For “Song History Saturday” we will take a song each week and break down some of the details about the writing, recording, and sometimes the legacy of the song. Today, we’re celebrating tonight’s KISS performance at Sonic Temple!
Editor’s note: So if you won Sonic Temple tickets and came to pick them up while I was running the door (which was most of the time), I know I didn’t let you leave without telling me who you were most excited to see. This wasn’t just my way of forcing people to talk to me, it was for science! Now I know that you were excited for Deftones, Foo Fighters, TOOL, Queens of the Stone Age, and Avenged Sevenfold. But I also know that overwhelmingly, CD 92.9 FM listeners were very excited to see KISS. After talking to some of you, you have me convinced that it’s going to be a great show.
“Rock and Roll All Nite was originally released on Dressed to Kill, the band’s third studio album overall as well as being their third studio album in just 13 months. The performance of their previous album, Hotter Than Hell, was disappointing. President of Casablanca Records, Neil Bogart insisted that the band needed an anthem. As soon as they returned from the tour, they were directed to get back into the studio. Luckily, Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley had worked on the requested anthem on tour, writing “Rock and Roll All Nite” while in L.A. Production began on the album, though the budget for the album was so low that they were forced to produce it themselves with help from Bogart. A series of ten (unfortunately short) songs was compiled and recorded, including “Rock and Roll All Nite.”
During the writing of the song, Paul Stanley has since revealed that he didn’t even consider that the song might be about drinking or drugs. He said that it “was really about celebrating, and it wasn’t about getting high or getting stoned or anything like that. It was, ‘I wanna rock and roll all night and party every day. I wanna have a great time and make the most of life.'” Gene Simmons has also made it known in an interview with Songfacts that drinking and drugs are not part of the rock and roll lifestyle KISS partake in. Stanley was responsible for the choruses, while he and Simmons wrote the pre-chorus together and Simmons reworked an unfinished song named “Drive Me Wild” into the verses. The duo deliberately kept the lyrics in the first person instead of saying “you want to” because they didn’t want to sound like they were being preachy.
The choruses of “Rock and Roll All Nite” are contagious because it feels like other people are singing along- and they are. The touring crew, studio musicians, and family members were brought into the studio to sing, clap, whistle, etc. Some even made noise with their jacket zippers.
“Rock and Roll All Nite” didn’t immediately become the signature song, nor did it replace their earlier “Let Me Go, Rock ‘N’ Roll” as their closer. But it did crawl to #68 on the Billboard charts. They released a live version later in the year with a new guitar solo, and it reached #12, finally making it their 4th highest-charting single to date.
Although KISS have always had a consistent image, their musical identity wasn’t considered “identifiable” until the release of “Rock and Roll All Night.” They are probably best known for “Rock and Roll All Nite,” despite it not being their highest-charting single. They’ve made it their signature song. They close almost every set with it. Other bands close sets with it. Something about the song is contagious even for those who don’t count themselves as KISS fans. Rock out tonight, those of you who can make it to Sonic Temple!
-Just Emma (JustEmma@CD929FM.com)
Written by: Emma Sedam
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