The name Gene Simmons refers to two artists: the rock-icon and member of the rock band KISS, and an American rockabilly artist. For the rockabilly artist, see also Jumpin' Gene Simmons.
The rock icon Gene Simmons (born Chaim Klein Witz on August 25, 1949 in Haifa, Israel) is the performer and entertainment mogul best known as "The Demon"- his blood spitting, fire breathing, tongue-wagging persona in the rock band KISS. His parents are Jews originally from Hungary, having fled the carnage of World War II to seek refuge in Israel. He plays bass guitar and sings. Simmons currently lives in Beverly Hills, California with his long time partner Shannon Tweed and their two children, Nicholas and Sophie. Simmons claims he has had sex with over 4,600 women. However in a 2004 documentary on The Biography Channel, his partner claimed that such statements were made for publicity reasons and are in fact not true.
Nick Simmons, Gene's son, is also a famous hard rock musician.
The rockabilly star Gene Simmons was born in Tupelo, Mississippi and moved to Memphis, Tennessee in 1958. While playing different clubs in the Memphis area in his early years, Gene's unique style and down to earth manner caught the prized attention of Sam Phillips, owner of the infamous "Sun Records" company. It would just be a matter of days before the fast-acting Sam Phillips would add Gene to his impressive list of stars signed with Sun Records: Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison and Charlie Rich.
As his musical career was continuing to develop, Gene was approached and joined the famous "Bill Black Combo" as lead singer. Together, the Combo gained national attention and made appearances on popular television shows which, of course, included "The Ed Sullivan Show" and "American Bandstand."
Their performances continued to gain favor with the public until the untimely death of Bill Black. Gene soon signed with "Hi Records" and made a name for himself shortly after release of the whimsical and delightful "Haunted House" in 1964. It would be his first national million selling smash hit and would launch him on a lengthy world tour.
Returning to the states, and due a long-awaited rest, the creative, international star turned his talents to song writing. Barbara Mandrell, Mel Tillis, Gene Watson, and a host of other Nashville recording artists performed his songs.
The 1980's saw the resurgence of "Old Time Rock 'N Roll" abroad which brought about the re-issue of Gene's entire catalog of recordings throughout Europe. Once again, Gene would find himself touring away from home-this time bringing his 50's and 60's hits to a new generation of fans. Gene co-wrote "Indian Outlaw" by Tim McGraw, selling over 5 million copies and co-wrote songs for Hank Williams, Jr., and Ken Mellons.
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