A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from December 05, 2023
Kings In Satan’s Service (KISS rock band name backronym)

The rock band “KISS” formed in New York City in 1973. The band was not “Kiss,” but “KISS,” in all upper case letters. “KISS” popularly stood for “Keep It Simple, Stupid,” among many other backronyms (back acronyms).
 
By October 1978, many people thought “KISS” was an acronym for “Knights In Satan’s Service,” or “Kids In Satan’s Service,” or “Kings In Satan’s Service.” The band KISS officially denied all of the rumors, claiming that the name stood for “nothing other than a show of affection.” Despite the official denials, many people insist that the rumors are true. “Knights in Satan’s Service” has been the most popular of these acronyms.
 
   
Wikipedia: Kiss (band)
Kiss (often styled as KISS) was an American rock band formed in New York City in 1973 by Paul Stanley (vocals, rhythm guitar), Gene Simmons (vocals, bass guitar), Ace Frehley (lead guitar, vocals), and Peter Criss (drums, vocals). Known for their face paint and stage outfits, the group rose to prominence in the mid-1970s with shock rock-style live performances which featured fire-breathing, blood-spitting, smoking guitars, shooting rockets, levitating drum kits, and pyrotechnics. The band has gone through several lineup changes, with Stanley and Simmons remaining the only consistent members. The final lineup consisted of them, Tommy Thayer (lead guitar, vocals), and Eric Singer (drums, vocals).
     
Wikipedia: KISS principle
KISS, an acronym for “Keep it simple, stupid!”, is a design principle first noted by the U.S. Navy in 1960. First seen partly in American English by at least 1938, the KISS principle states that most systems work best if they are kept simple rather than made complicated; therefore, simplicity should be a key goal in design, and unnecessary complexity should be avoided. The phrase has been associated with aircraft engineer Kelly Johnson. The term “KISS principle” was in popular use by 1970. Variations on the phrase (usually as some euphemism for the more churlish “stupid”) include “keep it super simple”, “keep it simple, silly”, “keep it short and simple”, “keep it short and sweet”, “keep it simple and straightforward”, “keep it small and simple”, “keep it simple, soldier”, “keep it simple, sailor”, “keep it simple, sweetie”, “keep it stupidly simple”, or “keep it sweet and simple”.
 
Newspapers.com
25 October 1978, The Clinch Valley News (Tazewell, VA), “Springville PTA Approves Legislation,” pg. 5, col. 4:
A committee on TV Action was established and the program, KISS, to be aired Saturday evening was discussed. The group voted to write letters stating their strong objections to this type of program. KISS is an abbreviation for Kids In Satan’s Service.
 
4 November 1978. Austin (TX) American-Statesman, “Kiss-off: Drugstore chain pulls rock group’s albums from shelf” by Joe Frolik, pg. A1, col. 3:
Periodically the word has gone out, usually on the tongues of fundamentalist preachers, that the group’s name actually means “Knights (or Kids or Kings, depending on the teller) In Satan’s Service.”
 
Newspapers.com
13 November 1978, Albuquerque (NM) Journal, “Action Line” by G. Ward Fenley and Louise Miller, pg. B4, col. 1:
Q. My mother has her doubts about the popular young rock group which goes under the name of KISS. I have heard ridiculous things about this rock group. Some say that KISS stands for “Kids In Satan Service.” Others have said things just as ridiculous such as calling this group “Knights for Satan Service.” Hundreds of us youngsters who live here in Springer like the KISS group of rock singers just because they are different and outspoken. Just what kind of rock singers are they?—MM., Springer.
 
A. The New York Times, in discussing the origin of the name of this group, could find nothing derogatory in the name KISS. They had to have a name and they adopted the name KISS—for no other reason than that it was different. Tell your mother that a name is a name is a name and that a rose would smell just as sweet by any other name.
 
Newspapers.com
12 January 1979, South Bend (IN) Tribune, “Voice of the people: Lewd rock groups,” pg. 6, col. 5:
KISS, the group called “Knights in Satan’s Service,” must be gratified to know that even children of 5 years and up are wearing their image on T-shirts, promoting their evil and satanic influence.
(...)
BARB LESTA
Wakarusa
 
Newspapers.com
17 January 1979, South Bend (IN) Tribune, “Voice of the people,” pg. 14, col. 3:
Re; the letter concerning supposed “lewd” rock groups.
 
If you can show me any evidence at all that KISS (that ‘Knights in Satan’s Service” struck me as especially funny) is made up of Satanists I can show you five written articles showing you wrong.
(...)
SEAN O’NEILL
South Bend
 
Newspapers.com
11 February 1979, The Tennessean (Nashville, TN), “Ask Showcase,” The Tennessean Showcase, pg.. 50, col. 2:
RUMORS—I am a big fan of KISS. Recently I heard that KISS stood for Knights in Satan’s Service. Is this true or just another rumor?
Ralph Hayes
Nashville
 
Just another FALSE rumor.
 
Newspapers.com
16 February 1979, The Morning News (Wilimington, DE), “Show Business” by Marilyn Beck, pg. 18, col. 2:
Those involved with KISS want to kill off the rapidly growing rumors that the name of the group stands for “Knights In Satan’s Service”—and are actively searching out those who originated the lie. KISS representative Nancee Parkinson reported the story has been building for about four months and that, “We’ve now received so many inquiries about it, the band has designed a form letter to send out. People are believing the rumor—and it’s started hurting KISS.”
 
So what does KISS stand for? “Nothing other than a show of affection,” she said.
 
Google Groups: alt.religion.monica
Kids In Satan’s Service
Cheap Guy
Jun 10, 1996, 3:00:00 AM
(...)
By the way, what happened to that frenzy about Rock music being Satan’s message and such. In those days, KISS was interpreted as Kids In Satan’s Service and Rush was Ruler Under Satan’s Hand. And there were a whole bunch of others. If they could not find anything in the music, they even played backwards to find something that they were looking for. Gives a new meaning to “bending backwards.” Anyhow, I am glad that both KISS, Rush and Led Zeppelin outlived those who had a self appointed mission and too much time in their hand.
 
Google Groups: alt.satanism
KISS Auction item: “Satan’s Service” robe Gene got from Cher
RMerciless
Jun 30, 2000, 3:00:00 AM
Among the the items in the recent $1.8 million auction of KISS memorabilia was a bathrobe given to front man Gene Simmons by one-time girlfriend Cher, with ``Knights In Satan’s Service’’ embroidered on the front. It sold for just $632.50 (pre-sale range $1,000-$1,500).
-RtM
     
X/Twitter
Jarrod Cross
@JarrodACross
An early acronym of KiSS ... before they became this kinda joke kinda serious ... what if glam never ended, alt-history band ... was Kids In Satan’s Service. They were seen as a genuine threat and moral corruption of America’s youth.
5:28 AM · May 3, 2023
 
X/Twitter
SJ Thomason
@Dash_023
I heard today that the rock band KISS’ name is an acronym for “kings in Satan’s service.” True? Who knows?
6:32 PM · Dec 2, 2023
 
X/Twitter
P.S. Montgomery
@Author__PM
500% true, my father used to work for a record company back in the ‘70s, & he knew all the big bands back in the day - Kiss, Rolling Stones & etc., & so yes, KISS does stand for Knights (it’s actually ‘knights’) In Satan’s Service. However, of course, KISS will deny it.
9:38 PM · Dec 2, 2023

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