This is going to be controversial. Kiss is one of the biggest, baddest bands to come out of the 70s – and they’re still rocking today! The original line-up of drummer Peter Kriss, guitarists Ace Frehley and Paul Stanley, and bassist Gene Simmons came rocking out of New York City in 1973, and at least some of them haven’t stopped since.
This band is famous for more than just their signature black and white make-up…
Their huge concerts featured incredible theatrics like breathing fire and blood, pyrotechnics, and even a levitating drum kit. They’ve recorded 24 studio albums and played live to hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of fans. After 45 years, they’re still on tour, though this one will be their last. So, out of all this, what are the Top 39 Kiss songs? Let’s find out.
Top 39 Kiss Songs
Kiss has such a vast discography that I decided the easiest thing to do was to go in chronological order. So, the first song on my list of the best Kiss songs comes from the band’s 1974 self-titled debut album, Kiss.
“Deuce” is a straight-up, in-your-face Rock song. It’s a bit heavy but nothing too extreme. The guitar work here is excellent, with Paul Stanley playing the rhythm while Ace Frehley lays it out in his flaming solos.
What does the song mean?
Maybe these lyrics will help – “Baby, if you’re feeling good – And baby if you’re feeling nice – You know your man is workin’ hard – He’s worth a deuce.” The song is written as a sort of advice for wives. The idea is basically that if your man works hard all day and brings home the money to take care of the family, his wife should let him hit it – twice!
Black Diamond (1974)
The next song, “Black Diamond,” comes from the same album, Kiss’s 1974 debut. This song begins with a soft, guitar strummed, soulful intro sung by Paul Stanley.
But, it very quickly blasts into a faster Rock song with Peter Kriss singing the verses with his raspier voice. Pretty impressive to sing and play drums like this at the same time! The song stops in the middle, almost like a tease, before it slows down, and Ace Frehley starts to shred.
This song hits hard and also paints a picture of the life of the character it’s about. While this could be anyone at all, the rumor is that this song was written about a black prostitute on the hard New York streets. The intro and first verse give it to you straight – “Out on the streets for a living – Picture’s only begun – Your day is sorrow and madness – Got you under their thumb.”
Rock and Roll All Nite (1975)
The next song on my list of the Top Kiss songs would probably have to be ranked #1 if I dared to even attempt such a thing. Coming from the band’s third album, Dressed to Kill, this track came out in 1975. But they’re still playing this “Rock and Roll All Nite” today.
This is probably the band’s signature track, and it is certainly one of the most famous Kiss songs. Still, it surprisingly didn’t make that much of a splash when it first came out. But, a live version released the next year at least broke them into the Top 20, with a #12 position.
For a Kiss song, this track is pretty simple…
The beat by Kriss has three main rhythms mixed together, dropping out at just the right time to emphasize the vocals. The guitar work here isn’t all that interesting, and we don’t even get a teeny tiny little solo.
Instead, this is a Rock Anthem designed to get the audience singing along. And the simple chorus “I wanna rock and roll all night – And party every day” has been chanted and become an anthem for generations of partygoers.
Detroit Rock City (1976)
Thanks to the performance of the previous song in the charts, the band’s constant touring, and by this time, legendary stage show, their next record, Destroyer, was huge. Released in 1976, this album quickly went gold and then platinum.
This album cleaned up the Kiss sound, tightened up their songwriting, and crystalized the band’s Hard Rock sound. And no fewer than four of the top 39 kiss songs on my list come from this legendary album.
“Detroit Rock City” starts a bit strange…
It begins with an intro of someone listening to the radio and then revving a car engine while singing along to some Kiss songs playing in the background. Then the guitars and drums jump in, and the song starts to really pulse.
Kriss lays down a solid, quick beat, and the guitars are bouncy and bright here. But the star is Gene Simmons’ bass line. It’s fast and unusual and really stands out in this heavy track. As a result, it has become one of the most popular Kiss songs.
God of Thunder (1976)
“God of Thunder” also comes from 1976’s Destroyer. This song was written by Paul Stanley, but it was later handed over to Gene Simmons to sing, and the band played it at a slower temple. Interestingly, the tempo is uncomfortably slow, adding a perfect tension to make this a creepy-sounding song that reminds you a bit of Alice Cooper, a hero of the Kiss boys.
The recording is also very odd, with lots of sound effects and kids calling and screaming in the background. The guitars are heavy here, and even though the drums don’t get pushed through to the front, Kriss plays some solid thuds that make the song sound dark, too. Frehley’s guitar solo is unusually screechy and uncoordinated, but that’s surely intentional.
With the dark lyrics, like “I’m the Lord of the wastelands – A modern day man of steel – I gather darkness to please me – And I command you to kneel,” this song fits with the Kiss image better than most.
Shout It Out Loud (1976)
If “God of Thunder” is one of the band’s darkest and heaviest tracks, then “Shout It Out Loud” is one of their brightest. This track is another song from Destroyer and another big sing-along style Rock Anthem and easily ranks among the top songs by Kiss.
In this upbeat track, the guitars and bass start playing a riff in perfect unison. Then, the verse comes through, and the bass and drums hold it down while the two guitars play off each other brilliantly. It’s all about the chorus here, which is just the song title, of course. But with the hand claps added in and the strategic drop-out of the guitars leaving only the beat, this song really gets the crowd going.
This is one of Kiss’s most loved songs ever and has also been a concert staple since it was dropped in 1976. Incredibly, Kiss has played this song more than 1700 times. Talk about shouting it out loud.
The last song from the classic Destroyer album is “Beth.” And this song is something very different from what we’ve heard from the band until now. With this song, Kiss lays aside their bad boy, hard-edged demeanor, and gets emotional.
This song was written by Peter Kriss with an old bandmate, Stan Penridge, reputedly about another bandmate’s wife. It was supposedly written as a joke, mocking the woman for calling her husband while he was working, but it comes off as a serious, sad love song of a sort.
Kriss sings, “Beth, I hear you callin’ – but I can’t come home right now – Me and the boys are playin’ – and we just can’t find the sound.” This song wasn’t an immediate hit, but eventually picked up steam, and by 1977 it won a People’s Choice Award.
Calling Dr. Love (1976)
If you thought we were done with songs from 1976, hold on a second. The Kiss boys had so much material to get out that they put out another album that same year, this one titled Rock and Roll Over. That should be a clue that the music is full of sexual innuendo. Well, “Calling Dr. Love” sure is, anyway.
This song is heavy, but has a strange sound, with vocals spoken over the sung backing vocals and weird effects on them. The music goes on like a straight-ahead Rock song. Ace Frehley plays one of his best solos in this song, too. But it’s the lyrics that stand out. They’re really sexually charged and very thinly veiled.
What do you think of this? “So if you please get on your knees – There are no bills, there are no fees – Baby, I know what your problem is – The first step of the cure is a kiss.”
Love Gun (1977)
Love Gun the album came out in 1977 with “Love Gun” as the title track. In case you needed some more sexual innuendo, here it is! By this time, Kiss was one of if not the most popular bands in America. So, this album was very highly anticipated.
The song “Love Gun” was written and sung by Paul Stanley, who says this is one of his favorite Kiss songs. Indeed, the mid-tempo, slightly swinging rocker really does encapsulate the late 70s Kiss sound perfectly. And this song has been played on every Kiss tour since it came out in 1977. That’s a hit.
Lyrically, you can guess what it’s about – “No place for hiding, baby – No place to run – You pull the trigger of my…” Yeah.
I Was Made for Lovin’ You (1979)
The last song on this list may be one of the most controversial. After all, Kiss decided to experiment with other sounds from 1979 into the 80s and 90s. With their 1979 album, Dynasty, they tried out a much more disco-inspired sound. The Kiss Army is still very divided on this era, and Gene Simmons calls this his least favorite Kiss song.
But there’s no denying that “I Was Made for Lovin’ You” was a huge hit. This song is catchy and driving. The beat just makes you shake it, and there is a pretty cool little Ace Frehley solo in there among the doo-doo-doo-doo-doo-doo-doos. Like it or lump it, this is one of Kiss’ biggest songs.
Kissin’ Time (1974)
Cold Gin (1974)
Nothin’ to Lose (1974)
Let Me Know (1974)
100,000 Years (1974)
C’mon and Love Me (1975)
Room Service (1975)
Hotter Than Hell (1975)
Do You Love Me? (1976)
Sweet Pain (1976)
King of the Night Time World (1976)
Love ‘Em and Leave ‘Em (1976)
Almost Human (1976)
Makin’ Love (1977)
I Want You (1976)
Any Way You Want It (1977)
See You in Your Dreams (1978)
Easy as It Seems (1979)
A World Without Heroes (1981)
War Machine (1982)
Lick It Up (1983)
Young and Wasted (1983)
Heaven’s on Fire (1984)
Thrills in the Night (1984)
Under the Gun (1985)
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The Top 39 Kiss Songs of All Time – Final Thoughts
This was a pretty tough list to put together. Choosing 10 songs from Kiss’s hundreds wasn’t easy, and I’m sure many out there would disagree with my choices. The true fans, the Kiss Army, will probably stick to the early Hard Rock sound, while general fans of rock music will recognize many of the band’s more Pop-inspired numbers.
In the end, Kiss has had dozens of hits and huge successes. They’ve been playing and touring for 45 years and are one of the most legendary rock and roll acts to ever grace the stage.
Until next time, Rock On, and happy listening.