1968: * Paul Stanley & Gene Simmons meet for the first time through mutual friend Stephen Coronel. They instantly do not like each other due to an ego vibe. 1971: * After consistent chance meetings through each other's working bands, Paul & Gene decide to put together a new group, also including friend Steve Coronel on guitar (later replaced by Ron Leejack), plus drummer Tony Zarella and keyboardist Brook Ostrander. The group is named Wicked Lester. 1972: * Wicked Lester secures a record deal with Epic Records. They record their first album, which never sees the light of day (except for boot- legs). * After frustration, Paul & Gene decide to fire the rest of Wicked Lester and put together a more visual band. They find an ad in "Rolling Stone" magazine that reads "drummer available...willing to do anything to make it." Gene answers the ad and invites Peter Criss to meet he and Paul at Electric Lady Studios the next day. * After a dismal rehearsal, the threesome give it a second try and decide to stick together and rehearse for a few months before adding a lead guitarist. They rehearse at a loft on 23rd Street in New York City. * Paul places an ad for a guitarist in the "Village Voice" in December. 1973: * After at least 50 guitarists, Ace Frehley (who makes quite an impression on Paul, Gene & Peter by his "spaced out" appearance) is hired as the band's new lead guitarist. * The new band is dubbed KISS, after a joke made by Paul. * The band instinctively begins to work with makeup, developing characters based on their own personalities. * After a month of hard rehearsing, Kiss plays their first show on January 30 at a club called "Popcorn" (later the Coventry) in Queens, NY. Only 3 people are in attendance. The club becomes a regular spot for Kiss concerts throughout the year. * The band acquires recording time at Electric Lady Studios and records a five song demo tape produced by Eddie Kramer. The tape includes: "Deuce," "Cold Gin," "Strutter," "Watchin' You" and "Black Diamond. * Kiss rent out the Hotel Diplomat in New York City for management showcases. During one performance, they catch the attention of small time television producer Bill Aucoin. Aucoin offers Kiss a management deal and gets the band a recording contract with new label Casablanca within two weeks. * Kiss, with the aid of Aucoin, begin toying around with heavy theatrics, including fire-breathing, blood spitting, and the famous candelabra and six foot logo. * Kiss enters Bell Sound Studios in New York (no longer in business, by the way) in October to begin work on their first album, produced by Kenny Kerner and Richie Wise (Kerner is responsible for discovering Kiss's promo package and getting Casablanca president Neil Bogart to offer them a contract). * Kiss opens a quadruple bill at the New York Academy of Music (later the Palladium) on New Year's Eve which also features Blue Oyster Cult, Iggy Pop & the Stooges, and Teenage Lust. It's this show where Gene first catches his hair on fire. 1974: * Kiss's self titled debut album is released on February 21. It goes on to peak at #87 on the American Billboard album chart and eventually attains gold status. * On the same day as the album's release, Kiss gets their first television exposure on Dick Clark's In Concert program. They perform "Nothin' to Lose," "Firehouse" and "Black Diamond." * "Nothin' to Lose" is released as the album's first single. * Kiss and Casablanca stage a kissing contest in promotion for the album. * Kiss try to reach a wider audience by appearing on a mid afternoon housewife oriented talk show, the Mike Douglas Show. Gene gives an interview based on his demon character and the band performs "Firehouse." * Kiss begins a North American tour, hitting obscure places, such as Alaska. They open for acts such as Savoy Brown, Manfred Mann and Aerosmith. * At the request of Neil Bogart, Kiss reluctantly enters the studio to cut a cover of "Kissin' Time," originally recorded by Bobby Rydell in 1959. The single reaches #83 on the Billboard Hot 100 and the song is added to the second side of the album. * "Strutter" is released as the album's third single. * Kiss travels to Los Angeles to record their second LP, again with Kenny Kerner and Richie Wise producing. * "Hotter Than Hell" is released in November. It peaks at #100 on the Billboard charts. It ultimately reaches gold status. * Kiss continue to tour America. They build a huge following in Detroit, MI and Kiss headlines for the first time in that city at the Michigan Palace. 1975: * "Let Me Go Rock 'n Roll" is released as "Hotter Than Hell"'s only single. It fails to reach the charts. * After sales for "Hotter Than Hell" have dwindled, Kiss is pulled off the road to enter the studio to begin work on their third album. Neil Bogart takes over the production duties. * "Dressed to Kill" is released in March. It's the first Kiss album to break the Billboard Top 40 on the album chart, peaking at #32. It later goes gold. * Kiss films their first ever promotional video clips for the songs "C'mon and Love Me" and "Rock and Roll All Nite." * Rock and Roll All Nite" is released as the album's first single. It peaks at #68 on the Billboard Hot 100. * Kiss supports Black Sabbath for a few dates. * "C'mon and Love Me" is released as a single. It fails to chart. * Kiss builds up their following enough to begin headlining small arenas and large theatres. * Casablanca and the band decide to record some dates for a double live album. Shows at Wildwood, NJ, Davenport, IA, Cleveland, OH and Detroit, MI are recorded. The tapes are produced by Eddie Kramer. * "Alive" is released in September and instantly becomes a big seller. * The live version of "Rock and Roll All Nite" is released as a single and becomes Kiss's first big radio hit. It peaks at #12 on the Billboard Hot 100. * Kiss begins a headlining North American arena tour. * "Alive" is the first Kiss album to reach gold status. * Kiss begins pre-production for their fifth album, with Alice Cooper/ Pink Floyd producer Bob Ezrin. * Kiss headlines their first New York arena concert on New Year's Eve at Nassau Coliseum. Opening is Blue Oyster Cult, who Kiss opened for on New Year's Eve, 1973. 1976: * "Alive" is one of the first albums to ever reach platinum status (The award is new to recording industry that year). The album ultimately goes quadruple platinum. * The live version of "Strutter" is released as a single, but fails to chart. * Kiss travels to Cadillac, MI to support a high school football team, which went on to a championship due to Kiss music being used as a pregame ritual. A Kiss parade is put on, and the band performs a free concert at the high school auditorium. * Coming off the road, Kiss continues work on their fifth album. The band decides to stretch out and incorporate different sounds on the album, including strings and choirs. * "Destroyer" is released in March. It peaks at #11 on the Billboard chart. The album ships gold to the stores. Reviews are mixed, some fans are alienated at the new sound. * "Shout it Out Loud" is released as the first single. It reaches #31 on the Hot 100. * The band travels to Europe for the first time. They have yet to develop the "Destroyer" costumes and stage show. * Kiss returns home and begins a fresh new North American stadium tour, with a new stage, including the original "Frankenstein" lightning machine. The effect is too costly and dangerous to continue to use and it's only seen on a handful of dates. * "Flaming Youth" is released as a single. It peaks at #74. * A special triple album, entitled "The Originals" is released in limited form. It repackages the first three Kiss albums. It's also the first Kiss album to incorporate extra "goodies" in 8X10 photo cards, a booklet and a sticker. * Kiss headlines Anaheim Stadium in California. The show becomes a big bootleg seller. * Due to the mixed reaction of the album, "Destroyer" quickly begins to fall off the charts. In efforts to save it, "Detroit Rock City" is released as a single. The flipside is "Beth." * DJs begin to play "Beth" instead of "Detroit Rock City." Instant positive reviews occur. * The single becomes Kiss's only double sided chart hit. "Detroit Rock City" peaks at #44. "Beth" goes on to become Kiss's first top ten hit, peaking at #7 and reaches gold status. * Due to the single's success, "Destroyer" reaches Platinum. It eventually goes triple platinum. * Kiss begin work on their next album, with Eddie Kramer producing. They rent out an empty theater in Nanuet, NY. * Kiss perform on the Paul Lynde Halloween Special. They play lip synched versions of "Detroit Rock City," "Beth" and "King of the Night Time World." The exposure creates a new, younger fan base. * "Rock and Roll Over" is released in November. It's the first Kiss album to ship platinum to the stores. It goes on to reach double platinum status. * Hard Luck Woman" is released as the album's first single. It peaks at #15 on the Hot 100. * The band films three promotional film clips for "Hard Luck Woman," "I Want You" and "Love 'Em and Leave 'Em." They get shown on Don Kirchner's Rock Concert. 1977: * Kiss continues to tour with the "Destroyer" stage show. * Kiss headline Madison Square Garden in New York City for the first time in February. The show sells out so quickly, that a show at nearby Nassau Coliseum is added. * "Calling Dr. Love" is released as a single. It peaks at #16 on the Hot 100. * "Beth" wins the People's Choice Award for best original single of 1976. * Kiss travel to upstate New York to donate blood to the red ink used for the band's first Marvel comic book. Kiss is the first rock band to be put into comic book form. Also, a heavy merchandising campaign begins. * Kiss travel to Japan for the first time. The reaction there is over- whelming to the band, identical to the reaction the Beatles had upon their arrival in America. Kiss uses a brand new stage show for the Japanese performances. * Kiss records the Tokyo performances for a tentative live album, which never surfaces. One of the shows is filmed for a future HBO special. * Kiss returns home and begins work on their seventh album, again with Eddie Kramer producing. * "Love Gun" is released in June. The album ships gold and peaks at #4 on the Billboard Charts. It eventually reaches triple platinum status. * The Kiss Marvel comic book is released the same day as the "Love Gun" album. * "Christine Sixteen" is released as the album's first single. It reaches #25 on the Hot 100. * The band goes back on tour, using the stage used for the Japanese tour. New outfits are incorporated. * Kiss dolls are released to the public by Meco Co. * "Love Gun" is released as a single. It reaches #61 on the Billboard Hot 100. * New merchandise, such as Kiss makeup kits, radios, toy guitars, and bubble gum cards are released to the public. * Kiss is voted top band in the annual Gallup Poll. They win it for three years straight. * Kiss records all three sold out concerts at the Los Angeles Forum for the band's second live album. * The band records five new studio tracks at the Capitol Theater in Passaic, NJ. Ace is absent for the majority of the recordings. Kiss friend Bob Kulick fills in for the lead guitar solos. Rick Derringer ("Rock 'n Roll Hoochie Koo") contributes a solo to "All American Man." * "Alive II" is released in November. It ships platinum and reaches #7 on the Billboard charts. It ultimately reaches triple platinum status. * The live version of "Shout it Out Loud" is released as a single. It reaches # 54 on the Hot 100. 1978: * Kiss travels to Japan for the second time. * "Rocket Ride" is released as a single. It reaches #39 on the Hot 100. * Kiss begins filming their first ever movie to be shown on NBC TV. During the filming, both Peter and Ace threaten to quit. * Kiss takes a lengthy break and decide to record separate solo albums. * A two record set greatest hits album, titled "Double Platinum" is released. It reaches #22 on the Billboard charts and goes platinum. * The band is featured on an in depth NBC special titled "Land of Hype and Glory." * The four separate solo albums are released in September. They all have similar packaging with covers painted by Eraldo Carugati. A major marketing campaign goes into effect. The albums are overshipped, over a million and a half of each record is sent to the stores. Although the albums all reach platinum, TONS of returns are sent back to Casablanca. A lot of money is lost from the albums. Gene's album reaches #22, Paul's reaches #40, Peter's reaches #43 and Ace's reaches #26. * The second Kiss Marvel Comic is released. * "Radioactive" is released as Gene's single, reaching #47. "Hold Me Touch Me" is released off Paul's album, reaching #46. "New York Groove" is released from Ace's album, reaching #13. "You Matter to Me" and "Don't You Let Me Down" are the two singles released off Peter's album, but both fail to chart. * Kiss's TV movie "Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park" is shown on Halloween night. It becomes the second most watched television special on NBC that year (right behind "Shogun"). 1979: * Kiss regroups to begin work on their next album. At the request of Peter, his solo album producer Vini Poncia is brought in to work with them on the record. * Peter is involved in a near fatal car accident and is unable to play on most of the new album. Session drummer and personal friend of Ace Frehley, Anton Fig is brought in to fill in for Peter. * "Dynasty" is released in May. It reaches #9 on the Billboard charts and goes on to become double platinum. * I Was Made for Lovin' You" is released as the album's first single. It becomes a huge world wide hit. It reaches #11 on the American Billboard charts and goes gold. It reaches #1 in Holland. A special 8 minute disco remix is put together and released on 12" vinyl. * Plans for a third Marvel comic, titled "The Return of Kiss" are brought up, but the band pulls out due to Marvel wanting to own the Kiss characters and copyrights. * Kiss begins a new North American tour with very elaborate new costumes. Ticket sales begin to stagnate. * Personal problems begin to effect Peter's playing. He causes the band to perform rather poorly on selected dates. * "Sure Know Something" is released as a single. It peaks at #47 on the Billboard charts. * The band is interviewed on Halloween night by Tom Snyder for his "Tomorrow" show. It becomes the most famous Kiss interview ever, due to a rare overly outgoing performance by Ace, but insiders will notice personal problems occurring within the band. * Peter performs his final show with Kiss in November.