How a Controversial Song Catapulted this Country Band


This year marks the 40th Valentine’s Day anniversary of “Kiss You All Over” the song that catapulted the band Exile into stardom.

What you may not know is that in 1978, when Exile released the song, they stirred up some controversy, even a few radio stations refused to give it airplay. But now, it’s one of the most popular songs for the band. In 1978, the song made Billboard’s Year End Hot 100 Singles of 1978 (Top 5) and later placed in Billboard’s The 50 Sexiest Songs of All Time (Top 10) category. The song has also been recorded by artists like Trace Adkins, Bill Anderson, Jim Mundy, Tiffany, Cilla Black, and Information Society.

“Kiss You All Over” was one of the few songs not written by one of the Exile band members. Their producer Mike Chapman actually wrote it. Chapman moved from England to Los Angeles and had written songs for Rod Stewart and Tina Turner.  It was a departure from what the country-band had previously recorded.

“We weren’t terribly knocked out by the song at the time,” Exile keyboardist Marlon Hargis said. “But with the track record of Chapman and his success with other artists we didn’t want to say no to ‘Kiss You All Over’ and of course after its popularity, our love grew for the song.”

In additions to covers by other artists, the song appeared in several movies like Happy Gilmore, Wild Hogs, Man on the Moon, Employee of the Month, and Zookeeper. CBC used the song in 2007 at end of the Stanley Cup finals. Amazon series Red Oaks closed out its first season with the song and Netflix series Mindhunter features the song as well.

Exile is one the oldest American bands who just celebrated its 55th year of touring and making records. In their best estimation, they are the oldest American self-contained band still making music.

Exile is playing the Franklin Theatre on Friday, Feb 15th; however, at the time of publishing the show was sold out.

What’s next for Exile?
Fans can expect an exciting new project from the band. They will release some of their first recordings, which took place at a studio called “The Garage.” The band thought they had lost these recordings but recently found out they had been saved. They plan to release an album called “The Garage Tapes” later in 2019.

Exile is a member of the Kentucky Music Hall Of Fame and recently made their 100th appearance at the Grand Ole Opry, have a dozen No. 1 hit songs. The band wrote their own songs and played on all their recordings, plus wrote hits for other artists such as the band Alabama, Restless Heart, Engelbert Humperdinck, Huey Lewis, Diamond Rio, Janie Fricke and many more.

You can find more information about their show at The Franklin Theatre here.