God Gave Rock and Roll to You — KISS Song Licensing Threatened?

Single by Argent  –  from the album:  “In Deep”   /  B-side “Christmas for the Free”
Released 1973  /  Recorded 1971  /  Genre Rock  /  Length 3:20
Writer(s) Russ Ballard  /  Producer(s) Rod Argent, Chris White

 

“God Gave Rock and Roll to You”
“God Gave Rock and Roll to You” is a 1973 released song by British band Argent and covered by Kiss, with modified lyrics, in 1991. Argent recorded the song in 1971 during the sessions for their album All Together Now, but it originally did not appear as an album track until 1973’s In Deep, and was released as a successful single at that time. The 1997 CD re-release of All Together Now has the track included as a bonus.

The original lyrics include a reference to British pop singer Cliff Richard, known for his Christianity.
The song was covered by Petra in 1977 (with modified lyrics in the verses from the Argent original)[1] and by The Truth in 1989. In 1991 it was notably covered by Kiss (with different verse lyrics again) under the title God Gave Rock ‘N’ Roll to You II.

The Christian rock band Petra first released a cover version of the song in their 1977 album Come and Join Us. Petra re-released a somewhat updated version in their 1984 album Beat the System. It was the Petra version of the song that was reworked by Kiss as “God Gave Rock ‘N’ Roll to You II” for the film Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey in 1991.[1]

It has also been covered by Bride, Midtown and Oficina G3. Unrest remade the song as “God Gave Rock & Roll To You III” for their 1992 Bavarian Mods EP.

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Kiss version
“God Gave Rock ‘N’ Roll to You II”
Harmonizing with Paul Stanley during the bridge of “God Gave Rock ‘N’ Roll to You II” would be Eric Carr’s final recording with Kiss before his death in 1991.
“God Gave Rock ‘N’ Roll to You II,” by the American hard rock band Kiss. Kiss first released it as a single in 1991, lifted off the soundtrack to the movie Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey, and was later included on Kiss’ 1992 album Revenge.

The song was a cover of the Argent 1973 song “God Gave Rock and Roll to You” written by Russ Ballard, but with substantially modified lyrics in the verses. It is one of the few songs from Kiss’s non-makeup era to be played live since the band returned to makeup.

It was the last Kiss song to feature longtime drummer Eric Carr before his death in 1991. Although he was too ill to play drums on the track, he is featured on backing vocals during the a cappella break, singing the repeated line “…to everyone, he gave his song to be sung”, as well as performing drums during the video for the song.

The single was also the first to feature Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley sharing lead vocals since “I” from 1981’s Music from “The Elder”.

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The video was filmed in Los Angeles, California in July 1991 and was directed by Mark Rezyka. It features the band playing in a room with flashbacks of Simmons and Stanley during the make-up era of Kiss’s heyday. There were no prominent clips of Carr during the make-up years featured in the video, even though he was a part of that era for three-and-a-half-years. During the Kissology Volume Two: 1978-1991 special aired on VH1 classic, Gene Simmons has stated that, “It’s not just a cover song for a soundtrack, but a testament to Eric Carr, and I think a lot of people don’t realize that.”

Chart success
The song proved to be a big hit for the band in many parts of the world, including making the Top Ten in the United Kingdom and Germany. It reached number 21 on Billboard’s Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart in the US, as well as its video receiving heavy rotation on music television channels.

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Versions
The version released as a single and on the soundtrack to Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey differs slightly from that played in the film. In the film, a 40-second guitar solo is played by Steve Vai. It was later included on the album The Elusive Light and Sound, Vol. 1 under the title “Final Solo”.

Personnel
Paul Stanley – rhythm and lead guitar, lead vocals
Gene Simmons – bass, lead vocals
Bruce Kulick – lead guitar, background vocals
Eric Singer – drums, background vocals
Eric Carr – background vocals

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