Detroit Rock City

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"Detroit Rock City"
Detroit Rock City.jpg
Single by Kiss
from the album Destroyer
B-side "Beth"
Released July 28, 1976
Format 7"
Recorded Record Plant Studios,
New York City: 1976
Genre Hard rock[1]
Length 5:17 (album version)
2:58 (single version)
3:35 (Double Platinum version)
Label Casablanca
Songwriter(s) Paul Stanley, Bob Ezrin
Producer(s) Bob Ezrin
Kiss singles chronology
"Flaming Youth" / "God of Thunder"
"Detroit Rock City" / "Beth"
"Beth" / "Detroit Rock City"
"Flaming Youth"/"God of Thunder"
"Detroit Rock City"/"Beth"
"Beth"/"Detroit Rock City"

"Detroit Rock City" is a song by the American hard rock group Kiss featured on their 1976 album, Destroyer. The song was written by Paul Stanley and producer Bob Ezrin.

Song information[edit]

The song, recorded and released as a single in 1976, was the third single from Kiss's album Destroyer and was planned to be their last in support of the album. As a single, it did poorly in sales and radio play (other than in Detroit), and failed to chart in the U.S. even though it would prove to be a fan favorite. It came as a surprise that the B-side "Beth", a ballad written and sung by drummer Peter Criss, wound up catching on in different markets in the United States, so the single was reissued with "Beth" as the A-side and "Detroit Rock City" as the B-side.

While the song briefly references Detroit, the real-life incident which inspired the lyric evidently did not take place there. "I had the basic riff of the song, the 'Get up, get down' part," Stanley recalls, "but I didn't know what the song was about except it was about Detroit. And then I remembered on the previous tour, I think it was in Charlotte, somebody had gotten hit by a car and killed outside the arena. I remember thinking how weird it is that people's lives end so quickly. People can be on their way to something that's really a party and a celebration of being alive and die in the process of doing it. So that became the basis for the lyric."[2]

On Destroyer, the song segues into "King of the Night Time World", via the sounds of a car crash. The songs were played together on the Destroyer tour.

During the Love Gun/Alive II tour, Stanley changed the lyric, "I know I'm gonna die, why?" to "I know I'm gonna die, and I don't care!" The song was #6 on VH1's 40 Greatest Metal Songs and is featured on the album Heavy Metal – The First 20 Years. "Detroit Rock City" was based on an earlier song that Kiss performed only in concert called "Acrobat".

Popular culture[edit]

Other versions[edit]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Pollock, Bruce (2005). The 7500 Most Important Songs for the Rock and Roll Era (2nd ed.). Routledge. p. 75. ISBN 0-415-97073-3. Anthemic hard rocker, B-side of "Beth," and later as the subject of a movie which Marshall Mathers undoubtedly snuck into for free. 
  2. ^ Leaf, David and Ken Sharp, KISS: Behind the Mask - The Official Authorized Biography