The KISS Song That Made Peter Criss’ Voice Immortal For Rock History
Peter Criss rose to prominence as the original drummer and vocalist of KISS during the 1970s. As you know, the band members are famous for their face paint and flamboyant stage outfits. Therefore, Criss created the favored character, the Catman, for his stage persona in the band. He appeared on eight KISS albums during his stint with the band and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to signify his successful tenure.
Although he is mainly known for his drumming skills, Peter Criss also contributed to several songs like ‘Black Diamond’ and ‘Hard Luck Woman’ as the lead singer. The most popular song he appeared on vocals is ‘Beth,’ which he also co-wrote. The song became almost synonymous with him over the years, and his terrific performance still holds a special place in many fans’ hearts.
What Makes ‘Beth’ A Signature Song Of Peter Criss?
The song’s original name was ‘Beck,’ and it was composed by Peter Criss and his friend Stan Penridge, during their time in Chelsea, which was Criss’ pre-KISS band. They wrote it as a mocking song about the wife of one of their bandmates who constantly called and interrupted the band’s rehearsals. However, they never released it with Chelsea, and Criss recalled that song during his time in KISS. The rocker showed it to the producer, Bob Ezrin, to get his opinion on whether they could use it maybe in one of the band’s albums.
Ezrin thought it could be better if they changed the title to ‘Beth’ to avoid confusion with Jeff Beck. They also made some changes to the lyrics and the song’s melody. When the piece was finally completed, Peter Criss recorded the vocals at the studio, and the track was also backed up by the contribution of the New York Philharmonic orchestra. The song was a departure from the band’s usual sound, and it was also the only one that didn’t have any instrumentals from any band member.
‘Beth’ was released as a part of the band’s fourth studio album, ‘Destroyer,’ in 1976. When the track was sent out to the radio stations, it immediately became one of the most requested songs by the listeners. The song’s increasing popularity also escalated the sales of the album. Thus, ‘Destroyer’ became the band’s first album to be certified platinum due to the colossal impact of ‘Beth.’
The KISS members didn’t expect the track to become a hit, but it peaked at No. 7 on the Billboard Hot 100, the best in the band’s career. Peter Criss mostly performed the KISS’ biggest career hit alone on stage, and it is generally regarded as his most outstanding signature song. He delivered an incredible performance during the recording sessions and the following live performances, which made his voice immortal for the history of rock.
You can listen to ‘Beth’ below.