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The lyricist that Gene Simmons said that is the best of all time


The lyricist that Gene Simmons said that is the best of all time

Gene Simmons first started to write his own songs when he was still a teenager and when he met his future bandmate Paul Stanley he already had a few songs ready. Not much later he helped to form Kiss alongside Paul, Peter Criss and Ace Frehley. As the band’s bassist and singer, Gene carried the torch with Stanley for five decades, making Kiss one of the best-selling bands of all time.


Over the years, Simmons had the chance to meet many incredible artists and even to write with some of them. He always had a broad musical taste and once revealed who is, in his opinion, the lyricist who caused the biggest impact in music.

The lyricist that Gene Simmons said that is the best of all time

Although the Kiss bassist and singer was inspired by many British groups from the 60s and 70s, he believes that the greatest lyricist in history is American. Simmons decided to become a musician after seeing The Beatles performing at the Ed Sullivan show in the 60s but he was also paying attention to what was being made in the United States. At the time, one of the most respected new musicians in the country was Bob Dylan, who the Kiss member said in an interview with Songwriting Magazine in 2018 that is the lyricist who caused the biggest impact in music.

He was asked by the magazine which lyricist had the biggest effect on him. He replied, saying: “It would have to be Dylan. There are people on Mount Olympus who you never thought you’d be able to stand beside or near. Much less be in the same room with and come up with something together.”

He continued:

“Maybe nobody’s had a bigger impact on lyrics than Dylan with ‘The Times They Are A Changin’, it was perhaps the most widely recognised lyric of the twentieth century. His songs have been covered by everybody from The Byrds to Jimi Hendrix to Gun N’ Roses.”

“Very few artists have had that kind of impact. His lyrics are notches above and for him to take the time of day to sit in the same room as me is something that I’ll never forget,” Gene Simmons said.

Bob Dylan is eight years older than Gene and released his first studio album 11 years before Kiss was formed. When the Hard Rock group released their debut, Dylan already had 14 albums out and was one of the most influential artists on the planet already. One of the most prolific songwriters the music had, Dylan released 40 studio albums. The most recent one being Rough and Rowdy Ways that was out in 2020.

The day Simmons and Bob Dylan wrote songs together

As the Kiss bassist and singer said, he had the chance to not only become a friend of Dylan, he also wrote a few songs with him. He had the idea to invite the legendary Folk-Rock artist to write but had no idea if he would be interested in a collaboration. But Simmons is known for being a person with a lot of confidence and he decided to take a chance. So he asked his management to try to contact Dylan.

Within two days Dylan was at his doorstep and they spent a whole afternoon writing a few tunes. He recalled how it was that day in an interview with For Bass Players in 2018. “Within two days, an unmarked van shows up at my house. Bob gets out with an acoustic guitar and tells his driver ‘I’ll see you at the end of the day’. We start strumming! It was just like that. And he was asking ME, and this is in the box set, ‘So, how do you write songs?’.

Gene Simmons replied Dylan, saying:

“Well, you know, I come up with stuff, and Paul writes stuff.” Bob replied: “Yeah, yeah, yeah. Then the other guys play it?”. Gene answered: “Well, I usually tell them what parts to play.” He goes, “You do?” And I couldn’t believe I was having this discussion. Yeah, we were talking about how we write songs. It’s still a life highlight, if you see what I mean,” Gene Simmons said.

The tracks written with Dylan were released on his box set “The Vault” (2017). The name of the songs are “Na, Na, Na, Na” and “Waiting For The Morning Light”. The last one was already released in 2004 on the Simmons solo album. The box set also had 15 minutes of the writing session they had at Simmons’ house. According to Simmons, Dylan never calls him by his name, he always says hello calling him “Mr. Kiss”.

I'm a Brazilian journalist who always loved Classic Rock and Heavy Metal music. That passion inspired me to create Rock and Roll Garage over 6 years ago. Music has always been a part of my life, helping me through tough times and being a support to celebrate the good ones. When I became a journalist, I knew I wanted to write about my passions. After graduating in journalism from the Pontifical Catholic University of Minas Gerais, I pursued a postgraduate degree in digital communication at the same institution. The studies and experience in the field helped me improve the website and always bring the best of classic rock to the world! MTB: 0021377/MG

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