Kiss (often stylized as KISS) is an American rock band formed in New York City in January 1973 by Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons, Peter Criss, and Ace Frehley. Well known for its members’ face paint and stage outfits, the group rose to prominence in the mid-to-late 1970s with their elaborate live performances, which featured fire breathing, blood-spitting, smoking guitars, shooting rockets, levitating drum kits, and pyrotechnics. The band has gone through several lineup changes, with Stanley and Simmons the only remaining original members. The original and best-known lineup consisted of Stanley (vocals and rhythm guitar), Simmons (vocals and bass), Frehley (lead guitar and vocals), and Criss (drums and vocals).
With their make-up and costumes, they took on the personae of comic book-style characters: The Starchild (Stanley), The Demon (Simmons), The Spaceman or Space Ace (Frehley), and The Catman (Criss). Due to creative differences, both Criss and Frehley had departed the group by 1982.
In 1983, Kiss began performing without makeup and costumes, thinking that it was time to leave the makeup behind. The band accordingly experienced a minor commercial resurgence, and their music videos received regular airplay on MTV. Drummer Eric Carr, who had replaced Criss in 1980, died in 1991 of heart cancer and was replaced by Eric Singer. In response to a wave of Kiss nostalgia in the mid-1990s, the band announced a reunion of the original lineup in 1996, which also saw the return of their makeup and stage costumes. The resulting Alive/Worldwide Tour was commercially successful. Criss and Frehley have both since left the band again and have been replaced by Singer and Tommy Thayer, respectively. The band have continued with their original stage makeup, with Singer and Thayer using the original Catman and Space Ace makeup, respectively.
Kiss is one of the best-selling bands in the history of rock music, having sold more than 75 million records worldwide, including 21 million RIAA-certified albums. On April 10, 2014, Kiss was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.