Red Hot Chili Peppers
Toiling in LA's club circuit for years, the Red Hot Chili Peppers finally pounded their funk/rap/rock into the mainstream with 1989's Mother's Milk. Making strange bedfellows of their native LA punk rock roots and love for Parliament/Funkadelic, the Chili Peppers earned respect from people of all walks of life when they crossed over into virtually every late-1980s subgenre: rap, funk, rock and punk. They covered Stevie Wonder's "Higher Ground" and Jimi Hendrix's "Fire," making them their own with Anthony Kiedis' revved-up, attitude-fueled song-raps, Flea's rapid-fire slapped bass and John Frusciante's whirling funk fretwork. RHCP were poised to break out of the twee pop-for-tough-guys era forever, immortalized by such offerings as "Under the Bridge," a drug addiction-themed song which may have been about the heroin overdose that killed original guitar player Hillel Slovak in 1998 or Kiedis' own drug addiction. In fact, various members of RHCP have always seemed to endure battles with the hard stuff. Following the success of 1991's Blood Sugar Sex Magic, John Frusciante left the band to fight his addictions mid-tour. Jane's Addiction's Dave Navarro eventually took his place, joining after the Peppers auditioned dozens of other six-string hopefuls. Despite being a good musical fit, Navarro left the band in 1998 following the lackluster album sales from One Hot Minute. In 1999, the band reunited with a rehabilitated Frusciante and released the aesthetically superior Californication. As far as sales and tour receipts were concerned, the album was a success, much more than the lukewarm and comparatively uninspired By The Way, which came out three years later. Stadium Arcadium, the surprisingly durable band's much ballyhooed ninth full-length, is a double-disc rekindling of all things red and hot. When the album was leaked onto the Internet prior to its May 2006 release, Flea made an impassioned plea to fans to boycott the illegal version.