Whether you are a long-time devotee or have only recently discovered Red Hot Chili Peppers, you’ll know they are a band whose legacy is rarely matched. From their self-titled debut in 1984 through to 2022’s Unlimited Love, they are a band who have punked and funked their way into being culture-defining icons.
Here are 8 reasons that make our beloved RHCP one of the all-time greats.
The Chili’s formed in 1983 in Los Angeles by founding and present-day members Anthony Kiedis and Flea, along with Hillel Slovak and Jack Irons. They went through a couple of line-up changes and lived through the untimely death of Slovak all in the first five years of being a band. It was in 1989 when Chad Smith and John Frusciante joined for the Mother’s Milk album, that the Chili’s first saw commercial success – and this line-up of Flea, Kiedis, Smith and Frusciante is the one that stands proud today holding up their incredible legacy (albeit a few brief detours via Dave Navarro, Josh Klinghoffer & more). In just shy of four decades of being a band, RHCP has released 13 studio albums, 12 compilation albums, 5 EPs and 2 live albums from which we’ve had 62 singles and 49 music videos. We are grateful for their ongoing dedication and hard work!
2. Awards and accolades
RHCP have been nominated for a whopping 19 GRAMMY Awards of which they have won six. They’ve reached the top of the Billboard Chart with 13 number one singles and hold the record for the most culminating weeks on the Billboard Alternative Songs chart at 87 weeks. You simply can’t argue with these stats that are a mark of their persistence and influence, not only on music fans but on the music industry bodies that award such recognition. Just this week, RHCP were given their very own star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame. Given the number of songs that reference their home state, it was long overdue.
3. Anthony’s Lyrics
Anthony Kiedis is a modern-day poet, no doubt. Whether he’s rapping at the speed of light or singing as sweetly as a lullaby, his words have depth and intention. Tales of love or love-lost, pain or politics or simply the connection he holds to California, there’s something relatable for everyone. Lyrics to the classics like Under The Bridge, Californication and Give It Away are etched into the minds of every 30+ human on earth, and provide some of the greatest sing-along moments in the soundtrack to our lives.
4. Sound Dynamics
If you’re asked to name which genre the Chili’s fit into, would it be accurate to just say “rock”? No way! Since their inception, this is a band who have seamlessly blended everything from punk, and hard rock to rap and jazz fusion. You’d be amiss not to include pop given how popular they’ve remained amongst various charts that determine such titles. Mixing genres has never been about trying to fit into a category for the Chili’s, if anything they’ve aimed to bust through any box or label. This melting pot of sound is equally matched with the dynamics in their sounds and tones, much of which can be attributed to the band's long-time producer and studio mastermind – Rick Rubin.
5. Flea’s Energy
A hurricane in human form, bassist Flea bounces around the stage and video set as though his bass guitar is pumping vibrations through every cell in his body. With childlike enthusiasm, his infectious spirit and non-stop jumping, thrashing, and swirling – combined with some of the funkiest basslines known to man – make him an energetic force that can’t be matched by peers even half his age. Whatever fountain Flea drinks from, we want some of that!
Anthony Kiedis’ 2004 autobiography Scar Tissue was as gripping as it was eye-opening. A tale of the frontman’s darkest moments and insight into a life of adventure, risk, fame and all the baggage that comes with it. It’s a book that is still commonly front-facing in book stores music and autobiography sections. Equally, Flea’s 2019 memoir, Acid For The Children, lets us into the crazy yet loveable mind of a man who loves life with the innocence of a child doing everything for the first time. Both of these life stories are evidence of a life well-lived, of two imperfect men just trying to make the most of their time on this planet and to spread light through their penmanship. Both are very different but satisfying reads that we recommend.
7. Art & Aesthetic
From iconic album cover art to insane music video concepts, RHCP never disappoint when it comes to a creative aesthetic as out-there as their music. They have entrusted that creative vision to modern icons of art and film including Stephane Sednaoui, Gus Van Sant and Mark Romanek. Check out our top picks for RHCP Music videos below.
8. Unlimited Love
It happens to be the name of their new album but it’s also representative of the incredible relationship the Chili’s have built with their fans over the years. They are a band who loves their fans and it shows at every live show. Cue nostalgia: if you ever saw them at a Big Day Out or on one of multiple Aussie tours, you’ll know they are a band that give nothing short of 110% every night. The energy and the synergy between band and crowd is a truly magical experience, a bond that is only made stronger over time. They were the band that started as a voice for alternative kids and misfits and have become the band of a new generation. When you look around at a RHCP concert you see the kids of the 40-something old-school fans, lapping it up, belting out every word to every song their parents have played at home since they were in the womb. Cyclic, unconditional love, repeated through generations of music fans, standing the test of time.
There are plenty more reasons for RHCP being one of the greats – if you want to add to this list, simply comment on our Facebook post!
Red Hot Chili Peppers' highly anticipated 12th studio album, Unlimited Love is out tnow)! The LP is available on CD, vinyl and cassette tape, along with a range of awesome merch bundles that include a t-shirt, hoodie, poster and more. Check out the options and get Unlimited Love, here.
“We yearn to shine a light in the world, to uplift, connect, and bring people together. Each of the songs on our new album UNLIMITED LOVE, is a facet of us, reflecting our view of the universe. This is our life’s mission. We work, focus, and prepare, so that when the biggest wave comes, we are ready to ride it. The ocean has gifted us a mighty wave and this record is the ride that is the sum of our lives. Thank you for listening, we hope you enjoy it.”
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