4 Classic Rock Songs You Didn’t Know Rick Rubin Produced

Even though the iconic producer Rick Rubin jokes that he has “no technical ability” and that his experience and ear are the reasons why he’s so successful, the truth is Rubin does know what he’s doing. No matter how he does it or why he does it or what he does, the result, in the end, is a slew of big songs, records, and awards.

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The 60-year-old New York City-born musician has worked with everyone from Run-DMC, Jay Z, and Red Hot Chili Peppers to Johnny Cash, Brandi Carlile, and Joan Jett.

[RELATED: 5 Albums You Didn’t Know Rick Rubin Produced]

We wanted to dive into some of the more classic rock songs that Rubin has helped shepherd. Known for his work with Def Jam and the likes of LL Cool J and the Beastie Boys earlier in his career, Rubin has always loved rock, often bridging rock, and rap in his songs.

Here are four iconic rock songs that Rubin had a major hand in. Four songs many fans likely don’t know he helped produce.

1. “Scar Tissue,” Red Hot Chili Peppers

Written by Flea, John Frusciante, Anthony Kiedis, Chad Smith

Released on the hit 1999 album, Californication, from the southern California-based rock band Red Hot Chili Peppers, “Scar Tissue” won a Grammy for Best Rock Song in 2000. Produced by Rubin, a longtime RHCP collaborator, who produced the entire 1999 record, the track was written by the four core band members. It was also one just about everyone in America was singing along with on the radio.

Scar tissue that I wish you saw
Sarcastic mister know-it-all
Close your eyes and I’ll kiss you, ’cause
With the birds I’ll share

With the birds I’ll share this lonely viewin’
With the birds I’ll share this lonely viewin’

Push me up against the wall
Young Kentucky girl in a push-up bra
Fallin’ all over myself
To lick your heart and taste your health ’cause

2. “You Don’t Know How It Feels,” Tom Petty

Written by Tom Petty

Released on the 1994 Tom Petty album, Wildflowers, “You Don’t Know How It Feels” hit No. 1 on the US Billboard Album Rock Tracks. Written by Petty, who also produced the song along with Rubin and longtime Petty collaborator Mike Campbell. The track is mellow rock, like many of Petty’s biggest hits.

Let me run with you tonight
I’ll take you on a moonlight ride
There’s someone I used to see
But she don’t give a damn for me

But let me get to the point, let’s roll another joint
And turn the radio loud, I’m too alone to be proud
You don’t know how it feels
You don’t know how it feels to be me

3. “Hard as a Rock,” AC/DC

Written by Angus Young, Malcolm Young

The opening song on the Australian rock band’s 1995 album, Ballbreaker, “Hard as a Rock” was written by AC/DC’s Angus and Malcolm Young and it was produced by Rubin solely. The track, which hit No. 1 on the Album Rock Tracks chart, features clear, bright electric guitars—which makes sense because it was written by two guitarists—and includes the band’s signature romping energy.

A rollin’ rock
Electric shocks
It gives a lickin’ that don’t stop
She line ’em up
Push you round
Smokin’ rings, going ’round and ’round
Her hot potatoes
Will elevate you
Her bad behaviour
Will leave you standing proud
Hard as a rock

4. “Like a Stone,” Audioslave

Written by Brad Wilk, Chris Cornell, Tim Commerford, Tom Morello

Audioslave, a group comprised of three musicians from Rage Against the Machine and former Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell, released their hit “Like a Stone,” which has since garnered more than a billion views on YouTube alone in 2022 on the band’s debut self-titled album. The hit was written by the entire band and produced by the band and Rubin.

On a cobweb afternoon
In a room full of emptiness
By a freeway I confess
I was lost in the pages
Of a book full of death
Reading how we’ll die alone
And if we’re good, we’ll lay to rest
Anywhere we want to go

Photo by Ari Perilstein/Getty Images for Laird Apparel LLC

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