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KISS Vs. Whitesnake

Picture it: Dayton, Ohio, yesterday. My husband and I are driving down the road and the KISS song "Reason to Live" comes on the satellite radio. I didn't think much of it, but Eric must have been listening intently because in the middle of the song he said "This sounds more like Whitesnake than KISS." I knew he meant riff-wise, because clearly Paul Stanley and David Coverdale sound nothing alike. The more I thought about it, I decided that Eric was right. After all Whitesnake and Crazy Nights were both released in 1987. The sound is a similar product of the time - and Gene Simmons has openly admitted in the past that KISS would add power ballads to their records to get radio airplay. So, do you agree with my husband that "Reason to Live" sounds like Whitesnake? Is the song is a ripoff? Why or why not?

Reader Comments (21)

Neither is a rip-off of the other. They were both released within a few months of each other in 1987. & both recorded before either record was released. They are both just very indicative of what was being released at the time. (Synth heavy, pop ballads. with plenty of watery chorus, compression, & gated reverb on the snare drum.) To infer that any of a group of professional songwriters the caliber of Desmond Child, Paul Stanley, & David Coverdale would stoop to plagiarism is highly unprofessional, amateurish journalism of the lamest kind.
June 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAce Steele
it's just an example of another bad song from the 80s. Don't get me wrong, I love a lot of them. Shoot, I actually like this song. BUT, if you are honest it's just not a great song and may even fall into bad. Whitesnake had clunkers, Motley had clunkers, they all had clunkers looking for their chance for a #1 single. Not indicting any of it, just my two cents.
June 23, 2013 | Unregistered Commentersmknotsmf
When Allyson said it may have been a rip-off, I'm pretty sure she meant one may have been influenced by the other.
June 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRita
Yes, that's what I meant Rita. I'm stunned anyone would think I was actually accusing anyone of plagiarism here. I mean, get a grip. Plus I say what I mean and if I thought a musician really WAS plagiarizing another, well, I'd just say it.

Snoot - totally agree all our favorite bands have clunkers. Tread lightly. Die hard fans of every band will defend every song, even the bad ones! -- Allyson
June 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAllyson
I agree w Ace. However I do think kiss kinda ripped off poison on a song. Kiss' Never Enough from Sonic Boom sound sooo much like Poison's Nothing But A Good Time.
June 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBrian L
I never really thought about it before but it does sound like a Whitesnake ballad. Just switch David Coverdale for Paul Stanley and wala. Kind of like Helix and their song, "Never Wanna Lose You" and The Scorpions song, "No One Like You". They are practically identical.
June 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDirk
First off, KISS is my favorite band ever. However, this song IS a rip-off. It completely plagiarizes Foreigner's "I Want To Know What Love Is," released a few years earlier. I'm amazed that Mick Jones did not sue over this.
June 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBatLizard
Funny headline - I attended a show in Toronto, 1990, that literally became KISS vs Whitesnake.

It was a one off summer concert Whitesnake, KISS, Faster Pussycat, Slaughter - allegedly, KISS thought they were headlining which was not the case. Paul Stanley appeared on Muchmusic the day before the show saying that they could not use their pyro / stage (Sphynx), because it was Whitesnake's show,, and took a couple jabs at Coverdale onstage.

Vai and Coverdale were both in the papers after show, calling Paul's actions unprofessional.

Cool thing about it was, I was witness to a completely barebones KISS show; they played in the sunshine with zero show - just amps and house lights.
Also, KISS (no props) blew Whitesnake (with full show) off stage.

I found this writeup, pretty accurate recollection of the show;
June 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMike
I think the last sentence of Ace's post was tongue-in-cheek sarcasm and not really a dig at Ally's journalism skills. Sarcastic wit is sometimes lost in the written word. :-)
June 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBrian C.
that question is akin to asking...

Van Halen vs. Poison
Tom Keifer vs. The 80's hair metal movement
david lee roth vs. fletch
or guns n' roses vs. meatloaf; and springsteen vs. janis

support your inspirations...until they go all W. Axl on you
June 23, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterfletch
I was also at that Toronto kiss/whitesnake show and it got pretty ugly with people chanting whitesnake sucks and a lot of booing and a lot of people actually left after kiss, and kiss did blow them out. I enjoy both bands and have seen both many times, kiss over a dozen times. as for sounding like whitesnake not a chance and I love both bands output during the 80's I think they both put out killer stuff and yes a few clunker songs mixed in for good measure
June 23, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterglamrockerarchie
As I pointed out before, the physical time frame of when these two particular songs were written, recorded,& released make it virtually impossible that either could be influenced or ripped off from the other.

BatLizard, You are dead on in your point about "I Wanna Know What Love Is" , and Brian L. , your comment regarding "Never Enough" & "Nothing But A Good Time" is also accurate.

Funny enough, the only time KISS has been sued for something like this, was on Psycho Circus, for the song "Dreaming" , which evidently was a bit too close to the Original Alice Cooper Group's "Eighteen" for comfort. I do believe that was settled with some sort of cash payment.
June 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAce Steele
>I think the last sentence of Ace's post was tongue-in-cheek sarcasm and not really a dig at Ally's journalism skills. Sarcastic wit is sometimes lost in the written word. :-) <

I would certainly hope you're correct in that assumption Brian. If not, may I make a suggestion to Ace to pull the stick out of his ass that apparently is bothering him? LOL. 8-p

When you get right down to it, everybody rips each other off ad nauseum. As Ace and any musician will attest to, there are 7 major chords, and all their derivatives.(minor's, minor 7th's, augmented and diminished 7th's and 13th's,etc.) They've ALL been done to death about a billion times over, in every imaginable formation, at ever imaginable speed (1/2,3/4,4/4 time, etc.)

Case in point. If you took the "1-4-5 boogie pattern" (think the music from say Johnny B. Goode and literally a trillion other songs) out of Rock (because it IS a direct ripoff of earlier blues patterns made famous by Robert Johnson and earlier bluesmen), you'd probably lose around half of the recorded catalogue of modern music.

All of you folks pointed out fine examples of "borrowing" other music to write a different song. Ace deftly pointed out the other day on the Tom Keifer "Late Night" appearance that his song was way too reminiscent of Rod Stewart's "Every Picture Tells A Story". Hell, it's a poorly kept secret that Jimmy Page literally "borrowed" about 1/2 of Zep's iconic song catalog!! In the end, it's all Rock and Roll, whether it was begged, borrowed, or stolen, and thank God for it!!!! 8-)
June 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGary
Another song that closely resembles another is Sweet's Hellraiser and Motley Crue-Kickstart My Heart. Listen to that opening riff!
June 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGlamfly
While I wouldn't call this KISS tune a ripoff, it does bear at least a passing resemblence to Whitesnake's watered-down 1987 reworking of "here I go Again" which, for me, makes me automatically not like it. the original version of "here I go Again" was a great song with beautiful organ work by Jon Lord and a soulful vocal from Coverdale. The 1987 album version was bad enough, but the radio version was even worse. I can't completely blame Whitesnake for this, as 1986 and 1987 saw a lot of great bands soften their sound and add lots of synthesized keyboards to hit the commercial jackpot. Judas Priest's "Turbo" and Krokus's "change Of Address" albums are two examples that immediately spring to mind.
June 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBob
Nothing really to say that hasn't already been said here (yes, it really is me, folks), except these are some of the most perceptive comments I've EVER read on this site!

p.s. Though, Ace, I love ya, buddy, but you gotta chill on the derogatory remarks about Allyson's journalism skills. The kid can write and went to the finest journalism school in the land, Northwestern University.
June 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMetalboy!
Thanks Metalboy! I did attend good schools (and had a blast in the process) but I didn't go to Northwestern.
June 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAllyson
I was also at that Toronto show and remember it vividly. Kiss blew Whitesnake out of the water that night, and Paul Stanley did all he could to make sure that Coverdale & co. got a pretty harsh reception. I was in the stands that night, and the vast majority of people were sitting for Whitesnake.
June 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBryon
This is essentially a Desmond Child song that KISS recorded. Should been called "There's No Reason For This Song" (other than a cash grab.. that didn't work LOL!!!!!!!)
June 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBritt Harlow
Where the h*ll did I get that you went to Northwestern, Al?! Anywho, where didjya go?

Get ready to Barf, Britt, cuz I actually LIKE most of the Desmond Child stuff. Was it merely a cash grab when the guy can write Powerballads that truly emote the way his do? The songs were hits because they struck an emotional chord with people and that's why they bought them.

I think the guy's songs are genuinely coming from his heart and he and the artists with whom he collaborated were handsomely rewarded through people's appreciation and desire to own them on CD, Vinyl and Cassette in order to hear them at will.

p.s. Britt, didn't you say you know Ace and were also in a band in L.A. back in the day? If so, a little background, if you please.
June 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMetalboy!

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