (released in 1977), “Smashes Thrashes, & Hits” (released in 1988), “You Wanted The Best, You Got The Best” (released in 1996), “Greatest KISS” (released in 1997), “The Very Best of KISS” (released in 2002), and “Symphony Alive IV” (released in 2003). Again it is another metal song with the message of being anti-establishment, anti-authority, and anti-control. It has an all around good rythmatic beat that gets even the biggest metal skeptics tapping their feet and bobbing their heads
Placing in 3rd is the song “Detroit Rock City”, found on “Destroyer” (released in 1976), “Alive II” (released in 1977), “Double Platinum” (released in 1978), “Smashes, Thrashes, & Hits” (released in 1988), “Alive III” (released in 1993), “Greatest KISS” (released in 1997), “The Very Best Of KISS” (released in 2002), and “Symphony Alive IV” (released in 2003). This song was written after KISS made it big in tribute to their Detroit fans. The fans in Detroit were the first to understand what the group KISS was about and to appreciate the band’s live performances. This song was the band’s way of forever immortalizing their gratitude to their fans, and showing that even though they made it big, they remembered it was the fans that supported them in getting there.
The big number 2 song released by KISS is “I Love It Loud!” found on their “Creatures of The Night” (released in1982), “Smashes, Thrashes, and Hits” (released in 1988), “Revenge” (released in 1992), “Alive III” (released in 1993), and “The Very Best of KISS” albums (released in 2002). This is probably the second biggest “national anthem” of the rock and roll and metal genres ever. It expresses in the lyrics and music exactly how most fans want to hear their music and exactly how they want it delivered to them.
And the absolute all time number one song by this group is “I Want To Rock and Roll All Night (And Party Every Day)”. There is almost no person alive that listens to rock and roll that has not heard this song. Whether or not they recognize the artist, 10 to 1 the person will recognize the song. Not only does this make it the number one song by KISS, but it earns it the spot of the Rock and Roll “national anthem”. This song can be found on “Dressed to Kill” (released in 1975), “Alive” (released in 1975), “Double Platinum” ( released in 1978), “Creatures of The Night” (released in 1982), “Smashes, Thrashes, & Hits” (released in 1988), “Alive III” (released in 1993), “Unplugged” (released in 1996), “Greatest Kiss” (released in 1997), “Psycho Circus” (released in 1998), “The Very Best of KISS” (released in 2002), and “Symphony Alive IV” (released in 2003).
The other reason these songs are rated the top ten? Well when interviewed, avid fan Damian Strykker had this to say, “Because I said so!”