Kiss is an American hard 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 (lead vocals and rhythm guitar), Simmons (vocals and bass guitar), Ace Frehley (lead guitar and vocals) and Peter 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.
Kiss have typically been classified under the genres of hard rock and heavy metal. Most of their '70s albums, particularly the first six released between 1974 and 1977 as well as 1982's Creatures of the Night, featured a hard rock or traditional heavy metal style. Their music is described as "a commercially potent mix of anthemic, fist-pounding hard rock, driven by sleek hooks and ballads powered by loud guitars, cloying melodies, and sweeping strings. It was a sound that laid the groundwork for both arena rock and the pop-metal that dominated rock in the late '80s."