Yesterday (January 30) was the 40th anniversary of the first live performance of KISS who would go on to gather millions of adoring fans and almost as many detractors.
Over those forty years, they’ve managed to accumulate 28 gold albums, the most of any American rock group, and have sold 40 million albums in the U.S. Worldwide, their 100 million in sales puts them in the same strata as Metallica, Fleetwood Mac, Rod Stewart, Guns N’ Roses, Prince, Stevie Wonder and Bob Dylan.
Yet, over the years, their chart history would not reflect the group’s enormous success. Only six of their 20 studio albums have made the Billboard top ten, with an additional three live albums also reaching that level, and they’ve never had a number 1 (2009’s Sonic Boom came closes at number 2). Their biggest single, Beth/Detroit Rock City, only reached number 7.
The four current members of the group have penned their thanks for the group’s official website. Gene Simmons wrote:
To the Kiss Army – who made it all possible for us.
To Paul, without whom I would never have been able to achieve my dreams.
And to the band – past and present, for continuing to treat the stage as holy ground and the fans as our bosses.
Here’s to another 40 years!
While Paul Stanley not only thanks the fans but, also, the two newest members of the group, Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer.
My dream from the start was five years of glory with KISS. Along with Peter and Ace, we kicked doors open that stood in our way, and every band member who has stood with me at some point during these decades has played an essential part in turning that five year dream into a phenomenal 40 year reality. I thank each of you for your contribution to this milestone.
Our journey and victories are a joy I also share with you, our fans who have always given us the freedom to stand and fall on our own terms, and we have done both with a grateful smile. For the past ten years, Tommy and Eric’s pride and dedication have enabled Gene and I to reclaim and celebrate all that we have been, while continuing to move forward in a way that would have been impossible without them. I love playing with the band as it is today, and many of my proudest moments are tied to moments of magic we have created together in the studio and on the stage. I know we’re ready to do it again.
Their fan base continues to grow to this day and the band continues to be true monsters of merchandising with their faces and logo on everything from pinball machines to caskets.