Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Kiss's Beth

Beth, I hear you callin'
But I can't come home right now
Me and the boys are playin'
And we just can't find the sound
Just a few more hours
And I'll be right home to you
I think I hear them callin'
Oh, Beth what can I do
Beth what can I do

You say you feel so empty
That our house just ain't a home
And I'm always somewhere else
And you're always there alone

Just a few more hours
And I'll be right home to you
I think I hear them callin'
Oh, Beth what can I do
Beth what can I do

Beth, I know you're lonely
And I hope you'll be alright
'Cause me and the boys will be playin'
All night

'Beth' was penned by Kiss's drummer, Peter Criss, along with Stan Penridge, while both were still a members of Chelsea, a NY based band that disbanded after their first album. The song was initially written apparently as an insult to Rebecca, the wife of guitarist Mike Brand and, according to Criss, a notorious hypochondriac, who would frequently interrupt recording sessions and rehearsals. Apparently, Criss also commented that the song also reflects Criss's wife Lydia's lamentations while Criss was on tour but this is unconfirmed.

Several years later, when Destroyer producer Bob Ezrin was presented with the song, he re-wrote the lyrics and suggested the piano and orchestra. Gone was the caustic (and reportedly profane) diatribe against an annoying woman. What it became was a sweet ballad about missing a loved one while on the road; telling her that even though you're not there and have a job to do, you're still thinking about her. However, it was Gene Simmons who suggested a change in title to "Beth", presumably to be more recognizable as a female name. There is another version of this story, that Simmons was concerned about fans believing it was about English rock guitarist Jeff Beck or, worse yet, misconstrued as a gay love song about the guitarist.

Beth was originally released on their 1976 album, Destroyer and although being a ballad, not typical of their sound, it is their highest-charting single, reaching #7 on Billboard's American charts. It is one of only two gold selling singles for the band (the other being 1979's "I Was Made for Lovin' You"), and their first of two Top Ten singles (along with 1990's "Forever", #8).

The lyrics are tender and kind and the tune complements it perfectly. It is so easy to listen to it and be lost in it. As if it's a tune that's in our blood that's been forgotten in time. Its a song to which I could smile my brightest, let the tears flow in abandon or just be my calmest. Like a broken record. Playing over and over and over again. It's a song to which I could be still in time.

Teary beautiful, this.

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