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.
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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, Gene Simmons insisted that KISS keep the tune, and that drummer Peter Criss sing on it. Wise decision, as the jaunty song matched with Criss' raspy vocals 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": "One day I was watching The Three Stooges, and something jumped out at me," songwriter Simmons told Songfacts. "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."
Released in February 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."
Rock and Roll Over is packed with fan favorites among its album tracks, "Take Me," "Love 'Em and Leave 'Em," and "Makin' Love" among them. The album was a resounding success, peaking at #11 on the Billboard 200 over Christmas week, 1976. The #1 album in the country that week: Stevie Wonder's Songs in the Key of Life.
FUN FACT: actress Katey Sagal of Married with Children and Sons of Anarchy fame sings background vocals on "Calling Dr. Love."
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