February 1977: KISS Releases "Calling Dr. Love"

Gene Simmons of Kiss performs live at The Winterland Ballroom in 1977 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Richard McCaffrey/ Michael Ochs Archive/ Getty Images)
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(Richard McCaffrey/ Michael Ochs Archive/ Getty Images)

KISS was at the peak of its powers in 1976. Gene Simmons and company had blazed new mainstream trails with a splashy appearance on The Paul Lynde Halloween Special that fall, followed by the November 11, 1976 release of the group's fifth studio album, Rock and Roll Over.

RELATED: When KISS Blew Up on the Paul Lynde Halloween Special

With KISS being primarily an album band, there were only a pair of singles released from the record. The first was "Hard Luck Woman." Originally written by Paul Stanley for Rod Stewart, KISS ended up keeping the track, and featuring drummer Peter Criss on vocals (who maintained that Rod Stewart vibe). The jaunty song was a success, peaking at #15 on the Hot 100.

For the album's second single, KISS went with Gene Simmons track, "Calling Dr. Love."

"The genesis of the song 'Calling Dr. Love' originally came from 'Bad Bad Lovin,' which hadn't made it into the KISS recording repertoire. Nobody seemed to like it well enough," songwriter Simmons told Songfacts. "So I kept refining it. Then one day I was watching The Three Stooges and something jumped out at me. It was a passage where the Three Stooges had snuck into a hospital, donned surgical equipment and made believe they were doctors and kept running back and forth from room to room with a public address system saying 'Calling Dr. Howard, Dr. Fine, Dr. Howard.' And then I thought of rewriting the chorus idea into 'Calling Dr. Love' who has a peculiar way of injecting his patients. By the time KISS had started earning gold and platinum records and filling every arena around the world, Paul and I naturally started kidding each other about our individual writing styles and song titles, both of us taking a turn at each other."


Released in February 13, 1977, the song would follow "Hard Luck Woman" right up the charts, peaking at #16 on the Hot 100 on May 14, 1977. The #1 song in America that week: Leo Sayer's "When I Need You."

Fun fact: actress Katey Sagal of Married with Children and Sons of Anarchy fame sings background vocals on the track.

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