KISS - Beth

KISS - Beth

‘Beth’ is a song by American rock band Kiss, originally released on their 1976 album Destroyer. The song features drummer Peter Criss on lead vocals, and while he's gotten credit for writing it because he brought the demo to Kiss, "Beth" was written primarily by Stan Penridge and producer Bob Ezrin. Casablanca Records released it as a single in August 1976, after it was released as the B-side of "Detroit Rock City". ‘Beth’ is Kiss's biggest commercial hit in the United States; it reached #7 on the Billboard Hot 100, received a Gold Record certification from the RIAA. In 2003, "Beth" ranked #3 in VH1's 25 Greatest Power Ballads.

During drummer Peter Criss's time in the band Chelsea, he and the group's guitarist Stan Penridge decided to write a song that mocked a woman named Becky, the wife of their bandmate, Mike Brand. According to Criss, she regularly called the group during rehearsals to ask when her husband would come home, and this gave them the idea of composing the first verse of the song: "Beck, I hear you callin', but I can't come home right now. Me and the boys are playin', and we just can't find the sound". Criss has said he composed the song for his first wife, Lydia.


By 1975, Kiss had released three studio albums, in which Criss's compositional contributions were minimal; the only track on which he appeared credited was the instrumental track "Love Theme from Kiss", written by the four members of the band and included on their self-titled debut. Criss assumed the role of vocalist in other songs created by his bandmates; however, for Destroyer, Criss set himself the goal of adding one of his own compositions. During a limousine ride, Criss sang an uptempo version of the demo, "Beck", for Simmons and Stanley, assuming they would not be interested in including a sentimental ballad on the album. Simmons and Stanley suggested that he sing it to producer Bob Ezrin, who agreed to record it and assured him that it would be a success. Ezrin's decision was motivated by the fact that the band's other songs were primarily about sex, and he believed that "Beck" was a love song that "everyone would relate to".

In his autobiography, Simmons recounted that "I have never seen [Criss] compose a single song. Peter might have contributed a line or two of the lyrics, but after listening to Penridge's original demo, it's clear who made the original song". In a 2014 interview for Rolling Stone, Paul Stanley agreed with Simmons's assessment that Penridge was the main writer, and he commented that Criss had nothing to do with the composition of "Beth", adding that "if you write one hit, you should be able to write two". Criss, in his defense, has asserted that Stanley was jealous because "he is the main vocalist of a group in which he did not write the greatest success. That's his problem. They hate the fact that I was the songwriter of a hit and won the People's Choice".

Casablanca Records released ‘Beth’ in August 1976 as Destroyer's fourth single. The album, released on March 4, peaked at #11 on the Billboard 200, but quickly began to decline. Its first two singles, ‘Shout It Out Loud’ and ‘Flaming Youth, failed to match ‘Rock and Roll All Nite’ - at that time the group's most successful song in the United States. The impact of the song boosted Destroyer's sales and enabled the album to go platinum. ‘Beth’ received the award for Favorite Song at the 1977 People's Choice Awards.

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Label – Casablanca Records
Songwriters – Peter Criss, Bob Ezrin, Stan Penridge
Producer – Bob Ezrin


[Verse 1]
Beth, I hear you calling
But I can't come home right now
Me and the boys are playing
And we just can't find the sound
Just a few more hours
And I'll be right home to you
I think I hear them calling
Oh, Beth, what can I do? Beth, what can I do?
[Verse 2]
You say you feel so empty
That our house just ain't a home
And I'm always somewhere else
And you're always there alone
Just a few more hours
And I'll be right home to you
I think I hear them calling
Oh, Beth, what can I do? Beth, what can I do?
[Instrumental break 1:30-2:06]
Beth, I know you're lonely
And I hope you'll be alright
'Cause me and the boys will be playing
All night
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