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Detroit Rock City by Kiss

Album: DestroyerReleased: 1976
  • Breaking away from their typical partying-style lyrics, Bob Ezrin and Kiss' Paul Stanley wrote this song about a young fan who was killed in a car accident on his way to a Kiss concert. The loud, driving beat of the music belies the seriousness of the lyrics. Stanley said: "On a previous tour somebody had gotten hit by a car and killed outside the arena. I remember thinking how weird it is that 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 of the lyric."
  • Although the album was a great success, this song as a single did not even chart in the US. Released as the "A" side to "Beth," a Peter Criss ballad, "Beth" is the song that became popular among the mainstream, and the single was re-released with "Beth" as Side A.
  • This song is a staple at Kiss concerts, and is a great fan favorite. It was placed at Number 6 on VH1's Greatest Metal Songs.
  • The Mighty Mighty Bosstones did a unique Ska cover of this song on 1994's Kiss My Ass: Classic Kiss Regrooved, a collection of Kiss songs remade by various artists.
  • The city of Detroit is located in Michigan, and is where music popularly known as "Motown" was born.
  • The voice of the newscaster at the beginning is provided by Gene Simmons (the band's bassist). (thanks, Eddie - Acton, ME)
  • The movie Detroit Rock City, which was produced by Gene Simmons, was released in 1999. Set in 1978, the film is about a group of kids from Detroit trying desperately to attend a sold-out Kiss show in Detroit. (thanks, lee - brigg, England)
  • The Oregon swing band Cherry Poppin' Daddies remade this song as "Detroit Swing City." (thanks, Dylan - Port Orange, FL)
  • Paul Blart (Kevin James) plays this on the game Rock Band in the 2009 movie Paul Blart: Mall Cop.
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Comments: 12

Favorite KISS song. after i heard the actual seriousness, it just made me like the song more. I love KISS and dont like the people who say that all KISS is is over-rated people in make-up and high-heels, u know what, take away all that, they still make great songs and have mad skill.Jonathan - Las Vegas, Nv
I love the song and the movie, The movie is really funnyLuke - Dayton, Oh
There are a LOT of ignorant people in this world!Axeman - Melbourne, Australia
The opening riff for this song came from the song ACROBAT, which later became LOVE THEME FROM KISS, on the first album. For those that have the KISS box set, listen to the song ACROBAT and you'll hear what is the influence for the DETROIT ROCK CITY opening riff.
Also, Detroit is home of the GREATEST NHL hockey team....GO RED WINGS. That is NOT negotiable!!!!
Jason - Denver, Co
Sorry, Jim, but the "Spanish interlude" was Bob Ezrin's idea and he wrote it, according to an interview with Ezrin by David Konow, author of Bang Your Head: The Rise and Fall of Heavy Metal. It wouldn't surprise me, however, if Simmons had a strong part in it (or at least takes some credit for it).Andrew - San Diego, Ca, Ca
It is the best opening song for a concert in the history of rock. Powerful!Terry - Chicago, Il
i love this song even though the meaning of this song this song is about a kissfan who died when they were on the way to a kiss concertMichelle - Maplewood, Mn
If it was ANY KISS song, it would be Detroit Rock CityKrista - Elyria, Oh
Gene Simmons also came up with the idea for the "Spanish" type guitar solo. The others though he was crazy, but when he played it for them, it fit right in. He also said his bass playing duing the breaks in the verse were influenced by the song "Shaft"Jim - Indio, Ca
Title of a movie. Also, I had no idea of the song's serious content.Johnny - Los Angeles, Ca
Perfect example of really grim lyrics that almost always go unnoticed because the music is so upbeat.Clint - Trenton, Oh
i can't belive no one comented this! It's an incredible song that even had a movie about it! Any kiss fan would agree, this song kicks ass!Joe - Bellingham, Wa