The best Red Hot Chili Pepper songs ranked from 20 years of Rock 2000 Countdowns

The best Red Hot Chili Pepper songs ranked from 20 years of Rock 2000 Countdowns

When it comes to RHCP's performance in the history of the Rock 2000, it's time to Give It Away.

The Red Hot Chili Peppers have never won the Rock 2000 Countdown, but that doesn’t mean listeners don’t love them (or they haven’t come close). They’ve consistently had songs placing in the top 100 and you can always expect loads of their tracks in the business end of the countdown. 

Formed in 1982 (and originally called Tony Flow and the Miraculously Majestic Masters of Mayhem), vocalist Anthony Kiedis and bassist Flea have been part of the band since day dot. After original guitarist Hillel Slovak passed away from a drug overdose in 1988, drummer Jack Irons left the band. 

Chad Smith replaced Irons and John Frusciante stepped into the lead guitar role, and the new look Chilis found their groove, literally. Morphing rock, funk and even elements of hip-hop, the band soon became one of the most unique and beloved in the world. Forty years later, they are still delivering solid tunes to their millions of fans worldwide

The following list delves into data from across every single Rock 2000 countdown (including Rock 500, Rock 1000, and Rock 1500 countdowns), to explore AC/DC’s 15 most successful songs, as voted by Rock listeners. 


15. Dark Necessities (2016)

‘Dark Necessities’ was a favourite amongst Rock listeners as soon as it dropped in 2016, having appeared in the countdown every year since it came out. It peaked at number #57 that year and has achieved an average ranking of #493 in that time. 

The music video for the tune was directed by actress Olivia Wilde, who told ET fellas are “incredibly creative people” adding that you can “set them free and they’ll do 90 per cent of the work for you”. 

14. Aeroplane (1995)

‘Aeroplane’ from RHCP’s 1995 album ‘One Hot Minute has featured in every single Rock 2000 countdown, hovering around #478 and peaking at #71 (2002). 

For obvious reasons, the track was pulled from most US radio stations after the 9/11 attacks in 2001. 

13. Can’t Stop (2002)

During a soundcheck, bassist Flea started riffing on his guitar. As the band joined in they realised they had a legit tune on their hands, with the end result being ‘Can’t Stop’. 

The track has appeared in the Rock 2000 17 times, tending to place around the #457 spot. Its highest placing came in 2020 when it ended up at #207. 

12. Suck My Kiss (1991)

Placing in every countdown since 2008 (and in 2004), Rock 2000 voters love a bitta ‘Suck My Kiss’ action. It’s never dropped below #680 and has reached as high as #67 (2015), levelling out with an average ranking of #369. 

The track was actually recorded at a much faster tempo than how it was released, with the band and producer Rick Rubin deciding to slow the sound of the song down in post-production. 

11. Around The World (1999)

Because of Flea’s daughter, the outro chorus of ‘Around The World’ contains Keidis singing nonsense. The scat lyrics were originally placeholders for real lyrics, but after Flea’s daughter listened to the finished song, she preferred the version she heard when it was first being recorded, so, the band brought them back. 

Rock listeners love it just as much as the little one, as the song has appeared in 20 countdowns, peaking at #70 in 2003 and tending to place around #398. 

10. Dani California (2006)

‘Dani California’, the “runner, rebel and a stunner” as the lyrics describe her, is a character Kiedis created, inspired by all the women he’s been in relationships with. She’s been mentioned before in previous RHCP songs, such as ‘By The Way’. 

I don’t know the consensus from Kiedis’ ex-girlfriends, but Rock listeners sure do love the song. It’s appeared in every countdown since 2008, placing as high as #123 (2015) and holding an average ranking of #310. 

9. Higher Ground (1989) 

The Chili’s 1989 cover of Stevie Wonder’s 1973 track has appeared in every single Rock 2000 Countdown. Its top placing was at #149 in 2012 and it normally lands around the #277 mark.

According to Ultimate Guitar, when asked what he thought of the band’s cover, Stevie replied: “I like the publishing checks”.

Before you go hating on Stevie for hating on RHCP, he did once ask the band to play at a fundraiser for him so he probably doesn’t mind them at the least. 

8. Soul To Squeeze (1993)

For a song that was originally released as a single, not meant to feature on any album, ‘Soul To Squeeze’ has had a commendable Rock 2000 career. It’s been in 20 countdowns, normally placing around #307 and getting as high as #58 (2006). 

Loads of people became fans of the track after it was featured in the soundtrack of the 1993 film ‘Coneheads’.

7. Otherside (1999)

It’s believed ‘Otherside’ from the band’s 1999 album ‘Californication’ serves as a tribute to Slovak, who passed away from a heroin overdose in 1988. Kiedis also suffered from heroin addiction and the lyrics of the song allude to what that life is like. 

The track has also appeared in all but one Rock 2000 Countdown, and cracked the top 100 in its first five appearances (2003 - 2007) with a peak of #23 in 2003. Since then, it’s held a median ranking of #271. 

6. By The Way (2002)

The title track of the Chili’s 2002 album ‘By The Way’ has appeared in every countdown bar one, peaking at #99 in 2004 and normally lands around the #295 mark. 

It was released as the lead single for the album, which surprised the band. John Frusciante, according to Genius, said he thought the song “was an über-bombastic assault of non-commercialism” and was “shocked” at its positive reception.

5. Scar Tissue (1999)

RHCP’s 1999 track ‘Scar Tissue’ is one of the band’s most recognisable and celebrated, appearing in every single Rock 2000 Countdown. In Kiedis’ 2004 autobiography of the same name, he wrote that the song has “a playful, happy-to-be-alive, phoenix-rising-from-the-ashes vibe”. 

It peaked at #120 in 2007 and has never fallen out of the top 500, usually placing around #257. 

4. My Friends (1995)

‘My Friends’ is a song about the sad state Kiedis found himself and his bandmates in at the time the song was made. Flea was getting divorced, Navarro was struggling with addiction, and Smith was mega-frustrated with the time the album was taking to finish. 

Rock listeners resonate with the track as it has placed in every Rock 2000 Countdown ever, reaching as high as #18 in 2005 and holding a median ranking of #249. 

3. Give It Away (1991)

In the early ‘80s, Kiedes noticed a jacket he liked in his then-girlfriend Nina Hagen’s closet. Nina let him keep her beloved jacket, which shocked the vocalist and eventually inspired the track ‘Give It Away’. 

“That stuck with me forever,” he wrote in his biography. “Every time I'd be thinking 'I have to keep,' I'd remember 'No, you gotta give away instead.'.”

Rock listeners have given their votes away to the track, as it has always placed in the countdown. In that time it cracked the top #100 five times (2003 - 2007), peaked at #47 twice (2005, 2006), and tended to place around the #227 mark. 

2. Californication (1999)

‘Californication’ seems to be a track Rock listeners dream of as it is an absolute stayer in the Rock 2000 Countdown. It has never left the countdown, peaked at #73 in 2007 and has a median ranking of 160.

Despite the lower peak, the song has a considerably higher average ranking than ‘Give It Away’, hence the higher placing in this list 

Shockingly, the band almost scrapped the tune as they couldn’t find the right music to match Kiedis’ lyrics. An alternative version of the song leaked in 2004 after the frontman shared it existed in his autobiography. 

1. Under The Bridge (1991)

‘Under The Bridge’ is easily the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ best-performing track in the history of the Rock 2000. It’s only fallen out of the top 100 twice (2011, 2018), cracked the top ten four times (2003 - 2006), and has an average ranking of #56. 

It’s never won the thing, but it came might close in 2003 when it peaked at #3, it also ranked at number four the next two years. 

It would not have existed without Rick Rubin, who encouraged a shy Kiedis to show bandmates the lyrics he had written in his notebook. As soon as they read the lyrics, Smith and Frusciante walked over to their instruments and started working on the track. 

The rest is music - and Rock 2000 - history.