Red Hot Chili Peppers’ backstory has all the ingredients for a blockbuster movie that could only be made in the band’s beloved Hollywood. The script begins with our heroes trapped in a wilderness of cult status, during which time they endure the death of a key band member; yet they emerge in triumph, go on to take their place among the best 90s musicians and then enjoy prolonged superstar status. Crucially, while all this unfolds, they alchemise a singular original sound, drawing upon funk, punk, rap and rock as they assemble a seminal catalogue of music – ensuring that when it comes to soundtracking a box-office smash, the best Red Hot Chili Peppers songs have all angles covered.
Listen to the best of Red Hot Chili Peppers here, and check out our best Red Hot Chili Peppers songs, below
20: True Men Don’t Kill Coyotes (from ‘The Red Hot Chili Peppers’, 1984)
With contractual issues with their other band, What Is This?, preventing original guitarist Hillel Slovak and drummer Jack Irons from appearing on the record, Red Hot Chili Peppers’ self-titled debut album was generally regarded as something of a compromise. Though they were big Gang Of Four fans, Flea and Anthony Kiedis didn’t get on with producer and GO4 guitarist Andy Gill, and they were still bedding in guitarist Jack Sherman and drummer Cliff Martinez while the album was recorded.
Despite the travails, The Red Hot Chili Peppers still had its highs, including the band’s firstly fully-realised classic, True Men Don’t Kill Coyotes. Chili Peppers biographer Dave Thompson later suggested this dark, tribal workout, which deals with the just-for-kicks craze for culling wild dogs in the Hollywood Hills, “ripped out of the speakers with the same animal passion as the beasts in the song”. One of the best Red Hot Chili Peppers songs, its bite still draws blood today.