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|"Detroit Rock City"|
|Single by Kiss|
|from the album Destroyer|
|Released||July 28, 1976|
|Recorded||Record Plant Studios, |
New York City: 1976
|Length||5:17 (album version)|
2:58 (single version)
3:35 (Double Platinum version)
|Paul Stanley, Bob Ezrin|
|Kiss singles chronology|
The song is one of the bands most popular and is a classic rock staple. It is also seen as one of the more technical songs musically in the band's canon. The guitar solo is famous for its Flamenco style and being a duet between Stanley and Ace Frehley, it has since been a large influence on rock music and heavy metal, in particular Iron Maiden and Pantera.
The song, recorded and released as a single in 1976, was the third single from Kiss's album Destroyer and was planned to be their last in support of the album. As a single, it did poorly in sales and radio play (other than in Detroit), and failed to chart in the U.S. even though it would prove to be a fan favorite. It came as a surprise that the B-side "Beth", a ballad written and sung by drummer Peter Criss, wound up catching on in different markets in the United States, so the single was reissued with "Beth" as the A-side and "Detroit Rock City" as the B-side.
While the song briefly references Detroit, the real-life incident which inspired the lyric evidently did not take place there. "I had the basic riff of the song, the 'Get up, get down' part," Stanley recalls, "but I didn't know what the song was about except it was about Detroit. And then I remembered on the previous tour, I think it was in Charlotte, somebody had gotten hit by a car and killed outside the arena. I remember thinking how weird it is that people's lives end so quickly. People can be on their way to something that's really a party and a celebration of being alive and die in the process of doing it. So that became the basis for the lyric."
On Destroyer, the song segues into "King of the Night Time World", via the sounds of a car crash. The songs were played together on the Destroyer tour.
During the Rock And Roll Over tour, Stanley changed the lyric, "I know I'm gonna die, why?" to "I know I'm gonna die, and I don't care!" The song was #6 on VH1's 40 Greatest Metal Songs and is featured on the album Heavy Metal - The First 20 Years. "Detroit Rock City" was based on an earlier song that Kiss performed only in concert called "Acrobat".
Anthemic hard rocker, B-side of "Beth," and later as the subject of a movie which Marshall Mathers undoubtedly snuck into for free.