Saturday, August 2, 2014

KISS, Dan Fogelberg And Classic Rock And Roll

On the way to the grocery store yesterday I turned the radio on to the local classic rock and roll station. They were playing "Rock and Roll All Night" by Kiss. I listened to it and couldn't help but think "Geez, that's really lame."

I remember back in the mid 70s when Kiss was so big and everybody (including me) really liked their music. They did have at least one song ("Beth" comes to mind) that wasn't too bad but seriously...  "I want to rock and roll all night and party every day" is not exactly thought provoking - unless you're thinking of nothing but partying.

You show us everything you've got
You keep on dancing and the room gets hot
You drive us wild, we'll drive you crazy

You say you wanna go for a spin
The party's just begun, we'll let you in
You drive us wild, we'll drive you crazy

You keep on shouting, you keep on shouting

I wanna rock and roll all night and party every day
I wanna rock and roll all night and party every day
I wanna rock and roll all night and party every day
I wanna rock and roll all night and party every day

Yep - a lot of thought provocation in those lyrics, huh? There are only four lines of very simple lyric - the rest is just repetition. Ah... the 70s. 

I must hand it to Gene Simmons, however. A brilliant businessman, he took these songs and the Kiss name and made millions for himself and the other band members. And he still does.

I couldn't help but think back to the late 70s and early 80s when I matured (somewhat) and began listening to artists like Dan Fogelberg, Crosby Stills and Nash, Bob Seger, even John Denver...  people whose lyrics actually said something and the music had depth instead of simple, rhythmic nonsense. In my opinion, Dan Fogelberg was one of the greatest lyricists of all time. His songs were poetry for which music was written. He died far too soon.

There are many other bands out there who deserve recognition for great lyrics and music that's not just loud guitars with a beat. The Electric Light Orchestra, Alan Parsons Project, Genesis, Miami Sound Machine....  I could go on all day, I'm sure. Pick your favorite.

I looked up the  list of songs by Kiss and was surprised to see so many. Not all of them made the charts and I never bought one of their albums, which, I suppose, is why I didn't know how many songs they recorded. Maybe I should go through the list and actually listen to each one. Who knows? Maybe I'll change my mind. But I doubt it.

Kiss was a band that was different - at least appearance wise. I think that's what brought them to the forefront initially. They wore bizarre costumes and makeup and kids liked it. If they were debuting today I doubt they'd have much of a following. After all - lots of performers wear makeup these days.

So here's to my youth and to Gene and the guys. Thanks for making music we could identify with at the time. Even though it was simple and somewhat silly - it's what I grew up on. But hey Gene... you're 64 years old and have a net worth of about $300 million. You can probably quit wearing the makeup and costume now. Seriously.

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