Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Under The Influence of Springsteen: Kiss - "Shandi"




Friends who know me know I am an absolute Kiss fanatic.  Granted, no one will ever top Bruce, and Kiss isn't even my second or third favorite.  I don't know where they land on the list of my top ten bands, but they are definitely on there.  But because of their cartoonish makeup and Gene Simmons' awful reputation as someone who is just in it for the money, Kiss is usually the band I spend the most time defending.

All my other favorite bands need no defense.  Bruce has a 40+ year career that speaks for itself, Guns N' Roses have the greatest debut album of all-time, Metallica, AC/DC, and Ozzy Osbourne are all heavy metal icons that are well respected outside of their genre for their longevity and worshiped in the heavy metal community.

But Kiss fans only have each other.  The Kiss Army was really born out of necessity more than any other reason.  Rock and roll purists disregard Kiss as a novelty act never to be taken seriously, while heavy metal fans see them as soft and phonies.  Pardon the pretentiousness, but it really takes something special for Kiss fans to realize that not only is the band not a novelty act, the band is beyond talented, but the music really is something special.  Author and essayist, and fellow Kiss Army Member, Chuck Klosterman, put it much better, and more detailed, than I ever could.

But this past year, Kiss was vindicated by taking their rightful, long-overdue spot in the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame alongside the E Street Band in the class of 2014.  I thought that would be where the similarities between the two bands ended, but I recently read in an interview with Paul Stanley that their 1980 hit "Shandi" from their album Unmasked was heavily influenced by "4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)" from The Wild, The Innocent and The E Street Shuffle.

I can't believe I never noticed this before, as one listen of the chorus to "Shandi" and it sounds practically identical to "Sandy".  Also, "Sandy" and "Shandi"?  Come on, it's basically the same name.  And for the record, outside of the Kiss song, I have never heard the name "Shandi" before or since.  Except of course for the delightful Summer Shandy beer.  So crack open a Shandy, pump some "Shandi" and compare it to "Sandy".