Skip to main content

The 10 best Kiss songs you won't hear live

The best of everything, every day on

You wanted the best and you got the best! For all of you going to Download this weekend, there will be a glorious finale to the whole shebang when Kiss perform their headlining set on June 14.

From the self-proclaimed Hottest Band In The World, we all know what to expect – a stage show big, so over-the-top, and so full of pyro that when planes are flying over Donington Park to nearby East Midlands airport, the pilots might think they’re landing in a war zone.

We also know what songs to expect. The classics. Anthems such as Detroit Rock City, Love Gun, Lick It Up, God Of Thunder, Shout It Out Loud and Rock And Roll All Nite.

There might be a surprise or two in the setlist. In the run-in to Download, the band’s shows at European festivals have included a few cult classics – including three songs from their heaviest album, Creatures Of The Night.

But when you’ve got as many great songs as Kiss have – and they’ve got dozens – there’s no way you can cram them all into a two-hour set. So here, as an appetizer for the main event on Sunday, we present the 10 best Kiss songs you won’t hear live…

And if any Kiss fans are wondering why this list does not include Rocket Ride – the mid-70s stomper written and sung by Ace Frehley – it’s because you might well hear it at Download, when the former Kiss guitarist plays on the Saturday.

In 1982, with Ace Frehley out of the band – although his exit had not been made public – Kiss bought a little time with a best-of album, Killers. And alongside vintage hit songs were four brand new tracks recorded with stand-in guitarist Bob Kulick. Nowhere To Run was the best of them. Written by Paul Stanley about what he described as “a quick, torrid relationship”, it had a ringing guitar riff reminiscent of The Who’s Won’t Get Fooled Again – for Kiss, such Anglophiles, The Who were a major influence. And Paul sang it with everything he had. “Writing that song was cathartic,” he said. “Because what I couldn’t say to her, I could put in a song, if only for myself.”

The second Kiss album Hotter Than Hell is arguably their most influential record – its raw, garage-rock feel an inspiration to grunge bands, and its heaviest song, Parasite, covered by Anthrax. Comin’ Home was written by Paul Stanley in a hotel room when he was homesick for New York. It was just an album track, buried on side two. But when the band performed on MTV Unplugged in 1995, they picked this song as the opening number, and in the acoustic format it sounded better than ever before.

For much of the 80s, Gene Simmons was on autopilot, too busy with other projects – acting, producing other bands, and launching his own record label – to bother writing any decent songs. It was Paul Stanley who carried Kiss in this time. He wrote all the hits from that decade: Lick It Up, Heaven’s On Fire, Crazy Crazy Nights. And one of his best from those years was Tears Are Falling, from the 1985 album Asylum. The riff was heavy and dramatic, but in the vocal melody and the big chorus was a finely tuned AOR sensibility. And really, get a load of Paul in the video – sporting the gloves of shame…

**Third album Dressed To Kill, released in 1975, is the band’s most pure and stripped-down rock ’n’ roll record, its tone set by opening track Room Service. It has a frantic energy matched by the sexual charge in Paul’s lyrics. “I lived on the road at that point,” he explained. “I was in my element getting room service in any way, shape or form it came.”

Get Involved

Trending Features