God of Thunder: KISS
Original Story: While Paul Stanley never refers to a specific myth throughout his lyrics, he includes many elements of Greek mythology in Gene Simmons’s signature song.
In the very beginning of the song, Stanley writes: “Daughter of Aphrodite / Hear my words and take heed.” Aphrodite (Venus to the Romans) is the goddess of sexual love, making it appropriate for her to appear a KISS song. It is true that Aphrodite had daughters. There’s Beroe, daughter of Adonis and goddess of the city Beroe; Harmonia, daughter of Ares and goddess of Harmony; Adrestia, also a daughter of Ares and goddess of just revenge; Rhodos, daughter of Poseidon and goddess of Rhodes. Also, there’s a group of goddesses known as the Charities: Aglaea (“Splendor”), Euphrosyne (“Mirth”), and Thalia (“Good Cheer”). These are goddesses of charm, beauty and fertility and are said to be the daughters of Dionysus and Aphrodite, although they have also been attributed to Zeus and Eurynome. It’s uncertain which goddess Stanley was writing about, and it is likely that he may have not even had one in mind.
Stanley also references the home of the Greek gods and goddesses: “I was born on Olympus / To my father a son.” To the Greeks, this was a very real place. Check out the map below to see its location:
In Greek mythology, Mt. Olympus is the home of the gods, and in reality, it is the highest mountain in Greece.
The title of the song “God of Thunder” may seem like a god that Stanley created for his song, but, although Simmons might argue with this, the actual god of Thunder is Zeus. Here’s how the story goes: Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades are all brothers, and after the Olympians (Zeus’ generation) defeated the Titans (the generation before him), the three brothers drew lots to decide who would rule each part of the world. Zeus chose the sky, Poseidon chose the sea, and Hades, who drew last, got left with the underworld. However, there is no god of Rock ‘n’ Roll in Greek myth (unless you count Sisyphus, but that’s a different kind of rock) and Simmons would likely be ecstatic to claim that title.
Overall, KISS uses allusions and elements of Greek myth to create an atmosphere that aligns with Gene Simmons’s demon character. However, they do not seem concerned with being accurate or staying faithful to the original stories. The characters that the founding members of KISS created are rooted in elements of fantasy and the fact that Stanley included myth in his lyrics is simply playing into that factor. KISS lyrics are typically, if not always, indicative of fun and partying (yes, partying EVERY DAY), and it would be out of character for KISS to start taking themselves seriously by using deep allusions in their lyrics. At the top of this post, I chose to include a live performance, rather than the studio version. Personally, I prefer the tempo of their live version, and let’s be honest, if you’re going to listen to KISS, you might as well listen to them in 1977, in Detroit Rock City.