On this day in 1983, KISS appear for the first time without their iconic makeup.

When KISS first formed back in 1973, they were clearly brilliant musicians with a knack for writing great songs. However, the band decided they needed something more in their image, and soon chose to wear makeup for their live performances.

Adopting a series of make-up designs after a handful of early shows, the band kept up this onstage disguise all throughout the ’70s, and into the early ’80s when they decided that it was time to give it up.

Making the decision to ‘unmask’ in promotion for their upcoming album Lick It Up, the members of KISS appeared without make-up for the first time for an MTV special on September 18th, 1983.

Sadly, KISS’ unmasking also kicked off a period of inner turmoil for the group, with guitarist Vinnie Vincent leaving the band the next year, and his replacement, Mark St. John, only lasting a very short time.

As it turned out, the public weren’t quite as receptive of the band’s ‘natural’ image and new sound either, and KISS experienced a bit of a downturn in terms of popularity.

By the time the mid-’90s rolled around, Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley decided to reunite with Ace Frehley and Peter Criss for an original lineup reunion. The most popular tour of the band’s career, the shows also marked the first time that the band donned their classic makeup in well over a decade.

Check out KISS’ unmasking:


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