Under The Bridge

Time for another round of Throwback Thursday!

This is where we get to listen to some great music from days gone by. 

Today’s music comes to us from 1992.

Wikipedia tells us this about today’s tune:

"Under the Bridge" is a song by American rock band Red Hot Chili Peppers. It is the eleventh track on the group's fifth studio album, Blood Sugar Sex Magik, and was released as its second single on March 10, 1992. Vocalist Anthony Kiedis wrote the lyrics to express feelings of loneliness and despondency, and to reflect on narcotics and their impact on his life. Kiedis was driving home from rehearsals when "Blood Sugar Sex Magik" was in pre-production and said he sang the lyrics to himself. Kiedis initially did not feel that Under the Bridge would fit into the Chili Peppers' repertoire, and was reluctant to show it to his bandmates until producer Rick Rubin implored him to do so. The rest of the band was receptive to the lyrics and wrote the music.

The song became a critical and commercial success, peaking at number two on the Billboard Hot 100, behind "Jump" by Kris Kross and later receiving a platinum certification by the Recording Industry Association of America. The single's success was widened with the release of its accompanying video, which was frequently played on music television channels. It won the "Viewer's Choice Award" and "Breakthrough Video" at the 1992 MTV Video Music Awards.

"Under the Bridge" helped the Red Hot Chili Peppers enter the mainstream. David Fricke of Rolling Stone said that the song "unexpectedly drop-kicked the band into the Top 10", while Philip Booth of The Tampa Tribune commented that it was a "pretty, undulating, [and] by-now omnipresent single." The song has become an inspiration to other artists, and remains a seminal component of the alternative rock movement of the early and mid-1990s.

Kiedis wrote much of the lyrics during a period when he felt distraught and emotionally drained. After struggling with heroin and cocaine addiction, he had been sober for roughly three years and felt that this had distanced him from his bandmates, who continued to use marijuana together; Kiedis felt that Frusciante was "no longer in [his] world". Driving home after rehearsal in April 1991, Kiedis thought of his addiction during his relationship with former girlfriend Ione Skye: "The loneliness that I was feeling triggered memories of my time with Ione and how I'd had this beautiful angel of a girl who was willing to give me all of her love, and instead of embracing that, I was downtown with fucking gangsters shooting speedballs under a bridge."

Kiedis's feelings of alienation led him to feel that the city of Los Angeles was his only companion: "I felt an unspoken bond between me and my city. I'd spent so much time wandering through the streets of L.A. and hiking through the Hollywood Hills that I sensed there was a nonhuman entity, maybe the spirit of the hills and the city, who had me in her sights and was looking after me." The lines "Sometimes I feel like / My only friend / Is the city I live in / The City of Angels / Lonely as I am / Together we cry" link Kiedis's isolation and sense of susceptibility. However, he believed that his life was better without drugs: "No matter how sad or lonely I got, things were a million percent better than they were two years earlier when I was using drugs all the time. There was no comparison." His optimism produced the chorus: "I don't ever want to feel / Like I did that day / Take me to the place I love", "the place" meaning his bandmates, friends, and family.

One verse discusses the harsh effects of drugs, their role in destroying Kiedis's relationships, and their impact on his happiness. The verse recounts his experience entering gang territory under a bridge to purchase drugs. To gain access, Kiedis pretended that a sister of one of the gang members was his fiancée. Kiedis considers this one of his worst moments, as it demonstrated the level to which he was willing to sink for his addiction. Kiedis has refused to reveal the location of the bridge, saying only that it is in downtown Los Angeles. Using details provided by Kiedis in his autobiography Scar Tissue, writer Mark Haskell Smith concluded that the bridge was in MacArthur Park; however, this contradicts Kiedis's assertion that the bridge was under a freeway. Other possible locations include the Belmont Tunnel about half a mile from MacArthur Park, and the overpass where Interstate Highway 10 (the Santa Monica Freeway) crosses Hoover Street close to downtown L.A.

See you again soon! Share with me your thoughts about this theme.  If you have a favorite oldies song or artist, let me know and I’d be happy to feature them.


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