Kiss

Band | Musical Group

Kiss (often stylized as KIϟϟ) is an American rock band formed in New York City in January 1973 by Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons, Ace Frehley and Peter Criss. Well known for its face paint and stage outfits, the group rose to prominence in the mid to late 1970s with its elaborate live performances, which featured fire breathing, blood spitting, smoking guitars, shooting rockets, levitating drum kits and pyrotechnics.

With their makeup and costumes, the band members took on the personas of comic book-style characters: The Starchild (Stanley), The Demon (Simmons), The Spaceman or Space Ace (Frehley) and The Catman (Criss). Stanley became "The Starchild" because of his tendency to be referred to as the "starry-eyed lover" and "hopeless romantic." "The Demon" makeup reflected Simmons' cynicism, dark sense of humor and affection for comic books. Frehley's "Spaceman" character reflected his fondness for science fiction and his supposedly being from another planet. Criss' "Catman" makeup was in accordance with the belief that he had nine lives because of his rough childhood in Brooklyn.

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Kiss (often stylized as KIϟϟ) is an American rock band formed in New York City in January 1973 by Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons, Ace Frehley and Peter Criss. Well known for its face paint and stage outfits, the group rose to prominence in the mid to late 1970s with its elaborate live performances, which featured fire breathing, blood spitting, smoking guitars, shooting rockets, levitating drum kits and pyrotechnics.

With their makeup and costumes, the band members took on the personas of comic book-style characters: The Starchild (Stanley), The Demon (Simmons), The Spaceman or Space Ace (Frehley) and The Catman (Criss). Stanley became "The Starchild" because of his tendency to be referred to as the "starry-eyed lover" and "hopeless romantic." "The Demon" makeup reflected Simmons' cynicism, dark sense of humor and affection for comic books. Frehley's "Spaceman" character reflected his fondness for science fiction and his supposedly being from another planet. Criss' "Catman" makeup was in accordance with the belief that he had nine lives because of his rough childhood in Brooklyn.

The band has gone through several lineup changes, with Stanley and Simmons being the only constants. Due to creative differences, Frehley and Criss were out of the group by 1982. The band's commercial fortunes had waned considerably by that point. The original and best-known lineup consists of Stanley (vocals and rhythm guitar), Simmons (vocals and bass), Frehley (lead guitar and vocals) and Criss (drums and vocals). 

Buoyed by a wave of Kiss nostalgia in the 1990s, the band announced a reunion of the original lineup in 1996. The resulting Kiss Alive/Worldwide/Reunion Tour was the top-grossing act of 1996 and 1997. Frehley and Criss then left Kiss again, but the band continued with Eric Singer and Tommy Thayer.

Counting the 1978 solo albums, Kiss has been awarded 28 gold albums to date, the most of any American rock band. The band has sold more than 40 million albums in the United States, of which 24 million have been certified by the RIAA. Worldwide sales exceed 100 million records, making Kiss one of the world’s best-selling bands of all time.

Kiss has been named in many "Top" lists, including #10 on VH1's "100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock," #9 on "The Greatest Metal Bands" list by MTV, #1 on Hit Parader's "Top 100 Live Bands," #56 on VH1's "100 Greatest Artists Of All Time," and #26 on Gibson's "50 Greatest American Rock Bands." On April 10, 2014, Kiss was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

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