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KISS - A World Without Heroes - Lyrics Meaning

"A World Without Heroes" is a 1981 single from the rock band Kiss. The song isn't one of the band's better-known tunes. It was released at a time when the band's fan base was dwindling and the band was without a musical identity. Original drummer Peter Criss left the band and was replaced by Eric Carr. As if that wasn't enough change, Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley, against the advice of Ace Frehley and Eric Carr, decided to record a concept album with producer Bob Ezrin. Complete with short haircuts and new minimized costumes that turned off their hard rock fan base.

Ezrin was coming off the heels of working with Pink Floyd on their mega successful concept album "The Wall." Simmons, Stanley and Ezrin felt that Kiss would gain some credibility within the music industry by producing an album that told a story and expanded their sound. Simmons and Stanley felt that this would finally give them acceptance from music critics and increase their audience. They believed that Kiss was the perfect act to make a concept album, produce a theatrical Broadway-like stage production, and do a full-length film like Pink Floyd did with "The Wall."

And "Music from `The Elder"' was born. And it colossally bombed.

"A World Without Heroes" was the first and only single from the album. It peaked on the U.S. charts at number 56 while reaching number 55 in the U.K. It was the first music video produced for Kiss and received very marginal airplay on MTV. The song was originally composed with different lyrics and a different name. "Every Little Bit of Your Heart" was the first working title but the title and lyrics were changed to fit the concept album's theme.

The general theme of the album is the story of a young man that has been chosen to combat dark forces led by Mr. Blackwell. At one point, the young man doubts his effectiveness in this role and this is where "A World Without Heroes" comes in. The song explains that evil will always triumph if there are no heroes to fight against it. Gene Simmons, in a very uncharacteristic soft non-Demonic voice, sings that a world without heroes is no place to be. It's a sad and useless thing - like a bell that never rings or a bird with no wings. The song leads to the young man accepting the path that has been put forth for him to follow. He ultimately defeats Mr. Blackwell and is revered as a hero - not just because others believed him but because he also believed in himself.

Songwriting credits for "A World Without Heroes" are given to Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Lou Reed, and Bob Ezrin. Lou Reed's contribution is supposedly as simple as one line - the very beginning of the song actually, where Simmons sings, "A world without heroes is like a world without sun." Kiss never performed the song live until their fan conventions in the mid 90's. Cher also covered the song in 1991 on her album "Love Hurts."