Red Hot Chili Peppers are a famous band that mixes different types of music, like funk metal and rap. They’ve sold a lot of records around the world. They are one of the best-selling bands ever. We picked out 22 of their most famous songs for you. If you really like their music, you probably know more than half of these songs. Let’s take a look at the songs that made Red Hot Chili Peppers so popular and enjoy the different sounds they bring to their music.
Which are the famous Red Hot Chili Peppers songs?
- Scar Tissue
- The Zephyr Song
- Give It Away
- By the Way
- Under the Bridge
- Around the world
- Johnny Kick a Hole In the Sky
- Me and My Friends
- Breaking the Girl
- Suck My Kiss
- Road Trippin
- Dani California
- Black Summer
- Throw Away Your Television
- Purple Stain
- Behind the Sun
- This Velvet Glove
- Slow Cheetah
- Sir Psycho Sexy
- Get on Top
After taking a four-year break since their last album in 1995, people might have thought Red Hot Chili Peppers would come back with a fun and lively song. Surprisingly, they went in a different direction. They used Frusciante‘s soulful guitar, calm beats, soft singing, and Kiedis‘ personal thoughts, similar to “Under the Bridge“. The band put their own stories and experiences into what many consider the most beautiful song of their career – the gentle first single from “Californication“.
The Zephyr Song
Three years after making the Californication album, Red Hot Chili Peppers tried different sounds in their eighth album, “By the Way” A special song, “The Zephyr Song“, proves that the band can do more than one kind of music. The song has peaceful tunes and lots of harmonies that make you feel a bit nostalgic, like the famous music of the Beach Boys. It’s different from the usual fast and energetic music we usually hear from Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Give It Away
“Give It Away” is a popular song from their 1991 album “Blood Sugar Sex Magik“, and it’s their most well-known song. Flea, the bass player, uses his special slap technique, and Kiedis, the singer, shares lessons inspired by spiritual leaders like Sly Stone and Bob Marley. In the song, he confidently says, “There’s never been a better time than right now!”
By the Way
“By the Way”, the main song of Red Hot Chili Peppers‘ 2002 album begins with a softly played guitar, making it seem like one of the band’s calmer times. But, things change when Flea starts playing his bass with a lot of energy, the beat gets stronger, and the song turns into what Kiedis called “an ultra-loud attack against commercialism.”
Under the Bridge
In the early ’90s, even though everything was full of energy, Red Hot Chili Peppers surprised everyone with a thoughtful slow song. It’s not something you’d expect from artists like Bryan Adams or Sting. The Chili Peppers showed a different and more grown-up side in this song called “Under the Bridge“. This soft and touching song came from a unique place. While they were making the album, Kiedis, who had just stopped drinking, found Flea and Frusciante smoking in a studio. On the way home, he made up a poem and a tune “to deal with my pain.” The title comes from a real bridge in L.A. where Kiedis used to go to get high. At first, he was unsure about showing the song to the band because it was slow and dramatic, but he eventually did.
The song “Otherside” is a special one from the famous “Californication” album. It seems calm on the outside, but there’s a deep and sad message underneath. Kiedis sings the lyrics with a lot of feeling, asking a question: “How long will I slide?” In a thoughtful interview in 1999, Frusciante shared more about what “Otherside” really means. He explained that “the song explores the ongoing fight that happens in our minds, a complex battle between what we’re aware of (conscious) and what’s hidden (subconscious)”.
Around the world
Red Hot Chili Peppers made their own version of “California Girls“. They changed it up for the late Nineties. The song’s lyrics talk about romantic moments in different places like Switzerland, Sicily, and “the woods of Wisconsin.” When asked about the song in 1999, Anthony Kiedis said it’s about mixing “romantic feelings with sexy rhythms and melodies.”
Johnny Kick a Hole In the Sky
Red Hot Chili Peppers showed they liked Stevie Wonder and Jimi Hendrix in their earlier album “Mother’s Milk“. They continued to bring those influences into their music, especially in the last song called “Johnny, Kick a Hole in the Sky“.
Me and My Friends
Red Hot Chili Peppers‘ third album, “The Uplift Mofo Party Plan“, came out in 1987. This was the first time the original band members worked together. At first, Slovak and Irons were still attracted to their old band which didn’t work out. When they realized the band wasn’t progressing, they came back to the Chili Peppers. As a token of celebration, Kiedis sang about them in “Me and My Friends“. He called Irons a “hardworking drummer, strong as a horse” and dedicated a part to Slovak, calling him “my love, soul-brother sacred.”
Breaking the Girl
In this song, Kiedis talks about feeling guilty and sorry for a relationship that didn’t work out. This emotional honesty is not something people usually connect with. “Breaking the Girl” stands out as a special acoustic song on the album “Blood Sugar Sex Magik“. It includes a mellotron solo that sounds like something John Paul Jones from Led Zeppelin would do. Brendan O’Brien, who mixed and engineered the album, played the solo.
Suck My Kiss
“Suck My Kiss” from the album “Blood Sugar Sex Magik” is celebrated as one of Red Hot Chili Peppers‘ primal songs. It cleverly uses a “hard K” sound, a funny trick often used by experienced performers. Kiedis has fun with this linguistic play, adding bold language like spelling out “k-i-s-s-i-n-g” and scatting “Chicka chicka dee/Do me like a banshee“. The chorus is a standout moment where Kiedis‘ plain voice passionately says, “Suck my kiss!” This song shows that ‘how you sing and express yourself’ is sometimes more important than the exact words you use.
The “Road Trippin‘” skillfully combines a late-Beatles twist reminiscent of the Zeppelin era. A notable element is the keyboard solo, added by producer Rick Rubin. He brought in a session musician to contribute to this melodic part. Frusciante acknowledged Rubin‘s role, saying, “That was Rick’s doing. None of us were there for that. But it was good. I liked it.”
Red Hot Chili Peppers‘ song “Dani California” stands out in their more recent music. The song sounds a bit like Tom Petty’s “Last Dance with Mary Jane”. Notably, the chorus of “Dani California” is one of the band’s best moments. The bridge part has complex layers of singing and guitar harmonies, and this creates a rich musical sound. Lastly, a solo in a style like Jimi Hendrix shows how skilled Frusciante was during the Stadium Arcadium era.
After a 16-year break, Red Hot Chili Peppers released their first new song. Frusciante, the returning guitarist, brought a unique way of arranging songs with him, and Kiedis, Flea, and Smith were excited to go along with it. The result is the band’s most lively and typical RHCP-sounding song in a long time. Flea’s smooth bassline and Frusciante’s melodic yet strong chords work together.
Throw Away Your Television
Flea’s energetic bass line in “Throw Away Your Television” effectively expresses the hidden restlessness of this not-so-famous track from By the Way. Even though Flea and Smith play with great precision and create a perfectly tight rhythm, the song still feels like it’s on the verge of chaos.
‘Sikamikanico‘ was released as a B-side to ‘Under the Bridge‘ and later featured in the Wayne’s World soundtrack. ‘Sikamikanico’ carries an intensity that might have been considered too fiery for the iconic ‘Blood Sugar Sex Magik‘ album. On its own, ‘Sikamikanico‘ brings energy not often found in other Chili Peppers songs. Frusciante’s guitar contrasts dynamically with Smith’s funky drum beats, and they create a unique sonic experience. The singers ultimately made ‘Sikamikanico’ one of Chili Peppers’ most hardcore and distinctive tracks.
In this mix of words and pop-culture rap, Kiedis mentions Frusciante in the first part, using some tricky wordplay. The main part, a mix of funk and rock from the past, slowly changes into a wild ending jam. In this part, Smith plays his whole drum set like crazy, while Frusciante plays breezy guitar sounds.
Behind the Sun
In the song “Behind the Sun“, Kiedis tells a story about talking dolphins living behind the sun. When the song was released as a single in 1992 it became a chart success, reaching Number Seven on Billboard’s Alternative ranking. This achievement made it the only track from the era when Slovak was in the band to reach such a high position on the charts.
This Velvet Glove
In “This Velvet Glove“, the rhythm section comes in during the chorus, it gives a nice change from the sad feeling in the verses. However, this Californication song has the vibes as if Kiedis and Frusciante sit with unplugged guitars, facing each other like they’re making up. With one of his most touching singing performances, Kiedis honors his bandmate (“John says to live above hell”) with a playful rhythm guitar in the background. The song also talks about how addiction can deeply affect someone and the journey of healing.
“Slow Cheetah” is a song from Red Hot Chili Peppers‘ 2006 album Stadium Arcadium. The song is characteristic of the band’s stylistic shift from rap and funk towards a mellower sound, evident in their latest albums. “Slow Cheetah” is unusual in that it is one of the few songs on Stadium Arcadium to feature the use of an acoustic guitar.
For much of Stadium Arcadium, guitarist John Frusciante experiments with a vast array of synthesized effects. The ghostly outro of “Slow Cheetah” is a clear example of Frusciante’s affinity for psychedelia, and provides a stark contrast to the song’s acoustic beginning. The backwards guitar at the song’s outro is similar to 1991’s “Give It Away”, where Frusciante used the same technique.”
Sir Psycho Sexy
“Sir Psycho Sexy” is one of the longest songs in Red Hot Chili Peppers‘ collection—a remarkable achievement for a band known for daring lyrics. Lasting over eight minutes, the song has Kiedis acting as a somewhat exaggerated storyteller, sharing sexual adventure stories. In a 1994 interview with Rolling Stone, Kiedis answered questions about whether the song is appropriate for younger listeners, highlighting its controversial and explicit nature.
Get on Top
In the song “Get On Top” from 1999, Red Hot Chili Peppers continue to mix different sounds; they show how versatile they are. Guitarist John Frusciante takes inspiration from various places. He blends a rhythm similar to Public Enemy with a guitar part influenced by Steve Howe‘s work in 1972 – “Yes.” This mix adds to the song’s style, and this demonstrates the band’s skill in crossing musical boundaries.