Gene Simmons Said Kiss’ ‘Rock and Roll All Nite’ Was Inspired by This Sly and the Family Stone Song

Kiss and Sly and the Family Stone made very different music; however, Gene Simmons said a Sly and the Family Stone song influenced Kiss’ “Rock and Roll All Nite.” Simmons revealed how he crafted “Rock and Roll All Nite” with Paul Stanley. Simmons also said about 20 people worked on one part of the song.

Gene Simmons of Kiss with a guitar
Gene Simmons of Kiss | Paul Natkin/Getty Images

This music industry figure told Kiss to release a song inspired by Sly and the Family Stone

Kiss initially signed to Neil Bogart’s label Casablanca Records. According to Grantland, Kiss’ first two albums were Kiss and Hotter than Hell. Neither of these albums were particularly successful. In his book Kiss and Make-Up, Simmons said Bogart had a specific plan for the band’s third album, Dressed to Kill.

“The objective for the third album was to push Kiss to a higher level,” Simmons recalled. “For previous albums, Neil had boosted sales with novelty singles or television appearances. This time he wanted an anthem. He told us he wanted a song like Sly and the Family Stone’s ‘I Want to Take You Higher,’ something that would get the whole audience involved, screaming, pumping their fists.”

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How Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, and about 18 other people worked to create Kiss’ ‘Rock and Roll All Nite’

Simmons discussed how he created an anthem with Paul Stanley. “Paul had an unfinished song he had been working on for months, and I had a piece of a song that I hadn’t finished either,” Simmons recalled. “We put the two together, and before we knew it, we had this new song, which eventually became ‘Rock and Roll All Nite.'” 

Simmons said many people worked on “Rock and Roll All Nite.” “The song was simple, which was very appealing, and it had a chorus vocal that was sung by a large group of people in the studio-not just the four band members but engineers, families of people from the record label, about 20 people in all,” he wrote.

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The world reacted to 2 versions of ‘Rock and Roll All Nite’ very differently

The original version of “Rock and Roll All Nite” peaked at No. 68 on the Billboard Hot 100 and remained on the chart for six weeks. Meanwhile, Dressed to Kill peaked at No. 32 on the Billboard 200, staying on the chart for 29 weeks. In Kiss and Make-Up, Simmons said “Rock and Roll All Nite” did alright, but it wasn’t the massive radio hit Kiss wanted it to be.

Subsequently, Kiss released the live album Alive!. Alive! remains one of Kiss’ most famous albums. The album featured a live rendition of “Rock and Roll All Nite.” This version of the track peaked at No. 12 on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming the band’s first top 20 hit. It lasted on the chart for 14 weeks.

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In the decades since, “Rock and Roll All Nite” remains one of Kiss’ most famous songs. It appeared in films such as Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park, Detroit Rock City, and Scooby-Doo! and Kiss: Rock and Roll Mystery. “Rock and Roll All Nite” is a classic and it might not be the same without Sly and the Family Stone.