WCSX Classic Cuts
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.”
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.”