Certain Songs #878: Kiss – “Rock and Roll All Nite (Live)”

Album: Alive!
Year: 1975

I’m not really a Kiss fan.

I wasn’t one of those guys who joined the Kiss Army or flocked to their concerts or bought the comic book that was made with their blood or even watched that TV show they did. And while Love Gun was the only Kiss album I ever bought (and it was totally overshadowed by my purchase of Foghat Live on the same day), it would have never even occurred to me paint the cover of that album all over a wall of my bedroom the way that one of my friends did.

When a stoner dude in high school in high school told me in all sincerity that Kiss was doing exactly what The Beatles would have been doing had they only stayed together, I’m pretty sure my eyes rolled so far back in my head that I ended up having to get a new pair of glasses. And I’ve often wondered what that dude meant: did he really think that The Beatles would suddenly cover their faces with Kabuki makeup and adopt personas like “bat lizard” and “space alien” and “cat woman” or whatever? Or did he think they would start writing glam-rock pop songs? Alas, I never knew, as I’m sure my incredulity was so strong he figured I was never going to understand anyways.

That said, in the mid-1970s, Kiss had to be doing something right, didn’t they? It wasn’t all flash, sex puns and makeup, was it? And yeah, I can report that “Rock and Roll All Nite” (bonus points for the proper spelling of “nite,”) sounded pretty fucking great to my 12-year-old ears as it came blasting out of my AM speakers or my friend Craig’s stereo during the summer of 1975. It was inescapable, and that was fine.

Like a lot of hard rock singles that came out just as puberty was rearing its ugly head — “The Boys Are Back in Town,” “Walk This Way” “We’re an American Band” — “Rock and Roll All Night” offered an incredibly appealing vision of the freedom of being an adult that I was just aching to experience.

And the fact remains that “Rock and Roll All Nite” is a pretty great glam pop song — especially the live (or, ahem, “live”) version — with an absolutely irresistible shout-it-out-loud chorus that always circles back to emphasizing that it’s “I” who wants to rock and roll all nite and party everyday. They’re not even telling you that you have to. Rock and rolling all night and partying everyday is not a command, it’s a choice. You can do whatever you want but I’ve made my choice: to rock and roll all nite and party every day.

Some choice, right? Who wouldn’t want to rock and roll all night and party every day? I mean, it’s 40 years later, and I still want to do that. The problem is that I’ve never quite figured out the logistics. And believe me, from the moment I heard this tune, I spent a lot of time puzzling out exactly how to rock and roll all night while partying every day. Some times I rock and rolled all night, and other times I partied every day. But almost never both. Almost, as there were definitely periods in the late 1980s and early 90s when I rock and rolled all night while partying every day. Or so people tell me.

Also: I’m pretty sure that this song was the first time I encountered “party” as a verb. Or at least it was the first time it stuck. And this brings up a thing I’ve always wondered: when exactly did “party” become a verb? I feel like it’s a relatively recent thing. And by “recent,” I obviously mean early 1970s. And in fact, was it Kiss? Did Kiss coin using “party” as a verb? If so, the verbizing (verbization?) of “party” the single greatest contribution the Kiss ever made to Western Civilization.

I’m sure I could google “party as a verb” and discover that Oscar Wilde or Mark Twain or St. Thomas Aquinas was the first person to use it that way, but even so, there’s no way they used it as well as Kiss did. Which is good enough for me.

“Rock and Roll All Nite (Live)”

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One Response to “Certain Songs #878: Kiss – “Rock and Roll All Nite (Live)””

  1. Before this song, there was only one option: rock around the clock.

    That’s Kiss’s true innovation. They gave the world a better way to partition time. And a better way to easily determine whether it’s day or night. If you’re partying its daytime. If you’re rock and rolling it’s nighttime.

    One could argue that the impact of this song is as significant as the introduction of time zones.