Hide Your Heart
by Kiss

Album: Hot In The Shade (1989)
Charted: 59 66
Play Video

Songfacts®:

  • Kiss wrote a lot of their own material, but they got some help on "Hide Your Heart," which two Songwriting Hall Of Famers, Holly Knight and Desmond Child, wrote with Paul Stanley. It was ready in 1987 for the Kiss album Crazy Nights, but the band decided not to use it, so Stanley shopped it around. Bonnie Tyler was the first to record the song, releasing it as the title track to her 1988 album. In 1989, Molly Hatchet released their version, and later that year, Kiss included it on their album Hot In The Shade and released it as a single. Robin Beck and Ace Frehley, who was not part of Kiss at the time, also issued versions that year, bringing the number of artist to record the song to five in just a two-year span.
  • The song is a murder ballad, telling the story of Rosa, her lover Tito, and her suitor, Johnny. Tito is a kingpin, but Johnny goes after Rosa anyway - despite the plea "better hide your heart" - and wins her over. Tito gets revenge by shooting Johnny, who dies in Rosa's arms. The tale of romance amid gang violence is reminiscent of West Side Story.
  • Desmond Child wrote most of the lyric, which is typical of his story-telling style where he often names the characters - he did something similar on the Bon Jovi song "Livin' on a Prayer." Explaining how the song came together, Holly Knight said in a Songfacts interview: "That was the first song I wrote with Paul Stanley. I've written four now but that was the first. He came over to my apartment where my studio was and he wanted to write something with me. We were just jamming. He had a guitar and I had a keyboard and I started playing the melody, which became the chorus, including the refrain.

    He taped it and then he left. Our plan was to finish writing it at another time. He ended up writing it and finishing it with Desmond Child, so I have nothing to do with the lyrics. Those lyrics are not mine. The music, the melody, and the hook are mine, but the lyrics aren't."
  • Paul Stanley sang lead on this one. He and Gene Simmons typically sang the songs they wrote with Kiss.
  • Marty Callner directed the music video, which mixes performance footage (this was during the group's unmasked era, so we see their faces) with scenes of the story playing out - we see Tito shoot Johnny on the rooftop. There is a message at the beginning of the video: "In New York & LA there are over 80,000 gang members. Last year there were more than 600 deaths related to gang violence."

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