Although I hate blanket statements, it’s somewhat safe to say that most folk usually think of the same five or six songs when they think about the Red Hot Chili Peppers: Californication, Can’t Stop, Danni California, Scar Tissue, and By the Way (you can thank MTV for that). And although these are all wonderful songs no matter how you spin it, a lot of their best work usually goes unnoticed, or kept alive only by the staunchest fans.
So here’s a few of the most overlooked RHCP offerings that have blessed only some of the worlds ears.
Good Time Boys
The band’s insanely overlooked 1989 fourth album Mothers’ Milk contains some of the finest work they’ve ever put out to date. Vibrant, powerful, and full of that RHCP charm you know and love, it’s a gift for your earholes.
Knock Me Down
Another song from Mother’s Milk, and one that went against the band’s back-then hedonistic/sexual undertones. This one is about letting your friends know you need help, especially when you’re addicted. Beautiful backing vocals by Vicki Calhoun aso make the whoe thing pop.
Taste the Pain
Yet another gem from Mother’s Milk. A beautifully different offering from the band’s usual style, featuring quite the artsy music video. It was one of the few songs that featured bassist Flea’s impressive trumpet skills to boot.
Power of Equality
The first track from the band’s intense 1991 album Blood Sugar Sex Magic, this one rhymes about the benefits of not being a dick. I.E: not being racist, sexist, prejudiced, and whatever else you should never be. It’s also one of their most body-shaking works.
This Velvet Glove
A gorgeous track from the band’s most successful album to date – Californication. It is perhaps the most stark example of what previous (and legendary) guitarist/vocalist John Frusciante had to offer to the band’s eclectic style.
A particularly raw and oddly sensual piece from Californication, this one is a more energetic, slightly grungy offering starring Flea’s subtle bass work and Frusciante’s almost bleeding guitar style.
Hard to believe that this beautiful B-side from their Californication album almost replaced their iconic song, Porcelain. According to lead singer Anthony Kiedis’s autobiography book, Scar TIssue, it was bumped due to a rushed release.
Another B-side from Californication, this one sports some of Flea’s most pounding basslines, one of Anthony best choruses, and then-guitarist’s John Frusciante’s finest and most chilling backing vocals.
Body of Water
An obscure B-side to The Zephyr Song single from the band’s 2002 album By the Way, Body of Water is particularly grungy for the band’s usual tastes. It’s powerful, melodic, soulful, and it makes for an interesting car ride.
Rivers of Avalon
The second B-side to The Zephyr Song, Rivers of Avalon is pretty far-removed from By the Way’s musical direction. So it’s no wonder that it didn’t wind up on the actual album. Thankfully for us, its fantastical composition managed to see the light of day.
Arguably By the Way’s most praised and underrated tracks, Midnight is a soft, mellow piece sporting some of the best vocal work the band has ever done, accompanied by some seriously bombastic string instruments and a chorus like no other.
I can’t really explain Warm Tape from By the Way. It’s one of those things you have to hear to try and formulate your own opinions. All I can say is that listening to it is like putting your ears on a surfboard and pushing it down Frusciante’s guitar strings.
A hidden extra track from By the Way only available through iTunes, Bicycle Song is a wonderful song about how useful bicycles are, and how they’re wonderful inventions or something. Whatever, it’s really nice.
2011’s I’m With You might have not been the most impressive offering from the band, but it did sport a few noteworthy tracks. Most notably is this groovy ditty sporting some of current guitarist Josh Klinghoffer’s string work.
Dreams of a Samurai
Honestly, the band’s 2016 effort The Getaway is criminally underappreciated the world over. Sure, everybody knows Dark Necessities, but this somber, haunting track is something that truly shows you the kind of range this group is capable of.