The KISS Story: The Ultimate Chronology

KISS has left an indelible mark on popular music through its innovative presentation of four distinct characters in makeup – Starchild, Demon, Spaceman, and Catman – reeling off irresistibly catchy hit songs amid fire-and-explosion-filled stage shows. This has allowed KISS to leave an indelible mark on the history of popular music.

In addition to all of the bells and whistles, the band has set itself apart from the competition by maintaining a remarkable level of durability in an industry rife with washed-up talents and one-hit wonders. Take a look at some of the most significant events that have occurred in the band’s history throughout the past fifty years of rocking and rolling all night and partying every day:

1970: Paul Stanley meets Gene Simmons

In New York City, guitarist Paul Stanley, who was still using the name he was given at birth, Stanley Eisen, meets bassist Gene Simmons, who was still going by the name Gene Klein. Soon after, Steve Coronel, Brooke Ostrander, and Tony Zarrella would join forces with the four of them to form the band Wicked Lester, which won’t last long.


January 30, 1973: KISS plays their first show

In New York City, guitarist Paul Stanley, who was still using the name he was given at birth, Stanley Eisen, meets bassist Gene Simmons, who was still going by the name Gene Klein. Soon after, Steve Coronel, Brooke Ostrander, and Tony Zarrella would join forces with the four of them to form the band Wicked Lester, which won’t last long.

August 10, 1973: The band scores their first record deal

KISS had just finished performing at the Hotel Diplomat in Manhattan when they were approached by TV producer and rookie manager Bill Aucoin, who assured them they would have a record deal within two weeks. The following month, the announcement that KISS would be the first band to sign with Neil Bogart’s Casablanca Records came.

February 18, 1974: Their debut album, ‘KISS,’ is released

KISS has released its debut album, which bears the band’s name and contains classic pieces such as “Strutter” and “Deuce.” After three days, the band makes its very first television appearance and is on the ABC in Concert program, which Dick Clark presents.

May 16, 1975: ‘KISS Alive!’ is released

KISS decided to film a live concert at the Cobo Arena in Detroit after experiencing only moderate success with their first three studio albums. The publication of KISS Alive! four months later provides the band with the much-needed commercial boost they were looking for.

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March 15, 1976: ‘Destroyer’ is released

With the release of the Bob Ezrin-produced album Destroyer, the band hits new creative heights and takes their sound to the next level. The platinum-selling studio effort comprises iconic rockers like “Shout it Out Loud” and “Detroit Rock City.” Still, the Criss-composed ballad “Beth” becomes the album’s biggest success and is responsible for most of the album’s sales.

May 26, 1977: Their marvel comic book is released

At the Marvel printing facility in Buffalo, New York, the musicians mark the occasion of the release of a KISS comic book by adding their blood to the ink used in the printing process.

September 18, 1978: The members release solo albums

There was a simultaneous release of solo albums by all four members of KISS under their names. The most commercially successful album for the foursome is Frehley’s, propelled by the hit single “New York Groove,” which peaked within the Top 20.

October 28, 1978: ‘KISS Meets Phantom of the Parks’ airs

NBC broadcasts the premiere of the science fiction television movie KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park; Stanley will later describe this encounter as “humiliating.”

June 16, 1980: Criss leaves the band

Criss, noticeably absent from the band’s most recent studio record, Unmasked, has officially left the group. Eric Carr, who makes his debut in late July posing as the Fox, will soon take his place as the show’s new host.

November 10, 1981: ‘Music From The Elder’ is released

KISS fails to achieve its goal of creating a big concept album along the lines of The Who’s Tommy with their latest release, Music From “The Elder,” which peaks at position No. 75 on the Billboard 200.

December 29, 1982: Ankh Warrior makes his debut

As the new lead guitarist for KISS, Vinnie Vincent makes his debut as the Ankh Warrior at the beginning of the band’s 10th Anniversary Tour. Vincent had previously contributed many tracks to the album Creatures of the Night.

June 18, 1983: KISS plays for an audience of 137,000 in Brazil

KISS demonstrated that it still has global clout by playing in front of an estimated 137,000 spectators at Maracan Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. This is even though audiences in the United States have become less enthusiastic about the group.

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September 18, 1983: KISS appears on MTV without the makeup

KISS makes their first-ever appearance on MTV without wearing any makeup, marking a seminal landmark in the band’s history. They also premiere the music video for their latest hit, “Lick It Up.”

December 8, 1984: Bruce Kulick joins the band

His first live appearance with KISS was captured on the home movie Animalize Live Uncensored. This occurred after the brief stint of Mark St. John, who was replaced by Bruce Kulick, who became the band’s third lead guitarist in as many years.

October 17, 1989: KISS scores another Top 10 hit with “Forever”

Hot in the Shade is the new KISS album. Since “Beth,” the band has not had a single that reached the Top 10 until its second single, “Forever,” written by Stanley and Michael Bolton together.

November 24, 1991: Carr passes away

When he passed away from heart cancer at 41, the drummer was 41 years old.

May 19, 1992: ‘Revenge’ is released

KISS unveils Revenge featuring Eric Singer on drums. Ezrin produced the album and featured a brief reunion with the band’s former lead guitarist Vincent, who is credited with authorship for three of the album’s tracks.

August 9, 1995: Criss and Frehley reunite with the band for ‘MTV Unplugged’

As the band’s popularity began to rise again in the years after the publication of the tribute album KISS My Ass in 1994, Criss and Frehley were invited to join Singer and Kulick on stage for an appearance on MTV Unplugged.

June 14, 1996: The four original member go on tour together

KISS announced their next Alive/Worldwide Reunion tour from the USS Intrepid aircraft carrier in New York City. The tour will feature the four founding members of the band performing in their original makeup. The concert tour ends up being the year’s highest-grossing concert act overall.

September 22, 1998: ‘Pyscho Circus’ is released featuring the original members

Although Criss and Frehley’s involvement in the album was limited due to disagreements behind the scenes, KISS released Psycho Circus, the first studio album to have all of the band’s founding members since the 1979’s Dynasty.

August 11, 1999: KISS gets a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

A star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame has been bestowed upon the band to recognize their illustrious status in the entertainment industry.

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October 7, 2000: Criss is replaced by Singer on tour

After the North American leg of the Farewell Tour, Criss destroys his drum set. When the tour starts in Japan the following March, Singer takes his position, and in a move that is sure to stir up controversy, he dons the Catman makeup.

February 24, 2002: KISS performs at the Olympics closing ceremony

KISS contributed to the successful conclusion of the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City by performing “Rock and Roll All Nite” in front of a television audience of three billion viewers.

February 28, 2003: Tommy Thayer makes his KISS debut

KISS performs at the Telstra Dome in Australia with the 70-piece Melbourne Symphony Orchestra for Thayer’s first official show as lead guitarist. This performance is filmed and recorded for the KISS Symphony Alive IV album.

October 6, 2009: ‘Sonic Boom’ is released

Sonic Boom is KISS’s first studio album in 11 years, and it is also the band’s first studio album with new members Thayer and Singer. With the release of “Modern Day Delilah” as a single that can compete with the successes from the band’s glory days, Sonic Boom has become KISS’ highest-charting album. It now sits at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 chart.

April 10, 2014: KISS is inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Even though Stanley aims at the band’s detractors, who have been around for a long time in his address, the reassembled quartet of Simmons, Stanley, Frehley, and Criss exhibit very few signs of any lingering friction.

January 31, 2019: The band embarks on their farewell tour

KISS will begin their End of the Road World Tour at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, Canada, forty-six years after the band performed for the first time anywhere in the world.

The documentary “Biography: KISStory” was a look back at the band’s five decades in the music business, with founding members Gene Stanley and Gene Simmons reflecting on their groundbreaking work.

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