31 Best Red Hot Chili Peppers Songs

The Red Hot Chili Peppers are one of the best-selling bands of all time and one of the most successful acts the world has ever seen. They hold numerous records on commercial charts, have won six Grammy Awards, received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and have already been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Known for their funky and melodic style of rock music, they’re also one of the most unique groups out there today. In this article, we’ll look at the 31 best songs the Red Hot Chili Peppers have ever produced.

1. Under The Bridge

Red Hot Chili Peppers - Under The Bridge [Official Music Video]

There are plenty of tracks you can make a really good argument to put as the best Red Hot Chili Peppers song of all time. Under The Bridge just has something different about it that makes it so powerful, so good, and so successful. It’s an emotional track that Anthony Kiedis wrote about loneliness and struggling to be clean from drugs, something that resonated with a lot of people.

As their highest-charting single, it’s fairly easy to place it as one of their absolute best songs. It rose to number two on the Billboard Hot 100 and was a Top 10 hit internationally. A standout of their amazing Blood Sugar Sex Magik album in 1991, it wasn’t just one of their best tracks, but one of the best alternative rock songs of the decade

2. Californication

Red Hot Chili Peppers - Californication (Official Music Video) [HD UPGRADE]

Californication breathed life into the Red Hot Chili Peppers, even when it had never left. The title track of their 1999 album, this song took on all the sexual references they had become known for and added serious themes that resonated with fans.

To this day, it’s one of their most popular live songs. Though it took them a long time to get right, it eventually became one of their biggest hits, reaching number 69 on the Billboard Hot 100, number 16 on the UK Singles chart, and number one on both the Mainstream Rock Tracks and Modern Rock charts. 

3. Soul To Squeeze

Red Hot Chili Peppers - Soul To Squeeze [Official Music Video]

Originally, Soul To Squeeze was recorded for Blood Sugar Sex Magik, but it was decided that it wouldn’t feature on the album. It wound up as the B-side to Give It Away and Under The Bridge before being released as a single in 1993. All of that is odd, seeing as the track became an absolute fan favorite and easily ranks among their best songs today.

It would eventually become a commercial success as well, topping the Modern Rock Track chart and peaking at number 22 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the US. You can find it on their 2003 Greatest Hits album, as well as listen to it on their Live Rare Remix Box and The Plasma Shaft

4. Scar Tissue

Red Hot Chili Peppers - Scar Tissue [Official Music Video]

Another massive favorite from Californication, Scar Tissuealso the title of Anthony Kiedis’ book—saw the Red Hot Chili Peppers experimenting with melodic rock instead of the funky and psychedelic style they normally stuck to, notably containing an incredible guitar solo. It spent a record—at the time—16 weeks on top of the Hot Modern Rock Tracks chart and climbed up to number nine on the Billboard Hot 100 after release. In 2000, it then went on to win the Grammy Award for Best Rock Song. 

5. The Zephyr Song

Red Hot Chili Peppers - The Zephyr Song [Official Music Video]

When I first got into the Red Hot Chili Peppers, I remember hearing Zephyr Song and loving it, but until now, I never knew how popular it was. Coming from their 2002 By The Way album, this borrows its first three notes from the original Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory’s Pure Imagination. It, unfortunately, broke the band’s streak of consecutive number-one singles, but still did well, topping out at number six on the US Modern Rock chart. 

6. Give It Away

Red Hot Chili Peppers - Give It Away [Official Music Video]

Give It Away started as just a jam session tune but wound up finding international success and is one of Red Hot Chili Peppers most recognizable tracks today. It was the first song for the band to reach the top of the Modern Rock Tracks chart in 1991 and made its way inside of the top 75 of the Hot 100 in 1992. It was one of the songs that helped them turn into a musical juggernaut, thanks in part to the heavy rotation it saw on MTV and the Grammy Award it won for Best Hard Rock Performance with Vocals. 

7. Suck My Kiss

Red Hot Chili Peppers - Suck My Kiss [Official Music Video]

Suck My Kiss is a major fan favorite of the Red Hot Chili Peppers despite not being released as a physical single in the US. It hit radio waves in 1991 as one of the airplay single releases for Blood Sugar Sex Magik and made its way to number 15 on the Modern Rock Tracks chart. 

8. Snow (Hey Oh)

Red Hot Chili Peppers - Snow (Hey Oh) (Official Music Video)

Snow (Hey Oh) is just such a beautiful song, and it’s so hard to not see your mood get lifted up when you listen to it. It was released as part of Red Hot Chili Peppers’ 2006 double album Stadium Arcadium and sat at the top of the Modern Rock chart for five consecutive weeks. It was the track that earned them the record for number-one singles on that chart, a record they have held since then and expanded upon. 

9. Can’t Stop

Red Hot Chili Peppers - Can't Stop [Official Music Video]

The third single to be released from the band’s 2002 album By The Way, Can’t Stop has one of the most infectious guitar riffs you’ll ever be blessed enough to hear. It was a standout track on the album, both in terms of how great it was and also in its sound. It has a distinctively energetic quality to it that draws on both punk and funk in a way that most of the other songs on the album don’t. It became Red Hot Chili Peppers eighth number one on the Modern Rock Tracks chart, holding the top spot for three weeks. 

10. Otherside

Red Hot Chili Peppers - Otherside [Official Music Video]

Otherside continued the trend from Under The Bridge of describing the battle addicts have when they try to leave behind their addictions. It served as the third single to be released from Californication in 1999 and referred to a former band member Hillel Slovak, who had died of an overdose in 1988. Eventually, it became one of the band’s most successful singles, reaching number 14 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number one on the Alternative Songs chart. 

11. By The Way

Red Hot Chili Peppers - By The Way [Official Music Video]

The title track of Red Hot Chili Peppers’ 2002 album, By The Way is one of the best examples of the band’s ability to combine melodic riffs with high-energy rhythms. It has one of the craziest music videos ever too, seeing frontman Anthony Kiedis kidnapped by a cab driver and eventually being rescued by Flea and John Frusciante, but the cabbie then kidnaps drummer Chad Smith instead. 

12. Higher Ground

Higher Ground (Remastered 2003)

Higher Ground didn’t start out as a Red Hot Chili peppers song. It was originally written and recorded by the great Stevie Wonder back in 1973. The band’s cover of the track is absolutely amazing though and helped them break through to international success. It was released as part of their Mothers Milk album and was named by Total Guitar Magazine as the second greatest cover ever. 

13. Dark Necessities

Red Hot Chili Peppers - Dark Necessities [Official Music Video]

Look, pretty much all of the songs so far on this list came from fairly early Red Hot Chili Peppers albums, at least the ones after they had become a pretty big deal. This one though came out in 2016. Dark Necessities was the first single to be released from their 2016 album The Getaway and had a limited cassette release that came with the album’s deluxe package.

It gave the band their 13th number-one and 25th Top 10 single on the Alternative Airplay chart, which was both records at the time. It then became the fourth track ever to top the Alternative Songs, Mainstream Rock, and Adult Alternative Songs charts simultaneously. 

14. Dani California

Red Hot Chili Peppers - Dani California [Official Music Video]

Dani California is one of the band’s highest-charting tracks on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at number six and giving them their third single to reach the Top 10 when it did so. One of the best entries on the 2006 album Stadium Arcadium, it became the second-ever song to debut at the top of the Modern Rock Tracks chart, a spot it held for 14 weeks in a row.

It also spent 12 weeks straight on top of the Mainstream Rock chart and won two Grammy Awards: Best Rock Song and Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals. 

15. Sir Psycho Sexy

Sir Psycho Sexy is one of the few underrated tracks on Blood Sugar Sex Magik, but it was around before that album was released. It originally was written and performed on the band’s Mothers Milk Tour in 1989 and was one of the main reasons they got such a sexual reputation. The titular character seems to be an alter ego of their vocalist, detailing several sexual experiences from his life. 

16. Aeroplane

Red Hot Chili Peppers - Aeroplane [Official Music Video]

It’s about time we got to the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ 1995 album One Hot Minute. Aeroplane was a standout on the album and served as the third official single release for it. It combined Flea’s skill on the base with a much more pop-oriented sound than normal for the band, giving them something more radio-friendly than our last entry. It was oddly excluded from their Greatest Hits album, but the music video for it was included on the DVD that came with the hits album. 

17. I Could Have Lied

I Could Have Lied was spontaneously written by Anthony Kiedis and John Frusciante after the former’s girlfriend—and wonderful singer in her own right—Sinead O’Connor broke up with him via answering machine message. He admitted to cheating on her in the song, and the track is about his thoughts after the breakup, thinking he could have just lied about it. 

18. Parallel Universe

Parallel Universe was released in 2001 as the sixth and final official single release from Californication. It was one of the only songs on the album that doesn’t include the funk-style basslines that the Red Hot Chili Peppers are so well known for and used the most distortion out of anything on the album. In a word, you could say it’s loud.

Since its release, it’s been one of their most-performed tracks. Commercially, it rose to number 37 on the US Modern Rock Tracks chart. 

19. Breaking the Girl

Red Hot Chili Peppers - Breaking The Girl [Official Music Video]

Anthony Kiedis wrote songs about his experiences, as did most of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Breaking The Girl describes the up-and-down relationship the vocalist had with a former girlfriend and was the best ballad on Blood Sugar Sex Magik. The fourth single released for the album, its rhythms grow increasingly complex as the track goes on. It made it to number 19 and number 15 on the US Alternative Airplay and Mainstream Rock charts, respectively. 

20. Around The World

Red Hot Chili Peppers - Around The World [Official Music Video]

Just before Breaking The Girl was released, Around The World was the second single to come from Californication. Eventually, it rose to number seven on the Modern Rock Tracks chart and number 16 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart. After eight years, the song was edited—a lot—and used as part of the soundtrack for the Rockin’ California Screamin’ ride at Disney California Adventure. 

21. Venice Queen

When Anthony Kiedis went through drug rehabilitation, his therapist Gloria Scott was a big reason why he came through it successfully. The two became close friends after keeping in touch and he gifted her a home in Venice Beach, California. She would, unfortunately, pass away shortly after receiving the gift, prompting him to write Venice Queen as an ode to his dear friend and the person who had helped him so much. 

22. Me And My Friends

It doesn’t matter that the Red Hot Chili Peppers have seemed to have a revolving door of members since they were formed, they’re all close friends. Me And My Friends is an ode to that friendship, and despite never being released as a single, it saw a little bit of play on the radio and is the oldest song the band still performs today. 

23. Blood Sugar Sex Magik

Blood Sugar Sex Magik

The titular song of Red Hot Chili Peppers’ legendary Blood Sugar Sex Magik album served as the 10th track on the album. It wasn’t ever the biggest song on it, but a performance of it by the band at Woodstock in 1994 was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock Performance.

24. Behind The Sun

Behind The Sun came out on the band’s 1987 album The Uplift Mofo Party Plan but wasn’t officially released as a single until 1992 to promote their compilation album. Its release saw it rise to number seven on the Modern Rock Tracks chart. 

25. Show Me Your Soul

Show Me Your Soul was recorded during the first part of the Mothers Milk Tour and was intended for the soundtrack of the film Pretty Woman. It was not included on US releases of Red Hot Chili Peppers albums, only in the film soundtrack. Despite that, it still made it to number 10 on the Modern Rock Tracks chart. 

26. Fortune Faded

Red Hot Chili Peppers - Fortune Faded [Official Music Video]

Fortune Faded was a notable release because the band put it out as a promotional single for their Greatest Hits album in 2003. It was originally recorded for By The Way, but it wasn’t a big hit with them, so it was changed and rerecorded as an original song on their Greatest Hits album. 

27. I Could Die For You

I Could Die for You

Many fans long for one-on-one time with their favorite artists or bands and never get it. I Could Die For You is meant to be that kind of time in just a small way. The song is supposed to make you feel like it’s just you and Anthony Kiedis and does a good job of making the individual feel very special. 

28. Porcelain

Porcelain was inspired by a struggling mother and daughter that Anthony Kiedis had stumbled upon at one point in his life, living in a YMCA and trying to get sober. It’s a beautiful track and one that doesn’t always get the recognition it deserves in conversations about the best Red Hot Chili Pepper songs. 

29. Black Summer

Red Hot Chili Peppers - Black Summer (Official Music Video)

While it’s obvious that the Red Hot Chili Peppers nailed almost all of their songs in the 90s and 2000s, the 2020s started off strong for them. Their 12th studio album Unlimited Love was released in 2022, and Black Sumer was the first single to be released from the album. It was also the first track to feature guitarist John Frusciante after a 10-year hiatus.

This became an instant rock hit, reaching the top of the Alternative Airplay chart to give them their 14th number one and setting or tying several records. It would also go on to win the MTV Video Music Award for Best Rock Video in 2022. 

30. Get On Top

Get On Top was inspired by Public Enemy during a jam session where John Frusciante came up with the rhythm for the song. Very much heavy on the sexual side, it’s a big fan favorite that contains an excellent guitar solo. 

31. Road Trippin’

Red Hot Chili Peppers - Road Trippin' [Official Music Video]

Road Trippin’ was the final single to be released from Californication in 2000, but only in Europe and Australia. Commercially, it rose to number 30 on the UK Singles chart and number 56 on the Australia ARIA chart. A music video was made for it, but held back until the release of the band’s Greatest Hits album and accompanying DVD.


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