"Rock and Roll All Nite" is a song by Kiss, originally released on their 1975 album Dressed to Kill. It was released as the A-side of their fifth single, with the album track "Getaway." The studio version of the song peaked at No. 68 on the Billboard singles chart, besting the band's previous charting single, "Kissin' Time" (#89). A subsequent live version, released as a single in October 1975, eventually reached No. 12 in early 1976, the first of six Top 20 songs for Kiss in the 1970s. "Rock and Roll All Nite" became Kiss's signature song and has served as the group's closing concert number in almost every concert since 1976. In 2008 it was named the 16th greatest hard rock song of all time by VH1.
The members of Kiss were under intense pressure to put together their third album, 1975's Dressed to Kill. They were abruptly called off tour to work on a follow-up to 1974's Hotter Than Hell when the album began to die on the charts, even though they had no new songs ready. The sessions were being produced by the head of their label, Neil Bogart, who was upset that the band had yet to successfully capture the excitement of their live act on record and wanted to correct the problem himself.
Rushed to come up with material, the band dipped into their backlog of older songs, as well as writing new ones and then recording them immediately. Bogart suggested that head songwriters Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons come up with an anthem that would serve as a rallying cry for Kiss and their fans, suggesting something akin to Sly & the Family Stone's "I Want to Take You Higher." While writing back at the hotel, Stanley came up with the line "I want to rock and roll all night, and party every day." After showing the new line to Simmons, he added parts from an older song, reportedly titled "Drive Me Wild."
When the song was issued as a single a few months later, it did not storm up the charts. With record label Casablanca in deep financial trouble, Kiss was thinking of leaving for another label, but decided to issue a live album, Alive!, later in 1975. The live version of the song was longer than the studio take (including an Ace Frehley guitar solo that was absent from the original), but, as Bogart hoped, it became a number 12 hit, driving straight up the charts the album from which it was taken.
"Rock and Roll All Nite" was written by Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons while Kiss was still in Los Angeles, as part of their Hotter Than Hell tour. However, during the group's concert at Cobo Hall in Detroit on January 26, 1976, Stanley introduced it as a song that was written in and for Detroit. The tour ended early (February 1975), when Casablanca Records founder and president Neil Bogart ordered Kiss to return to the studio to record a follow up to Hotter Than Hell, which had stalled on the charts and failed to meet Casablanca's sales expectations. One of Bogart's instructions to the band was to compose an anthem, something he felt the band needed. The song itself was inspired by the Slade song "Cum on Feel the Noize".
They wrote the pre-chorus, Stanley wrote the chorus, and Simmons wrote the verses, borrowing parts of a song he had previously written, entitled "Drive Me Wild." The song was one of two the group recorded toward the end of the Hotter Than Hell tour, prior to returning to Electric Lady Studios for the proper Dressed to Kill recording sessions. For the choruses, the band and Bogart brought in a large group of outside contributors to sing and clap, including members of the Kiss road crew, studio musicians, and Peter Criss's wife Lydia. Some of the road crew used their jacket zippers to create sound.
While "Rock and Roll All Nite" would eventually become a fixture in Kiss's live performances, it was not inserted into the band's setlist immediately. Nor did it immediately replace "Let Me Go, Rock 'n' Roll" as the closing number. Kiss performed the song during the closing ceremonies for the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City which proved to be Ace Frehley's final performance with Kiss to date. They also performed the song live with Adam Lambert during the season 8 finale of American Idol, on May 20, 2009 at the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles.
The original version of the song, as it appears on Dressed To Kill, does not have a guitar solo, while many later versions do have one. The Kiss Unplugged version features Ace Frehley and Bruce Kulick sharing the solo. The Unplugged version was released as a single and reached number 13 on Billboard's Mainstream Rock Tracks. The original version also ends while fading away; all live versions end with the last notes of another Dressed to Kill song, Getaway. The chorus of the Alive! version of the song is played at the beginning of "Detroit Rock City," from 1976's Destroyer.
"Rock and Roll All Nite" has appeared on the following Kiss albums:Dressed to Kill (1975) – Original studio version
Alive! (1975) – Live version
The Originals (1976) - Studio version
Double Platinum (1978) – Studio version
Killers (1982) – Live version
Smashes, Thrashes & Hits (1988) – Remixed studio version
Alive III (1993) – Live version
Kiss Unplugged (1996) – Acoustic live version
You Wanted the Best, You Got the Best!! (1996) – Live version from Alive!
Greatest Kiss (1997) – Studio version
The Box Set (2001) – Studio version and Live version
The Very Best of Kiss (2002) – Live version from Alive!
Kiss Symphony: Alive IV (2003) – Live version with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra
The Best of Kiss: The Millennium Collection (2003) – Live version from Alive! (album re-released in 2010 as ICON)
Gold (2005) – Live version from Alive!
Kiss Chronicles: 3 Classic Albums (2006) - Studio version
Kiss Alive! 1975–2000 (2006) – Live version from The Box Set
Kiss Chronicles – Original studio version (as part of repackaging of Dressed To Kill)
Alive IIm³ - release of Alive!, Alive II, Alive III, plus Alive! The Millennium Concert – Single Edit Version
Kiss Klassics (2008) – re-recorded version included on a bonus CD with Sonic Boom
Ikons (2008) - Studio version
Kiss Alive 35 (2009) – Live album produced at each of the venues
Kiss Sonic Boom Over Europe (2010) - Live versions
Kiss 40 (2014) – Live version from Alive!
"Rock and Roll All Nite" has appeared on the following movies:Scooby-Doo! and Kiss: Rock and Roll Mystery - Studio version
Gene Simmons – lead vocals, bass guitar
Ace Frehley – lead guitar, backing vocals
Paul Stanley – rhythm guitar, backing vocals
Peter Criss – drums, backing vocals
"Rock and Roll All Nite" has been covered, among others, by:Toad The Wet Sprocket for the Kiss My Ass tribute album.
Poison for Less Than Zero's soundtrack (see below for more information on the Poison version).
L.A. Guns for the Covered in Guns cover compilation.
The Summer Set for Punk Goes Classic Rock
American actress America Ferrera covered the song during episode "Odor in the Court" of ABC television series Ugly Betty.
Momoiro Clover Z, for the single Yume no Ukiyo ni Saitemina, a collaboration with KISS.
"Rock and Roll All Nite" is used in the video games Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock (cover version), Guitar Hero: On Tour, Guitar Hero Smash Hits (album version), Karaoke Revolution Volume 2, Stick Dudes Gone Wild: Rock Band, Tony Hawk's Underground (Alive IV version), and Madden NFL 11.
A live version of the song was made available to download on April 26, 2011 for play in Rock Band 3 Basic, and PRO mode which utilizes real guitar / bass guitar, and MIDI compatible electronic drum kits / keyboards in addition to vocals.
The song is one of the all-time crowd favorites amongst Red Wings fans at Joe Louis Arena. In one incident during the 2009 Stanley Cup Finals, fans continued to sing the chorus even though the puck had dropped, which according to NHL rules state the music must be stopped. Mike Emrick commented on this on air during the NBC broadcast, "By league rules, the music must be stopped when play resumes, but that doesn't stop the fans from continuing it!"
The song is played in the beginning of the 1999 movie Detroit Rock City by the Kiss cover band Mystery. It also appears in a number of television series, including The Simpsons and Family Guy. A bizarre polka version of this song was done on the television series Full House and Wedding Band.
The song was prominently used in the 1993 movie Dazed and Confused.
"Rock and Roll All Nite" was covered and released as a single by the American rock band Poison from the soundtrack album Less Than Zero (released in 1987). It was released on a Poison album The Best of Poison: 20 Years of Rock in 2006 and again on the cover album Poison'd in 2007.
At the start of "Nothin' But a Good Time" music video, Poison's rendition of "Rock and Roll All Nite" is heard on the radio.Bret Michaels – lead vocals; rhythm guitar
Bobby Dall – bass guitar
Rikki Rockett – drums; percussion
C.C. DeVille – lead guitar