© 1988, Mercury/PolyGram Records.
Beth (1988 Eric Carr Vocal)
Stan Penridge, Peter Criss, Bob Ezrin
First there was the original, then the live version, then the acoustic version for "KISS Meets The Phantom Of The Park," and then this version 4. Without a doubt this recording is one of the most uncomfortable in the whole KISS catalog with drummer Eric Carr replacing original drummer Peter Criss' vocals on KISS' biggest US hit. Not only was the same orchestra backing tape used, but it was recorded in the same studio as the original had been done twelve years earlier. Paul Stanley recalled, "We actually ended up doing it in the same room that we did the original in! It was wild we brought up the tapes of 'Beth' and Eric sang it in the very same studio. It was kinda nice, 12 years later, to be in the same band in the same studio, working on the same song" (Strike #27).
Eric Carr had been desperate to sing a lead vocal on a KISS album, and had for years only contributed lead vocals when the band played live or on backing vocals in the studio. However, he was not totally happy at doing this track. Eric recalled, "At first I was real nervous about what the reaction would be (after all, it's Peter's song). I knew I'd do a great job and I got really into it and luckily I have not had one single letter complaining about it" (KISS Crazy #3). Eric admitted that it felt like sacrilege to be replacing Peter's vocals, even if his voice was a bit more "pop" than Peter's raspy original. Many fans consider this track to be highly disrespectful to Peter and he was also displeased by the inclusion of the remake: "They've almost tried to bury me and Ace as if we never existed. You can see that a little by the release of the new compilation album and the remixed versions of songs like 'Strutter' and 'Detroit Rock City.' It's really ridiculous, it's sad... Gene called me about that record but he didn't tell me they were gonna redo 'Beth' with Eric on vocals. I mean, I have nothing against Eric at all, I don't really know him that well, but I thought that if they planned on doing a Greatest Hits record they were going to give the fans the hits, the originals" (Kerrang #226).
Peter did, however, talk to Eric about the re-recording of the song: According to Peter, "He actually called me when he had to re-sing 'Beth.' And he was all in tears and said, 'Please forgive me. I don't want to do this, I don't want to touch this song, but they really want me to do this so I've got to sing it. Do you mind?' And I'm like Eric, OK; just do what you've got to do" (Eddie Trunk).