The hit single, “Give it Away,” by Red Hot Chili Peppers is a critically-acclaimed funk-rock track. It has become one of the most recognizable rock songs of the ‘90s. Known for being lively and repetitive, one would assume that this song, although catchy, was nothing more than mindless melodies echoing itself.
The truth behind the lyrics is much deeper than you think.
Anthony Kiedis, the frontman of the band, explains the story behind the song in his autobiography, “Scar Tissue.”
At this time, Kiedis was dating popular German singer/songwriter Nina Hagen. As he was sifting through her closet of exotic apparel, he spotted a jacket that immediately struck him. He told her how much he liked the jacket, and Nina simply replied, “Take it. You can have it.”
He was astonished by the offering. He plead with her to keep it, telling her that it was the nicest jacket she had.
She then explained her reasoning by saying, “That’s why I gave it to you. It’s important to give things away; it creates good energy. If you have a closet full of clothes, and you try to keep them all, your life will get very small. But if you have a full closet and someone sees something they like, if you give it to them, the world is a better place.”
This thought of “giving it away” became the focal point of one of Red Hot Chili Peppers’ jam sessions. Mike Balzary (also known as “Flea”), the bassist of the band, began to play a funky bassline. Chad Smith, the drummer, soon followed. Then Kiedis became inspired enough to walk to the nearest microphone and started to repeatedly shout, “Give it away, give it away, give it away now.”
The meaning behind, “Give it Away” seems more fit as a type of folktale rather than a rock-and-roll song. Either way, this story has influenced countless people to become just a bit more selfless.
Imagine gifting your most prized possession to someone with no hesitation. Could you do it?
After finishing Kiedis’ book, I felt responsible to share this story with as many people as possible. Its message of pure selflessness and tenderness is something that should be reverberated throughout society.
The world would be a better place if we all just gave it away, even if it was just a little bit.