The Red Hot Chili Peppers have built an enduring legacy of songs and maintained a high degree of popularity throughout four separate decades. The band has mixed funk along with hard rock riffs and have appealed to several generations of modern rock and alternative music fans. They are led by bassist Flea and singer Anthony Kiedis. Former members include Jack Irons (drums, later of Pearl Jam) and Hillel Slovak (guitars, now deceased). Each album from the group between 1989-2006 went Platinum or higher, despite years between recordings – often due to Kiedis’ drug use. The band changed lineups early, and nearly split when Slovak died of a heroin overdose in 1988. In their early period, the group was best known for appearing on stage wearing only socks covering their genitals.

The band’s breakthrough album was 1989′s Mother’s Milk, featuring a frantic cover of Stevie Wonder’s “Higher Ground” and the anti drug song “Knock Me Down”. ┬áThe group now included drummer Chad Smith and guitarist John Frusciante. ┬áThis led to 1991′s Blood Sugar Sex Magic which made the group superstars. Produced by Rick Rubin, the group’s mix of funk and rock elements sounded ever more contemporary, as hip-hop was influencing rock and visa versa. Though the Chili Peppers sound had not changed much they sounded fresh to maintstream audiences.

The lead single from Blood Sugar Sex Magic was the high energy “Give It Away”, which went to number one on the Modern Rock charts. The reflective second single about Los Angeles was “Under the Bridge“. The poignant lyrics about isolation were set to a mellow groove and an uplifting ending. The song was a monster hit, peaking at #2 on the Hot 100 and becoming a worldwide hit. Other hits from the album included “Suck My Kiss” and “Breaking the Girl”. The album has since sold more then seven million copies.