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Cadillac gives great big Kiss anniversary celebration

Associated Press

Cadillac — In October 1975, Kiss visited a small northern Michigan community where the high school football team had credited the rock band’s music for its success on the field the previous year.

Now residents in Cadillac are giving something back to the Rock and Roll Hall of Famers known for wearing makeup that masks its members’ faces: a black granite monument celebrating the 40th anniversary of the visit.

The monument was unveiled Saturday, although members of the band weren’t able to attend. A tribute band performed some Kiss hits.

The monument reads, in part: “The renowned bond between Cadillac and Kiss endures to this day.”

It also says the event on Oct. 9, 1975, “attained worldwide acclaim as one of the most iconic stories in rock and roll lore.”

“On that day, Kiss came to Cadillac, and a legend was created,” the monument says.

Kiss rode in the homecoming parade and performed in the school gym. The group ultimately departed Cadillac from the football field in a helicopter, showering fans with hundreds of “Kiss Loves You” cards.

“I think we were stunned,” Lucy Best said. Best was a student at Cadillac High at the time.

“I think we didn’t believe it at first … and as it got closer and people started making plans to paint faces and it started to become real and then they showed up and it really was real,” Best said.

Then-assistant football coach Jim Neff spearheaded efforts in 1975 to get Kiss to town.

In 1974, the football team played Kiss songs before games. It had a seven-game winning streak and became conference co-champions, according to the monument.

Neff and former head football coach Milo Brines pulled away the tarp from the monument Saturday at the school’s football stadium.