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Kiss

Kiss

Rock band

For the Record

Selected discography

Sources

Originally made up of four young men from New York CityGene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Peter Criss and Ace Frehleythe group Kiss made a name for itself mainly by a dramatic stage show which featured band members in outrageous costumes and make-up. Boasting that they were the loudest rock and roll band in the world, Kiss would take to the stage dressed up as fantasy characters and give a high-energy, high-tech, highly theatrical show. With their appearance and raucous, crowd-pleasing concerts, the band soon became a popular success, especially with teenagers.

Their legions of fans joined the Kiss Army, worshiping the band that was never allowed to be photographed without their makeup. Comic books, movies and cartoons were released featuring the Kiss characters. The popularity of the band began to cool down in the early 1980s, around the time that it decided to perform without makeup. Ace Frehley and Peter Criss left the band, and some of the new replacements did not last long. Still, Kiss continued to give a wild stage show,

For the Record

Group formed in New York City, 1973; original members included lead guitarist Ace Frehley (bom Paul Frehley, April 27, 1951 in Bronx, New York, wifes name, Jeanette); rhythm guitarist Paul Stanley (born Stanley Eisen, January 20, 1952 in New York City); bass guitarist Gene Simmons (born Gene Klein, August 25, 1949 in Haifa, Israel); and drummer Peter Criss (born Peter Crisscoula, December 20, 1947 in Brooklyn, New York, wifes name, Lydia). Frehley was replaced by Vinnie Vincent in 1982, who was replaced by Mark St. John in 1984, who was replaced by Bruce Kulick in 1985; Criss was replaced by Eric Carr in 1980.

Awards: Chosen Best Group of the Year by Circus magazine, 1975; voted Most Promising Group in Record Worlds 1976 poll; voted Best Group in 1977 Gallup Poll.

Addresses: Office P.O. Box 840, Westbury, NY 11590.

which attracted new fans, making them an enduring act in rock and roll history.

Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons were the founding force behind Kiss. They met in 1971, when Simmons transferred to Richmond College in Staten Island from an upstate, New York, school. The two formed a loosely organized group called Rainbow, playing music ranging from country to covers of the Beatles. In 1972 Rainbow broke up, but Simmons and Stanley stayed together. They made plans to form the kind of band that would launch them into stardom.

Using basic supply-and-demand philosophy, the two decided that what the rock world needed at the time was a group that could do a really wild, entertaining stage show. Bands that had been successful at that in the pastAlice Cooper, David Bowie, T Rexhad quit performing. Wanting to fill that gap, they decided to form a hard rock band with a theatrical theme. The two spent a lot of time in 1972 and 1973 researching their idea by seeing other groups. One, in particular, influenced them greatly, the New York Dolls. The Dolls were famed for dressing up in drag when they played.

Stanley and Simmons then went about trying to get a drummer and lead guitarist for the band. Peter Criss was found through an ad he had placed in Rolling Stone. Ace Frehley was recruited by an ad placed in the Village Voice. With all the elements in place, the group rehearsed in a Manhattan loft, named themselves Kiss and started experimenting with makeup and theatrics that would become the backbone of their stage show.

Deciding the drag look would not work for them, they hit upon the idea of getting made-up like fantasy characters. Their look, although not intentionally, was similar to Japanese Kabuki Theater. Simmons appeared as a monster with leather bat wings and scaly platform boots, characteristically wagging his 7-inch tongue in and out of his mouth for effect. Stanley was the lover, with pouty lips and a star over his right eye. Criss was a cat, and Frehley a spaceman with silver boots and a leather, spacesuit. To add to the fantasy aspect, they decided none of the Kiss members would be photographed in public without their makeup.

Kiss began playing small clubs around New York, but all the members had their minds set on superstardom. They aggressively publicized the band, sending releases to many important record industry executives. Bill Aucoin, who was working as producer of a television music series, went to see the band play and was instantly impressed. Within a few weeks he had made a deal with Casablanca records to handle Kisss records and publicity. Shortly after their signing with Casablanca, the group produced the album Kiss. Choreographer Sean Delaney was brought in to perfect the timing and effects of Kisss already dramatic stage appearance. The bands first major show was on New Years Eve, 1973, as an opening act. Kiss stole the show that evening, winning over the crowd with its performance.

In the years 1973 and 1974, Kiss worked hard on tour, playing in such out of the way places as Edmonton, Canada. Despite the groups popular appeal, critics generally lambasted their music. Steve Pond wrote in the Detroit News that the music made by Kiss is overbearing, repetitious, simple-minded and derivative. His comments were indicative of many rock record reviews. Kisss philosophy, however, was to give the fan a quality show no matter where it performed. And it was hard to dispute the fact that fans were thronging to their stage shows, entranced by the bands energy.

By 1975 Kiss was headlining in larger auditoriums around the country. They also released two popular albums, Hotter Than Hell and Dressed to Kill. The single Rock & Roll All Nite from the latter album became almost an anthem for the teenage crowd. In 1975, cash flow became a problem when Kisss record company, Casablanca, split from Warner Brothers. Because Casablanca was having problems meeting royalty payments, Aucoin had to finance an entire Kiss tour on his American Express card. This situation turned around quickly in 1975 when the double album Alive was released. Recorded in small and medium-sized towns around the U.S., this album truly captured the energy and drive the group put into their live shows and was an instant success, ending the groups financial problems.

However other problems were to arise. There was backlash from concerned parents and the press that Kisss stage show gave children dangerous ideas. For example, Simmons would breathe fire during one of the songs. Several teenagers tried this at home, and a few were seriously burned. There were accusations that the band was made up of devil worshippers and Kiss was actually an acronym for Knights in Satans Service.

Despite this negative publicity, the years 1975-79 found Kisss popularity with its fans at its peak. The band made a point of playing in small towns as well as larger markets, to build a grass roots following of loyal fans. The band was even invited to perform in Cadillac, Michigan, because the local high school football team had made Kiss their team mascot and broken their losing record. In a publicity coup, Kiss wowed the town and gained much press coverage by playing at Cadillac High Schools prom. With stunts like this, it was not surprising that the bands fan club, named the Kiss Army, numbered over 100, 000 members.

As further testimony to the bands popularity during the late 1970s, the Kiss characters also starred in comic books, and the band appeared in an NBC Movie of the Week, Kiss Meets the Phantom. Kiss Halloween costumes were sold and a Christmas TV special aired. During this time the band also released the albums Destroyer (1976), Kissthe Originals and Rock and Roll Over (1976), Love Gun and Alive II (1977), Double Platinum (1978), and Dynasty (1979). Although critics still generally disapproved of the group, Simmons commented in the Detroit News: Its OK if Rolling Stone votes us Hype of the Year. We still fill 20, 000-seat halls every night. Well take it.

In 1981, Peter Criss left the band, followed soon by Ace Frehley. Despite the turnover in these original group members, Stanley and Simmons kept a guiding hand on the strategy of the band. They recruited new players, kept releasing recordings and continued to give audiences outrageous stage shows. Creatures of the Night (1982), Lick It Up (1983) and Animalize (1984) hit the Billboard lists. Asylum (1985) and Crazy Nights (1987) also became hits. In 1983, the group decided to perform without their makeup, ending years of mystery about their real appearance. Simmons commented in the Detroit News that When youve done everything you can with a form, its time to change. I think it may have helped in keeping us a little more level-headed, that after 20 albums and 65 million records sold, we could stand in line and get a hamburger without being recognized.

Kisss longevity is an amazing testimony to its popularity with fans. Even though the band has been around since the early 1970s, their music and live performances still win favor with legions of fans, continuing to attract new audiences in the U.S. and abroad. The reason Kiss has been able to endure is precisely because they stuck to their original philosophy of giving fans what they wantedhigh-energy, rock-solid shows in whatever arena they played. They continue to revamp and change their stage show with each tour. Simmons commented in the Detroit News: We dont like to rest on our laurels. Rock n roll by its very definition means excess. We do it this way because in truth, its more fun. Why tour with the same show every year?

Selected discography

Singles; on Casablanca

Kissin Time, 1974.

Rock & Roll All Nite, 1975.

Shout It Out Loud, 1976.

Flaming Youth, 1976.

Beth/Detroit Rock City, 1976.

Hard Luck Woman, 1976.

Calling Dr. Love, 1977.

Christine Sixteen, 1977.

Love Gun,1977.

Shout It Out Loud, 1978.

Rocket Ride, 1978.

I Was Made for Lovin You, 1979.

Sure Know Something, 1979.

Kiss-Shandi, 1980.

A World Without Heroes, 1981.

LPs; on Casablanca

Kiss, 1974.

Hotter Than Hell, 1974.

Dressed to Kill, 1975.

Alive, 1975.

Destroyer, 1976.

KissThe Originals, 1976.

Rock and Roll Over, 1976.

Love Gun, 1977.

Alive II, 1977.

Dynasty, 1979.

Kiss Unmasked, 1980.

Music from the Elder, 1981.

Creatures of the Night, 1982.

On Mercury

Lick It Up, 1983.

Animalize, 1984.

Asylum, 1985.

Crazy Nights, 1987.

Sources

Books

Swenson, John, Headliners: Kiss, Tempo Books, 1978.

Periodicals

Detroit News, December 13, 1985; April 16, 1976; January 23, 1977.

New York Times Magazine, June 19, 1977.

Rolling Stone, March 25, 1976.

Nancy Rampson

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Kiss

Kiss

Rock band

For the Record

Selected discography

Sources

For over 25 years, Kiss have been thrilling and entertaining audiences all over the world. Concert crowds have been comprised mostly of rabidly adoring fans, who are known as the Kiss Army. This popular success was no simple feat for a band that has been universally derided, dismissed or ignored by rock critics and music journalists.

The band got its start when bassist and vocalist Gene Simmons started jamming with another musical acquaintance of his, guitarist and vocalist Paul Stanley. The two of them met when they were working on other musical projects. Simmons and Stanley decided to complete the line up with the addition of another guitarist and a drummer. They scoured the advertisements in various music and entertainment presses, looking for musicians who might be interested in hooking up with them and sharing in Simmonss and Stanleys visions for music, theatrics, and success. They found drummer Peter Criss through an advertisement he had placed in Rolling Stone magazine. They contacted their soon-to-be lead guitarist Ace Frehley through an advertisement he placed in Village Voice.

They played a number of gigs throughout 1973 and were signed by Casablanca Records in early 1974. In February of that year, they released their self titled debut album, Kiss. The LP would eventually go on to sell enough copies in America to earn the band their first gold record for album sales. Toward the end of the year, Kiss released their second album, Hotter Than Hell, which also went gold.

Two more albums were released during the following year. Dressed to Kill came out in the spring of 1975 and at the close of the year, Kiss released their first live concert album, Alive! Both albums were certified gold the year of their initial release. The album Alive! even managed to reach the top ten of the American album charts.

Around this time, the Kiss Armythe bands official fan clubwas formed. The popularity of the band was increasing rapidly as legions of young fans sought to worship at the crass heavy metal altar of their heroes. According to Brock Helander in The Rock Whos Who, the wild and crazy success of Kiss was due, in no small part, to the fact that they combined elements of glitter rock and heavy metal, garish costuming, and make up, [which when combined with] an extensive media campaign by their record company and near constant touring [which was laden with] spectacular on stage special effects[served to] nonetheless endear [Kiss] to legions of prepubescent fans with gimmicks such as blood spitting, fire breathing, explosions, dry ice fogs and

For the Record

Members include Eric Carr (born July 12, 1950 in Brooklyn, NY, died November 24, 1991 in New York, NY; joined the band, 1980), drums, vocals; Peter Criss (born Peter Crisscoula, December 20, 1947 in Brooklyn, NY; left the band, 1980), drums, vocals; Ace Frehley (born Paul Frehley, April 27, 1951 in Bronx, NY; left the band 1982), guitar, vocals; Bruce Kulick (joined the band, 1985), guitar; Gene Simmons (born Chaim Klein, August 25, 1949 in Haifa, Israel), bass, vocals; Eric Singer (joined the band, 1982), drums; Paul Stanley (born Paul Stanley Eisen, January 20, 1952 in Queens, NY), guitar, vocals; Vinnie Vincent (born Vincent Cusano; joined the band, 1982, left the band, 1984), guitar.

Group formed in New York City, 1973; signed to Casablanca and released Kiss, 1974; released Hotter Than Hell, 1974; released Dressed to Kill, 1975; released Alive!, 1975; released Rock and Roll All Over, 1976; released Love Gun, 1977; released Alive II, 1977; released Double Platinum, 1978; released Dynasty, 1979; released Kiss Unmasked, 1980; released Music From the Elder, 1981; released Creatures of the Night, 1982; signed to Mercury and released Lick It Up, 1983; released Animalize, 1984; released Asylum, 1985; Crazy Nights, 1987; released Smashed, Thrashes, and Hits, 1988; released Hot in the Shade, 1989; released Revenge, 1992; released Alive III, 1993; released MTV Unplugged, 1996; released Psycho Circus, 1998.

Awards: Gold certification for Kiss, 1974; gold certification for Hotter Than Hell, 1975; gold certification for Dressed to Kill, 1975; gold certification for Alive!, 1975; gold certification for Lick It Up, 1983; platinum certification for Destroyer, 1976; platinum certification for Rock and Roll All Over, 1976; platinum certification for Love Gun, 1977; platinum certification for Alive II, 1977; platinum certification for Double Platinum, 1978; platinum certification for Animalize, 1984.

Addresses: Record company Mercury Records, 825 8th Avenue, 27th Floor, New York, NY 10019.

rocket firing guitars in performance. Kiss was universally attacked by critics according to Helander because of their tendency to pander to the lowest common denominator of their audience, when they emphasizing the theatrics and spectacle of the show over the music which was barely competent over-loud guitar based music. The theatrics at a Kiss concert drove Kiss Army members wild and the fans started to emulate the distinctive individual appearance of their heroes. Criss was the cat, Frehley was the space creature. Simmons was the demon, and Stanley the star child.

The hard work and dedication Kiss poured into their near constant touring began to pay high dividends in 1976. Their next album, Destroyer, became their first platinum selling album. In December of that same year, Kiss finally had their first top ten hit single in America when the ballad Beth shot to the top of the pop singles charts. Before the year ended, Kiss released another platinum selling album, Rock and Roll All Over. In 1977 the platinum selling albums Love Gun and Alive II were released, the latter yet another live concert release.

During the following year, Kiss released a two-record set of their greatest hits entitled Double Platinum, an album which essentially lived up to its name. At the height of their popularity, in October of 1978, the four members of Kiss simultaneously released their individual self titled debut solo albums. All four of them managed to make it into the top fifty of the American album charts.

Further solidifying their tremendous popularity in America, the band was featured in an animated cartoon called Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park. They were also marketed and merchandised on practically everything imaginable. In 1979, Kiss released their next studio album, Dynasty, which was their first album of new material in over two years. Just like its predecessors were, Dynasty was certified platinum.

At the dawn of the 1980s, all was not well within the Kiss camp. Citing musical differences, Criss left the band to pursue a solo career and was replaced by Eric Carr. The band went on to release Kiss Unmasked, which was their first album that did not reach the top thirty of the American album charts. The next year saw the release of the concept album entitled Music From the Elder, an album that failed to match the success of the previous Kiss albums. 1982 saw the release of Creatures of the Night. Also that year, witnessed the addition of Vinnie Vincent to the Kiss lineup as he replaced Frehley, who had quit the band after he was involved in a serious automobile accident.

A new stage in the history of Kiss occurred in 1983, when the band decided to forgo their makeup and over the top and outlandish stage costuming they had been using for the previous decade. Kiss also signed to Mercury Records that year and released their maiden Mercury album Lick It Up. The first post-makeup Kiss album was certified gold.

The following year, Vincent was fired and was replaced by Mark St. John. Later in 1984, Kiss released Animalize, which not only made it into the top 20 on the American album charts but was certified platinum as well. Asylum came out in 1985 and Bruce Kulick replaced St. John on guitar. Another American top 20 album, Crazy Nights, surfaced in 1987. The next year, Kiss released another greatest hits compilation called Smashes, Thrashes, and Hits. This was followed by Hot in the Shade, in late 1989.

The single Forever was released in 1990, the first Kiss top ten single in America in nearly 15 years. In late 1991, Carr died of cancer and was replaced by Eric Singer on drums. Kiss then went on the create their first top ten American album since 1979 with the release of the 1992s Revenge. A third live album, Alive III, was released in 1993.

Over the next few years, the band toured the globe before the original lineup reunited in New York City to record and tape a segment for MTV Unplugged. The resulting album was released as MTV Unplugged, in the spring of 1996. Around this time, the reunited original band announced plans to tour again in full makeup and costumes. The resulting tour was a tremendous success. Kiss then released Psycho Circus, the original bands first album of new material since Kiss Unmasked in 1980.

Commenting on their phenomenal success and longevity in the music industry, Simmons told Peoples Mike Flaherty in 1994 that weve been reviled, hated by anyone who writes about music. But for 20 years weve been stubborn and committed to our vision, even though it meant going totally against fashion. Perhaps thats why weve lasted.

Selected discography

Kiss, Casablanca, 1974.

Hotter Than Hell, Casablanca, 1974.

Dressed to Kill, Casablanca, 1975.

Alive!, Casablanca, 1975.

Rock and Roll All Over, Casablanca, 1976.

Love Gun, Casablanca, 1977.

Alive II, Casablanca, 1977.

Double Platinum, Casablanca, 1978.

Dynasty, Casablanca, 1979.

Kiss Unmasked, Casablanca, 1980

Music From the Elder, Casablanca, 1981.

Creatures of the Night, Casablanca, 1982

Lick It Up, Mercury, 1983.

Animalize, Mercury, 1984

Asylum, Mercury, 1985.

Crazy Nights, Mercury, 1987.

Smashed, Thrashes, and Hits, Mercury, 1988.

Hot in the Shade, Mercury, 1989.

Revenge, Mercury, 1992.

Alive III, Mercury, 1993

MTV Unplugged, Mercury, 1996.

Psycho Circus, Mercury, 1998.

Sources

Books

Helander, Brock, ed. Rock Whos Who, second edition, Schirmer, 1996.

Rees, Dayfdd, and Crampton, Luke, Encyclopedia of Rock Stars, DK, 1996.

Periodicals

People, June 27, 1994.

Mary Alice Adams

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Kiss

KISS

Formed: 1973, New York, New York

Members: Peter Criss, drums, vocals (George Peter John Criscoula; born Brooklyn, New York, 20 December 1945); Ace Frehley, guitar, vocals (Paul Daniel Frehley; born Bronx, New York, 27 April 1951); Gene Simmons, bass, vocals (Chaim Witz, changed to Gene Klein; born Haifa, Israel, 25 August 1949); Paul Stanley, guitar, vocals (Stanley Harvey Eisen; born Queens, New York, 20 January 1952). Former members: Eric Carr, drums (Paul Charles Caravello; born Brooklyn, New York, 12 July 1950; died New York, New York, 24 November 1991); Bruce Kulick, guitar (Bruce Howard Kulick; born Brooklyn, New York, 12 December 1953); Eric Singer, drums (Eric D. Mensinger; born Cleveland, Ohio, 12 May 1958); Mark St. John, guitar (Mark Norton; born Hollywood, California, 7 February 1956); Vinnie Vincent, guitar (Vincent John Cusano; born Bridgeport, Connecticut, 6 August 1952).

Genre: Rock

Best-selling album since 1990: Unplugged (1996)


Despite what critics say about them musically, the extravagant rock group KISS will forever occupy an exalted corner of rock history as one of those rare bands responsible for expanding the boundaries of formulaic image, stage demeanor, and aggressive marketing. Illustrious for a ten-year commitment to shielding their identities with elaborate stage makeup, KISS refined the showy theatrical rock styles of David Bowie and Alice Cooper into a choreographed rock and roll circus. The original members of the band reunited in the 1990s and achieved album sales success with slightly less hype and more attention to their music.

Standing in six-inch platform shoes, clad in shiny shoulder-padded costumes, and faces caked with Japanese Kabuki-styled makeup, the four-piece KISS took the rock and roll world by storm in the mid-1970s. It began when Queens, New York, natives, bassist Chiam Witz (Gene Simmons) and guitarist Stan Eisen (Paul Stanley), decided to form a new group after their band, Wicked Lester, folded. They added fellow New Yorkers, guitarist Paul Frehley (Ace Frehley) and drummer George Criscoula (Peter Criss), and embarked on a journey to play hard rock music and garner as much attention as possible by donning costumes and makeup in order to transform themselves into maniacal characters. Simmons came naturally equipped with an unusually long tongue, which he wagged relentlessly, that added perfectly to his demon character. He was also infamous for blowing fire out of his mouth onstage. Stanley was a hunky lothario with lush lips and a star on one eye. Criss, with his painted-on whiskers, looked like a futuristic cat as he beat away on the drums, and Frehley, in a silver and black spacesuit, resembled an outer space creature manipulating the guitar. As they rehearsed material in a Manhattan loft, a choreographer guided them toward a well-rehearsed stage show replete with an extensive light show and exploding flash pots.

KISS cut a record deal with Casablanca Records and toured extensively in 1973 and 1974, gaining fan recognition at every stop. However, as audiences from all across North America were enthralled with KISS's walloping rock and flashy stage show, critics showed great disdain for their music. Not yet introduced to punk rock or to the heavy metal soon to come, critics labeled KISS's music simplistic and vapid. None of the commentary stopped people from buying their records or attending shows and by the release of their live album, Alive (1975), the members of KISS were bona fide rock superstars, and no one knew who they were. With makeup hiding their faces, the members of KISS kept their identities a closely guarded secret by staying in full regalia at all times in public. They recorded a massive amount of records, sometimes releasing several in one year. In 1978 each member of KISS released a separate solo album. They scored a hit with the rock standard "Rock and Roll All Nite," and another with the power ballad "Beth." They became adept marketers and managed to get their KISS label on virtually everything, providing extra royalty money when their popularity began to wane in the 1980s.

KISS went through several band member changes and finally abandoned their makeup in 1983. The late 1980s saw an increased popularity in heavy metal hair bands and KISS managed to rise with the tide. They entered the 1990s having sold nearly 70 million records. They had released more than forty albums, many of them various compilations that recycled song after song. In 1996 the original four members gathered to perform on MTV's live acoustic venue, Unplugged. The subsequent album from that session went platinum.

In 1997 KISS released their first studio album in five years and one of their most intriguing, Carnival of Souls. The band's lineup consisted of Simmons, Stanley, guitarist Bruce Kulick, and Eric Singer on drums. Carnival of Souls contains a deeper grunge sound more associated with bands like Nirvana. The album sold poorly as years of driving, one-dimensional power rock conditioned KISS's massive fan base into expecting a certain signature sound. The original members gathered again to record Psycho Circus (1998), an effort that duplicates their work from the 1970s. One of the highlights for KISS fans on Psycho Circus is the energetic, "I Pledge Allegiance to the State of Rock and Roll." Another favorite is Criss singing the power ballad, "I Finally Found My Way Home." KISS promoted the album with a successful tour as they performed decked out in full costume and the makeup of their 1970s concert days.

KISS continues to release a wide variety of compilation albums and they have taken advantage of the Internet to expand their barefaced marketing shrewdness. KISS goes light years beyond selling T-shirts, posters, and buttons to hawk items as diverse as condoms, credit cards, children's lunch boxes, school supplies, action figures, paper goods, home décor, and monthly memberships to a XXX website, to name a few. They even have a portion of their website dedicated to female fans, featuring them as KISS Girls by having a provocative picture of them displayed.

In 2003 the original members of KISS toured in full costume and makeup with the legendary rock group Aerosmith. Individually, each member of KISS has attempted solo careers with varying measures of success. Due to their flamboyant and innovative presentation, KISS will always tend to be more closely associated with their show than their music.

SELECTIVE DISCOGRAPHY:

KISS (Casablanca, 1974); Hotter Than Hell (Casablanca, 1974); Dressed to Kill (Casablanca, 1975); Alive (Casablanca, 1975); Destroyer (Casablanca, 1976); KISSThe Originals (Casablanca, 1976); Rock and Roll Over (Casablanca, 1976); Love Gun (Casablanca, 1977); Alive 2 (Casablanca, 1977); Dynasty (Casablanca, 1979); KISS Unmasked (Casablanca, 1980); Creatures of the Night (Casablanca, 1982); Lick It Up (Mercury, 1983); Animalize (Mercury, 1984); Asylum (Mercury, 1985); Crazy Nights (Mercury, 1987); Hot in the Shade (Mercury, 1989); Revenge (Mercury, 1992); Unplugged (Mercury, 1996); Carnival of Souls (Mercury, 1997), Psycho Circus (Mercury, 1998); The Very Best of KISS (Mercury, 2002).

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

P. Elliot, KISS Hotter Than Hell: The Stories Behind Every Song (New York, 2002); C. Gooch and J. Suhs, KISS Alive Forever: The Complete Touring History (New York, 2002); G. Simmons and P. Stanley, KISS: The Early Years (New York, 2002).

donald lowe

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kiss

kiss To kiss — to make contact with the lips — is often a sign of friendship or affection. In this respect it is seen as a Western gesture of intimacy and is not, therefore, observed in all cultures.

The target of the kiss is not of course restricted to the mouth and can be directed to any part of the body, with varying pressure. There are different types of kissing behaviour, such as mouth-to-mouth, French kissing, and cunnilingus. The ‘French kiss’ is a type of sexual arousal in which two people kiss with their mouths open so that the tongues can touch. This is sometimes also called ‘soul kiss’ or ‘tongue kiss’. Cunnilingus is another type of sexual kissing whereby a person stimulates the external female genital organs (vulva, clitoris) with the mouth or tongue. The word ‘cunnilingus’ is derived from the Latin cunnus meaning ‘vulva, vagina’, and lingua meaning ‘tongue’ (or lingere ‘to lick up’).

The use of the kiss can also be seen as a religio-erotic symbol in the West. One of the most famous of all kisses was the kiss of betrayal: Judas' kiss. In the Christian tradition, Judas betrayed Christ with a kiss and in doing so brought death and treachery to an act that was associated with peace and unity. St Augustine later warns against the misuse of the physical kiss, especially if the heart is full of deceit and dishonesty. That Judas betrayed his master with a kiss was accounted by Christians as a betrayal of the kiss itself as well as of the Lord. In the early Christian centuries the kiss was a mystic symbol imbued with powerful feelings such as peace, union, and love. As Nicolas Perella states in The Kiss Sacred and Profane (1969): ‘The repeated use of this formula and the contexts in which it occurs suggests that the kiss was quickly institutionalized in the young Christian community as a mystic symbol both in liturgical and non-liturgical ceremony’.

In the early centuries it was the practice of Christian iconography to borrow motifs from well-established pagan myths; especially in the case of sarcophagi designs. Among the motifs applicable in this way were those connected with the myth of Psyche and Eros; one of the most favoured by the Christians of Rome was the image that showed a pair embracing and kissing. Psyche — the human soul of the departed, and Eros — always a powerful god of love. Nicolas Perella suggests that this was acceptable to the Christians because it could well depict a wedding union in heaven. It is Eros who bestows the kiss, with all the suggestion that he is infusing the spirit of new life into Psyche. Thus the adoption of the ‘kissing couple’ is understandable.

The kiss of life and the kiss of death, are the extreme life forces which have become powerful symbols for writers and artists. The breath or spirit of God has always been seen as a life-giving act, and the Holy Spirit can be given in the form of a kiss. For example, the Virgin Mary was kissed by the Holy Spirit so that she might become impregnated. The iconography of a kiss often portrays both ecstasy and death simultaneously. The kiss of death is at its most obvious when we see Judas kiss Jesus; this is both a physical and metaphorical manifestation, which results in a corporeal death.

By the sixteenth century, authors were using the kiss and death as sexual metaphors. The kiss, both given and stolen, is romanticized in poetry and prose. The traditional medieval motif, for example, of the poet seeking solace from his lovesickness is disguised in the wantoness of his lover's kisses. The poet was often chaste where his love and kisses were concerned; the Metaphysical poets, in particular, wrote of the constant turmoil where sexual and platonic love were concerned.

Another method of inviting a kiss, though not necessarily of giving one, can be found in the ‘language of the fan’ in the eighteenth century. Though used as a form of concealment, the fan, when pressed to the lips, indicated the anticipation of a kiss. The pressure of the fan on the mouth would often indicate the level of sincerity and passion involved.

A number of modern-day artists and writers have used kissing as a powerful and symbolic form of friendship, intimacy, and sexual activity. The well-known Parisian artist Auguste Rodin (1840–1917), for example, immortalized a man and a woman coming together in this way when he produced a life-size sculpture in marble, entitled The Kiss, in 1886. By contrast, in 1897 the French anthropologist Paul d'Enjoy remarked on the horror of the Chinese at seeing mouth-to-mouth kissing by Westerners.

Another way of using the kiss as a dramatic and controlling device can be seen as a power play between the two sexes, especially in the guise of fairytales. Twentieth-century notions of the male as hero, waking up and resuscitating the ‘sleeping’ female with his kiss have been challenged by feminist writers such as Simone de Beauvoir. Myths of ‘The Sleeping Beauty’, ‘Snow White’, and ‘Cinderella’ that are handed down from generation to generation, usually to girls, depicting the all-embracing kiss, are being re-assessed in the wake of feminist theory.

Anne Abichou

Bibliography

Beauvoir, S. de (reprint 1970). The second sex. Bantam Books Inc., New York.
Kolbenschlas, M. (1979). Goodbye Sleeping Beauty. Breaking the spell of feminine myths and models. The Women's Press, Dublin.
Liggett, J. (1974). The human face. Constable, London.
Perella, N. J. (1969). The kiss sacred and profane. An interpretative history of kiss symbolism and related religio-erotic themes. University of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles.


See also body language; gestures.

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kiss

kiss / kis/ • v. [tr.] touch with the lips as a sign of love, sexual desire, reverence, or greeting: he kissed her on the lips | [tr.] she kissed the children goodnight | [intr.] we started kissing. ∎  Billiards (of a ball) lightly touch (another ball) in passing. • n. 1. a touch with the lips in kissing. ∎ Billiards a slight touch of a ball against another ball. ∎  used to express affection at the end of a letter (conventionally represented by the letter X): she sent lots of love and a whole line of kisses. 2. a small cake or cookie, typically a meringue. ∎  a small candy, esp. one made of chocolate. PHRASES: kiss and tell chiefly derog. recount one's sexual exploits, esp. to the media concerning a famous person: [as adj.] this isn't a kiss-and-tell book. kiss something good-bye inf. accept the certain loss of something: I could kiss my career good-bye.kiss of death an action or event that causes certain failure for an enterprise: it would be the kiss of death for the company if it could be proved that the food was unsafe.PHRASAL VERBS: kiss someone/something off inf. dismiss someone rudely; end a relationship abruptly.kiss up to inf. behave sycophantically or obsequiously toward (someone) in order to obtain something.DERIVATIVES: kiss·a·ble adj.

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kiss

kiss kiss and tell recount one's sexual exploits, especially to the media regarding a famous person; in US politics from the mid 1970s, the revealing of confidential information gained through any close or privileged relationship.
the kiss of death a seemingly kind or well-intentioned action, look, or association, which brings disastrous consequences; the association is with the kiss of betrayal given to Jesus by Judas.
kiss of peace a ceremonial kiss as part of a religious ceremony, especially in the Eucharist.
kiss the gunner's daughter be lashed to the breech of a gun for flogging, an old naval punishment.

See also an apple pie without some cheese is like a kiss without a squeeze, Judas kiss.

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kiss

kiss vb. OE. cyssan (pt. cyste, pp. cyssed) = OS. kussian (Du. kussen), OHG. kussen (G. küssen), ON. kyssa :- Gmc. *kussjan, f. *kussaz a kiss, whence OE. coss (to XVI), OS. kos, kus (Du. kus), (O)HG. kuss, ON. koss.
Hence sb., XIV, superseding coss.

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kiss

kissabyss, amiss, bis, bliss, Chris, Diss, hiss, kiss, Majlis, miss, piss, reminisce, sis, Swiss, this, vis •dais •Powys, prowess •loess, Lois •Lewes, lewis •abbess • ibis •Anubis, pubis •cannabis • arabis • duchess • purchase •caddis, Gladys •Candice •Sardis, Tardis •vendace • Charybdis •bodice, goddess •demigoddess • Aldiss • jaundice •de profundis • prejudice • hendiadys •cowardice • stewardess • preface •Memphis • aphis • edifice • benefice •orifice • artifice • office •surface, surface-to-surface •undersurface • haggis • aegis •burgess •clerkess, Theodorákis •Colchis

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KISS

KISS (kɪs) Colloquial (USA) keep it simple, stupid
• Stock exchange (Germany) Kurs Information Service System

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