4 Songs You Didn’t Know Chad Smith Wrote for Red Hot Chili Peppers

The 61-year-old St. Paul, Minnesota-born man behind the drum kit with the Red Hot Chili Peppers is not actor and comedian Will Ferrell. No, it’s the accomplished, award-winning, Hall of Fame artist named Chad Smith. And he loves wearing his hat backward.

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Something else Smith loves is playing with RHCP. Smith joined the group in 1988 and 24 years later, he and the members were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Today, Smith and the band are continuing to write and release new songs, including two new albums in 2022.

[RELATED: 5 Songs You Didn’t Know Kevin Costner Wrote]

Fans of Smith and the band may not know his entire influence. Smith helped write some of the band’s most well-known and significant songs. These are four songs you likely didn’t know Chad Smith wrote for Red Hot Chili Peppers.

1. “Under the Bridge”

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

Perhaps the Peppers’ best-known song and certainly the song that made them household names, this track comes from the band’s 1991 album, Blood Sugar Sex Magik. Famed producer Rick Rubin shepherded the album and in so doing he found a poem Kiedis had written and encouraged him to bring it to the band. When he did, singing it to the group, Smith and guitarist John Frusciante began composing the music that would provide the bed for the lyrics.

Sometimes I feel like I don’t have a partner
Sometimes I feel like my only friend
Is the city I live in, the city of angels
Lonely as I am, together we cry
I drive on her streets ’cause she’s my companion
I walk through her hills ’cause she knows who I am
She sees my good deeds and she kisses me windy
Well, I never worry, now that is a lie

2. “Californication”

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

The title track from the RHCP’s seminal 1999 album, “Californication” became a big hit on the radio at the turn of the century. But it almost never got off the ground. Smith, talking to Rubin, said that the song was like a reggae song at first and it just wasn’t finding the proper groove. Later, though, Frusciante brought a new arrangement in and everything clicked. Thank goodness.

Psychic spies from China try to steal your mind’s elation
And little girls from Sweden dream of silver screen quotation
And if you want these kind of dreams it’s Californication

It’s the edge of the world and all of Western civilization
The sun may rise in the East at least it’s settled in a final location
It’s understood that Hollywood sells Californication

3. “Aeroplane”

Written by Anthony Kiedis, Flea, Chad Smith, David Navarro

Released on the band’s 1995 album, One Hot Minute, “Aeroplane” was written with the help of Jane’s Addiction guitarist Dave Navarro, who was with the band in the mid-’90s and worked on several albums. Navarro was also part of the band’s rendition of the song, “Love Rollercoaster,” which appeared on the Beavis and Butthead Do America soundtrack.

I like pleasure spiked with pain
And music is my aeroplane
It’s my aeroplane
Songbird sweet and sour Jane
And music is my aeroplane
It’s my aeroplane

4. “Black Summer”

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

The most recent hit song for the band, “Black Summer” was released in 2022 on the first of the Peppers’ albums that year, Unlimited Love. The other was Return of the Dream Canteen. This song is infectious and catchy. It’s dark, and brooding but also funky and fabulous. The track also marked the first with longtime guitarist Frusciante, who had been away from the band for some 16 years.

A lazy rain am I
The skies refuse to cry
Cremation takes its piece of your supply
The night is dressed like noon
A sailor spoke too soon
And China’s on the dark side of the moon

Platypus are a few
The secret life of roo
A personality I never knew (get it on)
My Greta weighs a ton
The archers on the run
And no one stands alone behind the sun

Photo by Matthew Baker/Getty Images

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