Sunday, 14 September 2014

Red Hot Chili Peppers Top 50

If my announcement that my next top 50 would be the Red Hot Chili Peppers is anything to go by, they're definitely a band that polarise opinion.  Some of you were really looking forward to this one, others poured scorn on them as a one song band or a bit of a joke.  Probably a hint of truth in both of those criticisms, but as I'm here doing this chart I obviously see it from a different angle.  Yes, the lyrics were quite often daft rhymes and in-jokes that most people wouldn't dare utter in public, but despite the socks, lightbulbs and flaming helmets etc. they have always made people move and have always been extremely good at the art of "the song", as many of the higher entries in my chart demonstrate.

I may have heard bits and pieces here and there but I first got into the Red Hot Chili Peppers when I saw a piece on Raw Power in 1992 promoting 'What Hits?', which showed clips from videos throughout their career so far.  I promptly bought said album (nestling in the chronological paper record of my early collection between 'Stigma' by EMF and 'Broken' by Nine Inch Nails) and took it from there.

Alongside listening to the songs, as a 14 year old I remember studying the sleeve and working out which member was which and who were those people who didn't look like Anthony Kiedis, Flea, John Frusciante, Hillel Slovak, Chad Smith or Jack Irons?  Buying 'Blood Sugar Sex Magik' shortly after and trying to match the tattoos on the inner sleeve to the band members.  Buying the first four albums and discovering that, despite being in the original lineup, that Slovak and Irons weren't on the first album and first two albums respectively and that the mystery men were Jack Sherman and Cliff Martinez.  All the details that matter, all before Google was around to help me out.

Those first two albums, the first self-titled from 84 and 'Freaky Styley' from 85, were very patchy, hence their under-representation here.  'The Uplift Mofo Party Plan' was where the "proper" lineup came back together and where they hit their stride, but Hillel Slovak's tragic death interrupted that progress.  Enter Frusciante and Smith and the classic line-up was born.

Career highs of 'Mother's Milk' and 'Blood Sugar Sex Magik' followed and fame was assured, but the guitarist curse struck again as Frusciante departed from the limelight and after a few stops and starts Dave Navarro finally joined for the underrated 'One Hot Minute' album.  Some good songs were produced with Navarro but he never really fit in and it wasn't long before Frusciante was back and the band were reinvented.

Out went the brash funk-rock and bravado on the whole and in came a slightly introspective twist which reintroduced the band to the mainstream with a series of hit singles and the ever-bonkers videos that accompanied them.  I'm sure there were many that abandoned the band at this point, but just as many (if not more) would have joined the story and, like me years before, delved into the rich and variable back catalogue of an excellent band.

1. By the Way
2. Otherside
3. Higher Ground
4. Knock Me Down
5. My Friends
6. Under the Bridge
7. Give it Away
8. Jungle Man
9. Backwoods
10. Blood Sugar Sex Magik
11. I Could Have Lied
12. Breaking the Girl
13. Taste the Pain
14. Stone Cold Bush
15. Suck my Kiss
16. If You Have to Ask
17. Soul to Squeeze
18. Nobody Weird Like Me
19. Parallel Universe
20. Fight Like a Brave
21. Nevermind
22. Warped
23. Me and My Friends
24. Sir Psycho Sexy
25. The Righteous and the Wicked
26. Funky Monks
27. Apache Rose Peacock
28. My Lovely Man
29. Aeroplane
30. The Greeting Song
31. The Power of Equality
32. Can't Stop
33. Cabron
34. Coffee Shop
35. Naked in the Rain
36. Catholic School Girls Rule
37. Good Time Boys
38. Around the World
39. Californication
40. One Big Mob
41. Get Up and Jump
42. Subterranean Homesick Blues
43. Shallow Be Thy Game
44. Dani California
45. Johnny, Kick a Hole in the Sky
46. Organic Anti-Beat Box Band
47. Behind the Sun
48. Scar Tissue
49. Subway to Venus
50. No Chump Love Sucker

By Era
Red Hot Chili Peppers 1
Freaky Styley 3
The Uplift Mofo Party Plan 7
Mother's Milk 8
Blood Sugar Sex Magik 15
One Hot Minute 6
Californication 5
By the Way 3
Stadium Arcadium 1
I'm With You 0
Others 1

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