BEVERLY HILLS, CA - APRIL 15: Musicians Gene Simmons (L) and Tommy Thayer of KISS perform onstage during the 23rd Annual Race To Erase MS Gala at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on April 15, 2016 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images for Race To Erase MS)

WCSX Classic Cuts

KISS: “Beth”

The Hook: Written as a ballad by drummer Peter Criss while in his previous band, he speeded it up the first time he sang it for Gene Simmons, “because he never would have understood it the original way I wanted it.”

Album: Destroyer

Year: 1976

Writers: Peter Criss, Stan Penridge and Bob Ezrin

Stats: KISS’s biggest pop chart hit and first gold single, it peaked at number-seven on the Billboard Hot 100

Background: “Beth” had been written before KISS even existed. Drummer Peter Criss got the idea while riding a train to a rehearsal of his previous band, Chelsea. He finished writing it with one of that band’s members, though producer Bob Ezrin also received a credit for his later contributions. Criss recalls the first time he ever sang it for a member of KISS.

Original KISS drummer Peter Criss on the first time he sang “Beth” to another member of the band. OC:…with it. :25

“I sang it to Gene in a limo and I had to speed it up, because he never would have understood it the original way I wanted it. So I played it on his leg, like, this drum thing, so it was like, ‘Beth what can I do, bom bom bah.’ So I made it heavy metal ‘Beth.’ But I knew if we got the right producer, it would be done as a ballad, like it was written. And Ezrin had that insight — thank God he did it. Played piano on it also, so Bobby had a lot to do with it.”

Kiss - Beth - Live

Beth, 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 Just a few more hours And I'll be right home to you I think I hear them callin' Oh, Beth what can I do Beth