Despite going through a several different line-up changes, the Red Hot Chili Peppers have been able to stay successful and continue to write great music. With nine albums under their belt, one could very easily be intimidated to hear them for the very first time. I’ve come up with a list of my top ten songs by them and I hope it will provide a good introduction and help you understand this California band a little bit more.
10. “Higher Ground” off of Mother’s Milk
This funky version of the popular song by Stevie Wonder has some really cool bass work from Flea. Although it’s not originally their song, the Chili Peppers were able to turn it into their own unique version that separated it from the original. The song has been in a couple of movies and even a music video game called Guitar Hero.
9. “Aeroplane” off of One Hot Minute
“Aeroplane” was perhaps the most accessible song off of One Hot Minute, which had Dave Navarro replace John Frusciante, who had left due to his dislike of the Chili Peppers’ sudden popularity. The song’s very catchy and has some great funky guitar work from Navarro, who had also played in Jane’s Addiction.
8. “Soul to Squeeze” off of the Coneheads soundtrack
Oddly enough, this little gem of a song was released on the soundtrack for the comedy Coneheads. It was a b-side before on a few singles too and was actually supposed to be on Blood Sugar Sex Magik. It’s one of the Chili Peppers’ slower songs, but it has a very catchy melody and some great bass lines by Flea.
7. “Parallel Universe” off of Californication
Four years after their last album, John Frusciante decided to get back together with the Chili Peppers and the result was one of their finest albums. “Parallel Universe” had some wonderful rapid guitar and bass work from Frusciante and Flea. The song explodes at the chorus and it’s one of my favorite songs to listen to through headphones.
6. “Road Trippin'” off of Californication
Although it is the least popular single off of Californication, “Road Trippin'” has a wonderful melody and some great lyrics by Keidis. It’s a rather short song for ending the album, but it was definitely meant to be short and sweet.
5. “Can’t Stop” off of By The Way
With some great interplay between Flea’s bass and Frusciante’s guitar, “Can’t Stop” has almost always been played live by the Red Hot Chili Peppers since its release. The chorus is very melodic and catchy and provides a great contrast to the dueling work.
4. “Breaking the Girl” off of Blood Sugar Sex Magik
The first thing you notice when you hear this song is probably all the drumming going on in the background. The song’s about a relationship gone bad, but the song is done in a very melodic way. I’d say it’s one of the Chili Peppers most serious songs but that doesn’t stop it from being very good.
3. “Give It Away” off of Blood Sugar Sex Magik
This funky rock song got some huge airplay and radios and on television with its unique and interesting music video. With some crazy solo guitar work done by John Frusciante and slick vocals from Anthony Kiedis, “Give It Away” will likely be mentioned by many Red Hot Chili Peppers fans as their favorite song.
2. “Scar Tissue” off of Californication
When the song was first released in 1999, it stayed at the top of the charts for the longest out of any of the Chili Peppers’ singles. This song has some wonderful weeping guitar riffs from Frusciante, which is one of the main reasons why it’s one of my favorites by the band.
1. “Under The Bridge” off of Blood Sugar Sex Magik
This is likely the song that brought the Chili Peppers to where they are today. The music video for this song about Kiedis’ drug addiction got a lot of airplay on MTV at the time. With a church choir involved and Frusciante’s Hendrix-esque guitar playing, this song was essentially destined to be a hit.
The Red Hot Chili Peppers show no signs of slowing down, as they recently released their ninth album, Stadium Arcadium, which spans two discs. The band just started a tour and will be playing in various cities throughout the United States.