Kiss is an American rock band formed in New York City in January 1973. Easily identified by its members' face paint and flamboyant stage outfits, the group rose to prominence in the mid-1970s on the basis of their elaborate live performances, which featured fire breathing, blood spitting, smoking guitars, and pyrotechnics. Kiss has been awarded 24 gold albums to date. The band has sold over 19 million records in the United States and their worldwide sales exceeded 100 million albums.
The lineup of Paul Stanley (vocals and rhythm guitar), Gene Simmons (vocals and bass guitar), Ace Frehley (lead guitar and vocals), and Peter Criss (drums, percussion and vocals) is the most successful and identifiable. With their makeup and costumes, they took on the personae of comic book-style characters: The Demon (Simmons), Starchild (Stanley), Spaceman (Frehley), and Catman (Criss). The band explains that the fans were the ones who ultimately chose their makeup designs. The "Demon" makeup reflected Simmons's cynicism and dark elements, as well as his love for comic books. Paul Stanley became the "Starchild" due to his tendency to be referred to as the "starry-eyed lover" and "hopeless romantic." Ace Frehley's "Spaceman" makeup was a reflection of him wanting to go for a ride in a space ship and supposedly being from another planet. Peter Criss's "Catman" makeup was in accordance with the belief that Criss had nine lives due to his rough childhood in Brooklyn. Due to creative differences, both Criss and Frehley were out of the group by 1982. The band's commercial fortunes had also waned considerably by that point.
Kiss was named by VH1 as 10th on their list of the '100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock'. On 23 September 2009, Kiss was nominated for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, ten years after becoming eligible but on December 15th 2009 it was announced that KISS did not make it into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.