On 11 February 2019 I set myself the challenging of reading 1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die by Robert Dimery (ed.) and following the book’s advice to the letter. I’ve previously read 1001 Films… and started 1001 Albums… but felt 1001 Songs… would be a sensible place to start for what I have in mind here.
My challenge is to read about one song per day and listen to it (YouTube and Spotify, I need you tonight!) before sharing my own thoughts. Some songs I will love, others I’ll hate, and I’m sure there will be those that leave me perplexed but listen to them I shall.
I’ll also try, and most likely fail, to pinpoint the best song from the 1001 on offer but I’m nothing if not foolhardy. Instead of one song, I’m predicting I’ll have about 100 favourites by the end and may have to resort to a Top 10 so far to maintain any semblance of sanity.
So long as I post everyday (including Christmas) then this challenge should come to an end on Wednesday 8 November 2021. Staying with the Barney Stinson theme I am hoping that the whole experience will prove to be…
Red Hot Chili Peppers – Give It Away (1991)
” Give It Away” is a song by American rock band Red Hot Chili Peppers from the group’s fifth studio album, Blood Sugar Sex Magik . It was released as the lead single from their album on September 4, 1991, by Warner Bros. Records.
We’re staying in the US but leaving Philadelphia and making our way across the entire continent to Los Angeles in California. Formed in 1983 Red Hot Chili Peppers are a rock band who have endured and survived through tough times including drug addiction and the death of one member – Hillel Slovak – in 1988 from a heroin overdose. When we join the group in 1991 it is with the release of their fifth album – Blood Sugar Sex Magik and 1001 Song have, unbelievably, bypassed Under the Bridge in favour of Give It Away.
Give It Away was inspired by singer Anthony Kiedis’ relationship with a former girlfriend by the name of Nina Hagen. She practised a daily philosophy of altruism and that she sought to enrich and make her life better by good deeds. Material possessions may bring happiness but giving them away to benefit others is far more important. The song title forms the chorus and taps into this message that so inspired Kiedis. The verses cover a range of topics such as giving to family members, references to Bob Marley and also explores sexual themes and fertility.
Blood Sugar Sex Magik was a breakthrough album for Red Hot Chili Peppers and made them global superstars. I owned this record in my early teens and overlooked Give It Away in favour of tracks such as Breaking the Girl and Under the Bridge which remains, for me, the group’s masterpiece. Give It Away would give the group their first UK Top 10 hit but it did not generally fare as well as Under the Bridge, even though it is now one of the Chilis’ best known songs.
Favourite songs so far: