Beth, I Hear You Loud and Clear: A Fictional Origin Story of KISS’ Best Selling Single

A cou­ple of days ago, Mick Fleet­wood told NPR that a band’s great­est hits belong to its fans “to be rein­ter­pret­ed and cre­ate a back­drop for parts of their lives.”

With that in mind, who among us has not relat­ed … or yearned for the boyfriend or girl­friend that might allow us to relate to Peter Criss’ chart-top­ping “Beth”? The pow­er bal­lad went gold for Criss’ band KISS in 1976, and has reigned as an ear worm on Clas­sic Rock sta­tions ever since:

Beth, I hear you call­in’ 

But I can’t come home right now 

Me and the boys are playin’ 

And we just can’t find the sound.

Close your eyes and visu­al­ize poor Beth, alone in her neg­ligee on that giant bed, the scent­ed can­dles gut­ter­ing in sad recog­ni­tion that art always comes first for a soul­ful dude like Pete.

Now open them wide for the alter­nate and extreme­ly spir­it­ed take above. This ver­sion gives us Beth’s side, com­pli­ments of writer Bob Win­ter, direc­tor Bri­an Bil­low of Anony­mous Con­tent, and actress Lil­li Bird­sell, MILF-ing it up to vin­tage per­fec­tion as she jug­gles the kids and a meat­loaf in the oven. Rock­star hus­bands’ salaries aside, Bird­sel­l’s Beth is the embod­i­ment of the red-blood­ed female mul­ti­tasker pop­u­lar­ized by the Enjoli com­mer­cial of the same peri­od. The news that her hus­band “can’t” come home right now is met not with a tear, but a hilar­i­ous­ly flat “What?” (I loved how it took sev­er­al rep­e­ti­tions for the lyri­cal hook to reg­is­ter with her.)

I was root­ing for this Beth to pull a Thel­ma and Louise, load­ing the twins into the Coun­try Squire and dump­ing them at the stu­dio for their father to deal with. Sad­ly, our hero­ine is no match for years of built-up fan inter­pre­ta­tions. Guess Bet­ty Drap­er’s not the only pret­ty woman doomed to sip her din­ner as she sto­ical­ly ignores both chil­dren and part­ner’s emp­ty plate.

- Ayun Hal­l­i­day has­n’t even start­ed to think about what’s for din­ner tonight, so quit ask­ing. Fol­low her at @AyunHalliday

by | Permalink | Comments (1) |

Sup­port Open Cul­ture

We’re hop­ing to rely on our loy­al read­ers rather than errat­ic ads. To sup­port Open Cul­ture’s edu­ca­tion­al mis­sion, please con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion. We accept Pay­Pal, Ven­mo (@openculture), Patre­on and Cryp­to! Please find all options here. We thank you!

Comments (1)
You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.
  • Nick says:

    I watched this video last week when it was released and a mile-wide smile crept across my face. I knew imme­di­ate­ly that Bob Win­ter was behind it. I knew that because he told me about this idea three years ago when I inter­viewed for a job at his then-ad agency. We joked about his idea for this video briefly, but I nev­er for­got about it.

    A true class act. Thanks for shar­ing.

Leave a Reply

Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.