Weekend Songs: Kiss, ‘Rock and Roll All Nite’
Classic rock is about heavy hooks, power chords, and tight harmonies, but it’s also about letting loose and enjoying the good times — and there’s no better time than Friday evening, when we pick up our paycheck, punch out of work, and enjoy a couple days of much-needed rest and relaxation.
Today, we’re paying tribute to one of rock’s all-time greatest party anthems, from one of the genre’s most prominent ambassadors of good times and easy living: ‘Rock and Roll All Nite,’ the Kiss song that originally graced the charts in 1975 — twice, with two different versions — on its way to becoming one of the band’s signature numbers and an enduring musical manifesto for anyone who’s ever felt like abandoning their responsibilities for a day or two.
Which is, perhaps not coincidentally, probably exactly what the guys in the band felt like doing in 1975, when Casablanca Records president Neil Bogart pulled the plug on their ‘Hotter Than Hell’ tour and summoned them back to the studio to record a quickie follow-up. With the label on its last financial legs and in desperate need of a hit, Kissmates Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley were dragooned into writing what Bogart referred to as “an anthem or rallying cry for our fans.”
As Stanley later recalled, “When I came up with the chorus for ‘rock and roll all night, and party every day,’ I knocked on Gene’s door and said, ‘I think I’ve got it, this so-called anthem we need.’ Gene came and said, ‘Well, I have this song, ‘Drive Me Wild.’’ We put them together and lo and behold had a song that spawned a whole viewpoint, which was writing a song that embodied the philosophy of the band and the people who love the band.”
And that’s pretty much it in a nutshell. In fact, ‘Rock and Roll All Nite’ sums up the Kiss ethos that it’s kind of surprising the song didn’t spontaneously write itself the day the band was formed — and that when it was initially released as a single, it peaked at a lowly Number 57 on the Billboard charts. It wasn’t until later in 1975, when it resurfaced as a single from their breakthrough ‘Alive!’ album, that ‘Nite’ really took off, shooting up to Number 12 and cementing its status as the anthem Bogart was looking for.
‘Rock and Roll All Nite’ heralded the band’s arrival as one of the most successful rock bands of the ’70s, kicking off a string of Top 20 hits and platinum records and providing the group with a permanent set-closing number for its shows. It’s also a pretty good way to wave goodbye to the work week, so you know what to do — just hit that ‘play’ button on the video below, crank up the volume, and let the weekend start…now.
Watch Kiss perform ‘Rock and Roll All Nite’