Readers' Poll: The Best Red Hot Chili Peppers Songs of All Time - Rolling Stone
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Readers’ Poll: The Best Red Hot Chili Peppers Songs of All Time

Your picks include ‘Suck My Kiss,’ ‘Under the Bridge’ and ‘Scar Tissue’

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The Red Hot Chili Peppers were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame over the weekend, validating a long, strange career in which they evolved from goofy funk pranksters into versatile songwriters with a deep catalog of rock radio staples. We asked you to name your favorite Chili Peppers tunes and compiled this Top 10. Click through to see your picks. 

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10. ‘Snow (Hey Oh)’

Over the years, the Chili Peppers have mastered a sort of ballad unique to their sound – wistful and melancholy, yet fluid and funky. "Snow (Hey Oh)," a single from their 2006 double album Stadium Arcadium, is one of the best examples of the quartet nailing this form.

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9. ‘By the Way’

The title track from the band's 2002 album ping-pongs wildly between melancholy balladry and crazed, hyperactive funk. It's one of the band's most bipolar cuts, and it serves as a showcase for their musical chops as the two extremes flow seamlessly together.

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8. ‘Can’t Stop’

"Can't Stop," the centerpiece of By the Way, pairs one of John Frusciante's most inspired funk guitar riffs with a plunging low end and Anthony Kiedis' best rapped verse since "Give It Away."

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7. ‘Higher Ground’

The Chili Peppers' cover of Stevie Wonder's "Higher Ground" is a great example of a band taking someone else's hit, putting their own spin on it and arguably turning out the definitive version of the song. That's hard to pull off, and even more so when you're working with source material by a genius like Wonder.

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6. ‘Scar Tissue’

Many assumed the Red Hot Chili Peppers were washed up in the wake of One Hot Minute, their only album with Dave Navarro as guitarist, but the band reestablished themselves as superstars with Californication, the first record of guitarist John Frusciante's second tenure in the band. "Scar Tissue," the first single, was a brilliant way to reintroduce the band to rock radio – the melody and tone recall the big ballads on Blood Sugar Sex Magik, but Frusciante's performance is both more mellow and expressive than ever before.

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5. ‘Suck My Kiss’

"Suck My Kiss" is one of the band's most aggressive hits, a heavy funk barn-burner with rapped verses by Kiedis that overflow with overt, unrestrained sexuality.

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4. ‘Californication’

The title track from the band's 1999 comeback album was the fourth single from the record, but it ended up becoming one of their all-time biggest hits, cracking the Billboard Hot 100 and landing at the top of the rock radio charts.

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3. ‘Sir Psycho Sexy’

"Sir Psycho Sexy" is the band's dirtiest, funkiest song, and as such has become a major fan favorite and concert staple. The groove is straight-up P-Funk, with a rude bass line from Flea setting the stage for a series of XXX vignettes sung with cartoonish bravado by Kiedis.

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2. ‘Soul to Squeeze’

The Chili Peppers were so totally in the zone at the time they made Blood Sugar Sex Magik that a brilliant cut like "Soul to Squeeze" could be considered expendable. The song was first set aside as a bonus track for the "Give It Away" and "Under the Bridge" CD singles, but it became one of their biggest hits when it was released as part of the Coneheads soundtrack. It's a strange home for one of the band's best ballads, but hey, at least that soundtrack rescued it from obscurity.

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1. ‘Under the Bridge’

"Under the Bridge" is unquestionably the band's signature hit, so it's hardly a surprise that it won this poll by a landslide. It's been a rock radio staple for two decades now, yet it still manages to sound fresh and distinct. A lot of the credit for the song's success should go to John Frusciante, who peppers his chords with gorgeous flourishes worthy of Jimi Hendrix.

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