Come on, you know you love them.
There’s not a guy my age who didn’t spend time in mom’s basement rocking a tennis racquet while jamming to “Detroit Rock City.” Somewhere along the line, though, we hung up our lunch boxes and our Mego action figures: KISS was kids stuff. Since then we’ve heard the classics in commercials, movies, etc., and we’ve been left with the impression that KISS was no more than “Calling Doctor Love” and “Rock and Roll All Night.”
If you dig a little deeper into their catalog, though, you’ll find some really tasty nuggets. Here in no particular order are eight reasons to give KISS a little respect, so get out your face paint and tennis racquet and let’s do this:
1. “A World Without Heroes”: From the much maligned Music From The Elder, with lyrics co-written by Lou Reed.
2. “Fractured Mirror“: A wonderful instrumental climbing song. As a kid I was sure that this was the most sophisticated piece of music ever recorded. Now? Not so much, but I still enjoy it. I can’t pick up a guitar without playing this. This song sounded to me like how I imagined California, like a Bruce Brown surfing documentary.
3. “Hard Luck Woman,” Garth Brooks. Yes, you read that correctly. Garth’s version did what every cover song should do: It made me think about the original in a whole new way. The blood and dragon boots obscured the fact that this is a pretty little country song.
4. “Black Diamond,” The Replacements. My vote for the coolest KISS cover ever recorded. If you don’t own the ‘Mats Let It Be album, you need to remedy that immediately.
5. “Goin’ Blind.” I can state confidently that this is the only song ever written about both macular degeneration and a love affair between a girl of 16 and a 93 year old man.
6. “Love Theme From KISS.” Another instrumental. How Quentin Tarantino has missed this one escapes me. It has the early seventies funkiness mandatory for a slow motion tracking shot of cool guys in suits walking.
7. “Mr. Make Believe,” Gene Simmons. Did the Beatles influence everybody? Yes, yes they did.
8. “Watchin’ You.” Hooky, funky, weird. Limpin’ as you do / I’m watchin’ you. What?
I know you’re lurking out there, KISS Army, so lay it on me: What are your favorite deep cuts from the mighty KISS catalog?
A version of this post originally appeared on Why It Matters.
photo Richard Riley/Flickr