Alternative Rock is this week’s genre for Song Lyric Sunday, hosted by our good friend, Jim Adams. I found it to be a refreshing change at the time with bands like The Cure, Peal Jam, REM, Green Day and my favorite, The Red Hot Chili Peppers. I would say that RHCP are an alternative rock band although others might argue they are funk with some punk. So for my choice I have gone with a mellow alternative rock song by the Peppers called ‘Under The Bridge’. This was a little out of the mainstream for them and I’m sure you all know it as it turned out to be their biggest hit. Have a great Song Lyric Sunday!
Red Hot Chili Peppers lead singer Anthony Kiedis wrote “Under The Bridge” about his days as a heroin addict and the loneliness that went with it. The bridge mentioned in the song is a place where he sometimes went to buy drugs and get high.
After four albums of unorthodox hardcore funk, Red Hot Chili Peppers landed a huge hit with the ballad “Under The Bridge,” which was not at all typical of their sound. The song went all the way to #2 on the Hot 100 (behind “Jump” by Kris Kross) and got on playlists with the likes of Celine Dion and Michael Bolton. It remains their biggest hit.
The song was particularly challenging for Kiedis to sing during the Blood Sugar Sex Magik tour, but the Chili Peppers became comfortable with the sound and followed it up with more slower singles like “Soul to Squeeze” and “Breaking the Girl.” It didn’t feel like a sell-out because these songs were all very heartfelt, just a lot more vulnerable than their previous work.
This song was originally just a poem that Anthony Kiedis wrote. He didn’t write it for the Chili Peppers – it was a very personal poem that he thought he might use somewhere else. Their producer Rick Rubin found it in one of his notebooks and told Anthony that it could be a great song. At first, he didn’t want to sing it or share it with anyone, but he eventually came around.
Rubin recalled to Newsweek in a 2013 interview: “My thinking was that the Chili Peppers were not limited to being a funk band with rapping. And I remember Anthony was embarrassed to show the song to the other guys in the band. But he sang it to John [Frusciante, guitarist] and John came up with his part. Then he played it for Flea [bassist] and Flea came up with his part. And it ended up being a really good song—even though they didn’t realize how good it was until people starting responding to it.”
The band got a headlining slot on the 1992 Lollapalooza Tour when this song became a hit. The gig greatly expanded their fan base and showcased their skills as a very energetic live band, but beneath the surface, all was not well. The band was burned out and feuding; John Frusciante quit in the middle of the tour, and their bass player Flea crashed hard when they finally got off the road in October 1992. They took some time to recuperate (Flea kicked his drug habit) and returned in 1995 with the album One Hot Minute.
The “City of Angels” Anthony Kiedis sings about here is Los Angeles, where he lived since he was 12 years old. Much of the song deals with his relationship with the city. “It really repulses me these days,” he told Goldmine in 1996. “Just sucking in that toxic cloud of hellish smog every day that I live… not a pleasant thought. But I do have a strong family tie to that city that I’ll probably never be able to sever.”
Sometimes I feel like I don't have a partner Sometimes I feel like my only friend Is the city I live in, the city of angels Lonely as I am, together we cry I drive on her streets 'cause she's my companion I walk through her hills 'cause she knows who I am She sees my good deeds and she kisses me windy Well, I never worry, now that is a lie I don't ever wanna feel Like I did that day Take me to the place I love Take me all the way I don't ever wanna feel Like I did that day Take me to the place I love Take me all the way Yeah, yeah, yeah It's hard to believe that there's nobody out there It's hard to believe that I'm all alone At least I have her love, the city, she loves me Lonely as I am, together we cry I don't ever wanna feel Like I did that day Take me to the place I love Take me all the way I don't ever wanna feel Like I did that day Take me to the place I love Take me all the way Yeah, yeah, yeah Oh, no, no-no, yeah, yeah Love me, I say, yeah yeah One time (Under the bridge downtown) Is where I drew some blood (Under the bridge downtown) I could not get enough (Under the bridge downtown) Forgot about my love (Under the bridge downtown) I gave my life away Yeah, yeah Oh, no, no-no-no, yeah, yeah Oh, no, I said, oh, yeah, yeah Where I stay Writer/s: Anthony Kiedis, Chad Gaylord Smith, John Anthony Frusciante, Michael Peter Balzary Publisher: MoeBeToBlame, Warner Chappell Music, Inc., WORDS & MUSIC A DIV OF BIG DEAL MUSIC LLC Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind