Who Wrote the KISS Song That Was Meant for Rod Stewart: “Hard Luck Woman”

Initially inspired by Rod Stewart’s hits “Maggie May” and “You Wear It Well,” KISS singer and guitarist Paul Stanley originally wrote “Hard Luck Woman” as a possible song for the singer, who had just parted ways with his band Faces, featuring The Rolling Stones’ Ron Wood, to pursue a solo career.

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Following KISS’ success with their ballad “Beth,” also released that year on their fourth album Destroyer, they decided to keep “Hard Luck Woman” for themselves and released it as the lead single off their second 1976 album, Rock and Roll Over.

Garth Brooks

Produced by Eddie Kramer (David Bowie, Carly Simon, Peter Frampton), the song made the Top 20 at No. 15 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was later covered by Garth Brooks nearly 20 years after its initial release.

Brooks recorded his version of “Hard Luck Woman” with the band for their 1994 tribute album, KISS My Ass: Classic KISS Regrooved. KISS and Brooks also performed “Hard Luck Woman” together on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

Along with Brooks, “Hard Luck Woman” has been covered by a number of artists over the decades, including Mute’s 2013 rendition and The Hold Steady in 2014.


Along with bandmate and founding KISS member, bassist Gene Simmons, Stanley, The Starchild, wrote a handful of the band’s hits, including “Rock and Roll All Nite,” “Strutter,” and “Shout It Out Loud.”

On his own, and as the chief songwriter for KISS, Stanley also penned “I Was Made for Lovin’ You,” “Love Gun,” “Crazy, Crazy Nights,” “Lick It Up,” “I Love it Loud” (along with former KISS guitarist Vinnie Vincent), and the band’s power ballad “Forever,” which was co-written with Michael Bolton.

In between writing or co-writing most of the Kiss catalog, spanning 20 records and more than 50 years, Stanley also wrote some songs for other artists, including his dear friend Cher, along with the late Ronnie Spector, and Bonnie Tyler throughout his career.


Born Stanley Bert Eisen on January 20, 1952, in New York City, Stanley grew up in the Inwood section of Manhattan and surrounded by music—but it didn’t start with rock.

“I was a kid who from a very early age was passionate about music,” said Stanley in a recent interview with American Songwriter. “The first music I heard was Beethoven’s ‘Emperor’ Concerto, and I lived in a house where there was always music playing—Mahler, Mozart, Schumann. Then there were Broadway tunes and popular music and opera. They [his parents] were instrumental in introducing me to both music and to art.”


Aside from attending opera with his parents, Stanley remembers some of the earliest concerts he attended that shaped him as an artist, from Otis Redding, Led Zeppelin in 1969, and Jimi Hendrix.

“I saw so many people and to ascend to a level that I saw them as, I’m not full of myself enough to believe that I am actually in that strata. But it’s all perception, and when other people see me at that level, it’s incredibly gratifying and humbling.”

The Final Curtain

As KISS embark on their final tour after more than 50 years together—with their final shows scheduled in their hometown of New York City—it’s all bittersweet for Stanley.

“When I think about the end of it, it doesn’t make me happy,” Stanley told American Songwriter. “I’ll be ecstatic looking at what we’ve accomplished and what we’ve done, but it’s the end of an era. It’s also the end of a huge part of my life.”

Read our recent cover story with Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons, featured in the American Songwriter 2023 Legends HERE.

Photo: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic.com

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