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.

The song is one of the bands most popular and is a classic rock staple. It is also seen as one of the more technical songs musically in the band's canon. The guitar solo is famous for its Flamenco style and being a duet between Stanley and Ace Frehley, it has since been a large influence on rock music and heavy metal, in particular Iron Maiden and Pantera.

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