Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Case for Kiss for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

In our latest installment of bands that should be in theRock and Roll Hall of Fame but are not, we examine the case for Kiss. 

While the other bands I've covered in this series may not have been clear cases of injustice, keeping Kiss out of the Hall is absurd.  The reasons for their inclusion are myriad: 
  • Stats - Kiss has 24 gold albums, the most of any American band of all time.  They have sold over 40 million albums in the US, and their worldwide sales are over 100 million. 
  • Kiss Alive - While controversial because of re-recording and re-mixing, this album still ranks as one of the finest live albums ever recorded, and one of the best hard rock albums of all time.   
  • Music Quality - Alive, Destroyer, Rock and Roll Over, Love Gun, and Alive 2 are five consecutive albums that are all incredibly strong.  Likewise, songs like Rock and Roll All Nite, Strutter, and Black Diamond are hard rock touchstones.  
  •  Live Shows - No, they did not start the theatrics or the pyrotechnics.  But they did take both and took them light years farther than any band dreamed.  A Kiss show is a unique rock experience, and nobody comes close to doing what they do.  Not even close.  Simply put, you cannot consider yourself a rock and roll fan and have not experienced a Kiss concert.  It's a prerequisite. 
  •  Influence - With Beth, Kiss delivered the first metal ballad (which may not be something to be proud of).  Oh, I know, some consider it Dream On by Aerosmith or Love Hurts by Nazareth.  But it was Beth by Kiss that forced bands to stop the show, slow things down, and make fans break out their lighters.  Also, with Rock and Roll All Nite, Kiss forged the first arena sing-along rock song.  This model was followed by dozens of bands that came after them.  Again, this may not be a good thing, depending on your perspective, but you cannot argue their influence.   
There are a lot of reasons to hate Kiss.  They over-marketed themselves, doing stupid things like dolls 

to an incredibly horrible movie: 

They were overexposed, marketed to little kids (and anyone else for that matter), and basically destroyed their image.  Likewise, Gene Simmons has a huge ego and will literally do anything to make a buck.  For these reasons, it has been easy for music critics and fans alike to consider them repugnant jokes.  

Regardless, you cannot take away their accomplishments, their influence, or their music.  

They have been doing it now in five different decades.  They define "rock concert."  Despite all of their baggage, they absolutely deserve to be in the Hall of Fame.

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