The Rolling Stones and Kiss are both classic rock bands with a bit of a boast, so it only makes sense that one of Kiss’s most famous songs was an intentional rip-off from the Rolling Stones. In fact, the Kiss song in question was originally supposed to have a name similar to the Rolling Stones song that inspired it. Kiss member Paul Stanley was bothered by this.
The song that inspired the Rolling Stones ” Brown Sugar ”.
It all starts with the rock and roll singer Freddy Canon. He gave the world a hit in 1959 called “Tallahassee Lassie”. During an interview with Rolling Stone, Mick Jagger said he wrote a groove on “Brown Sugar” that was reminiscent of the groove on “Tallahassee Lassie”.
For this reason, “Brown Sugar” could be seen as one of many examples of 1970s pop culture meant to mimic the 1950s. After that, the cycle of influence would continue if Kiss was inspired by “Brown Sugar”.
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The time members of Kiss stole song titles from each other
Kiss went into detail about the creation of her songs in the book KISS behind the mask: the official authorized biography. In the book, members of the band say they were influenced by everything from Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love” to The Fab Four to The Three Stooges. Gene Simmons also said he tried to tear down the Rolling Stones’ “Brown Sugar” with one of his band’s biggest hits.
“I said [Kiss’] Paul [Stanley] I wrote a … song called ‘Black Diamond’ and I wanted to tear down the Rolling Stones song ‘Brown Sugar’, ”Simmons admitted. “They sound like sisters, ‘Brown Sugar’, the younger sister of ‘Black Diamond’, the seasoned prostitute who walks the streets. That would be my story, she’s on the street for a living, ‘Black Diamond’. ”
The next day Stanley wrote another song, also called “Black Diamond”. For this reason, Simmons changed the title of his song “Black Diamond” to “Christine Sixteen”. The finished song wasn’t about a prostitute.
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How ‘Christine Sixteen’ compares to ‘Brown Sugar’
“Christine Sixteen” sounds like “Brown Sugar”, but has a completely different theme. The former is about an older person who falls in love with a 16-year-old, while the latter is about Antebellum South. How did the two songs compare in the charts?
“Brown Sugar” reached # 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. It is one of several No. 1 singles for the Rolling Stones, which means it is one of the group’s bigger hits. Similarly, “Christine Sixteen” became one of Kiss’s biggest hits, but only reached number 25 on the Billboard Hot 100.
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This is unsurprising as Kiss only made the top 10 three times and never a # 1 single. Regardless of how “Brown Sugar” and “Christine Sixteen” performed, it’s fascinating how connective tissue exists between these two legendary rock songs of the 1970s.