Californication (song)

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"Californication"
Californicationsingle.jpg
Single by Red Hot Chili Peppers
from the album Californication
B-side
  • "I Could Have Lied" (live)
  • "End of Show Brisbane" (live)
ReleasedJune 2000 (2000-06)
GenreAlternative rock[1]
Length
  • 5:21 (album version)
  • 5:29 (Greatest Hits version)
  • 3:26 (radio edit)
LabelWarner Bros.
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)Rick Rubin
Red Hot Chili Peppers singles chronology
"Otherside"
(2000)
"Californication"
(2000)
"Road Trippin'"
(2000)
Music video
"Californication" on YouTube

"Californication" is a song by American rock band Red Hot Chili Peppers from their seventh album, Californication (1999). Released as a single in June 2000, it reached number 69 on the US Billboard Hot 100, number 16 on the UK Singles Chart, and number one on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks and Modern Rock Tracks charts. It was the third number-one Californication single in Iceland.

"Californication" has remained one of the band's most popular and most performed live songs, appearing in almost every setlist since its live debut and making it the band's third-most performed song, with over 500 performances.[2]

Recording[edit]

In Kiedis's book, Scar Tissue, the author reveals that the band had enormous difficulty in putting the song together. Kiedis had written the lyrics, which he felt were some of the best he had written, but the band could not decide how the song should sound musically.

As they struggled with the song it seemed like they would not be able to finish it in time to include it on the album, until one day Frusciante walked into the studio and exclaimed that he had "figured it out". He played the song as he visualised it, and it went from being a song that could have been an afterthought to becoming one of the Red Hot Chili Peppers' greatest hits, similar to the way "Under the Bridge" was conceived.

Composition[edit]

The song explores the dark side of Hollywood and the export of culture through the movie industry. The song begins "Psychic spies from China try to steal your mind's elation." Kiedis says in his book Scar Tissue that he took the inspiration for the line from hearing a woman on a New Zealand street ranting about "psychic spies in China".

The track also makes references to topics such as pornography ("hardcore soft porn") and plastic surgery ("pay your surgeon very well to break the spell of aging") and even some pop culture references including Nirvana singer Kurt Cobain and David Bowie. The "spheres" are a reference to Music of the Spheres, an ancient philosophical concept that regards proportions in the movements of celestial bodies as a form of music ("Cobain, can you hear the spheres singing songs off Station to Station?"). Other cultural references include the Beach Boys ("They're just another Good Vibration"), Star Wars ("and Alderaan's not far away") and Star Trek ("Space may be the final frontier but it's made in a Hollywood basement"). The phrase "First-born Unicorn" refers to Dorothy Stratten, whose life was covered in the book The Killing of the Unicorn.

The song begins in the key of A minor[3] with Frusciante picking the chords of Am and F for twelve measures, before picking the chords of C-G-F-Dm then going back and picking Am and F for 8 more measures before picking C-G-F-Dm again. For the pre-chorus Frusciante then strums a combination of Am and Fmaj7 chords for twelve measures, until the chorus when he strums the chords C-Gmaj7-Dm9-Am, then C-G-Dm9. It is notable for its sparse combination of guitar and bass notes in the main riff; Frusciante drew inspiration from "Carnage Visors" by The Cure.[4]

After the second chorus, a 16-measure guitar solo is played by Frusciante, along with a modulation to A major. After the solo, the key returns to the original A minor, and a third verse and final chorus is played.

Music video[edit]

The video, directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, takes the form of a fictional open world video game that depicts each of the band members on some sort of adventure in a California setting. The music video for "Californication" is the group's most watched video on YouTube, with over 800 million views.[5]

Live performances[edit]

"Californication" is the band's third-most performed song and has been performed at almost every show since 1999.[2]

Formats and track listings[edit]

CD single 1 9362 44907 2

  1. "Californication" – 5:21
  2. "I Could Have Lied" (Live) – 4:26
  3. "End of Show Brisbane" (Live) – 8:11

CD single 2 9362 44908 2

  1. "Californication" – 5:21
  2. "I Could Have Lied" (Live) – 4:26
  3. "End of Show State College" (Live) – 9:27

EP 9362 44872 2

  1. "Californication" – 5:21
  2. "End of Show Brisbane" (Live) – 8:11
  3. "I Could Have Lied" (Live) – 4:26
  4. "End of Show State College" (Live) – 9:27

Personnel[edit]

Red Hot Chili Peppers

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Denmark (IFPI Danmark)[30] Platinum 90,000double-dagger
Italy (FIMI)[31]
sales since 2009
2× Platinum 100,000double-dagger
United Kingdom (BPI)[32] Platinum 600,000double-dagger
United States (RIAA)[33] 5× Platinum 5,000,000double-dagger

double-dagger Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format(s) Label(s) Ref.
Europe June 2000 (2000-06) CD Warner Bros. [12]
United States June 13, 2000 (2000-06-13) [34]
United Kingdom August 7, 2000 (2000-08-07)
  • CD
  • cassette
[35]
United States September 11, 2000 (2000-09-11) Hot adult contemporary radio [36]
September 12, 2000 (2000-09-12) Contemporary hit radio [37]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Gallucci, Michael (June 22, 2013). "Top 10 Alt-Rock Videos From 2000". Diffuser.fm. Retrieved May 11, 2019.
  2. ^ a b "Red Hot Chili Peppers Tour Statistics". Setlist.fm. Retrieved February 3, 2016.
  3. ^ Anthony, Kiedis; Flea; John, Frusciante; Chad, Smith; Peppers, Red Hot Chili (February 6, 2014). "Californication". Musicnotes.com. Retrieved June 8, 2021.
  4. ^ Songfacts (2016). "Californication by Red Hot Chili Peppers". Retrieved June 18, 2016.
  5. ^ Video on YouTube.
  6. ^ "Red Hot Chili Peppers – Californication". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved January 3, 2015.
  7. ^ "Red Hot Chili Peppers – Californication" (in Dutch). Ultratip. Retrieved November 19, 2016.
  8. ^ "Red Hot Chili Peppers – Californication" (in French). Ultratip. Retrieved November 19, 2016.
  9. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 7101." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved November 19, 2016.
  10. ^ "Top RPM Rock/Alternative Tracks: Issue 9937." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved November 19, 2016.
  11. ^ "Eurochart Hot 100 Singles" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 17 no. 35. August 26, 2000. p. 7. Retrieved April 4, 2021.
  12. ^ a b "Red Hot Chili Peppers – Californication" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved February 25, 2019.
  13. ^ "Íslenski Listinn Topp 20 (22.7–29.7 2000)". Dagblaðið Vísir (in Icelandic). July 21, 2000. p. 10. Retrieved October 7, 2019.
  14. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Californication". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved October 7, 2019.
  15. ^ "Red Hot Chili Peppers – Californication". Top Digital Download. Retrieved November 19, 2016.
  16. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – week 30, 2000" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40. Retrieved November 19, 2016.
  17. ^ "Red Hot Chili Peppers – Californication" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved November 19, 2016.
  18. ^ "Red Hot Chili Peppers – Californication". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved November 19, 2016.
  19. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved October 7, 2019.
  20. ^ "Red Hot Chili Peppers – Californication". Singles Top 100. Retrieved November 19, 2016.
  21. ^ "Red Hot Chili Peppers: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved April 4, 2021.
  22. ^ "Red Hot Chili Peppers Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved November 19, 2016.
  23. ^ "Red Hot Chili Peppers Chart History (Adult Alternative Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved November 19, 2016.
  24. ^ "Red Hot Chili Peppers Chart History (Alternative Airplay)". Billboard. Retrieved November 19, 2016.
  25. ^ "Red Hot Chili Peppers Chart History (Adult Pop Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved November 19, 2016.
  26. ^ "Red Hot Chili Peppers Chart History (Mainstream Rock)". Billboard. Retrieved November 19, 2016.
  27. ^ "Red Hot Chili Peppers Chart History (Pop Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved November 19, 2016.
  28. ^ "Íslenski Listinn Topp 100". Dagblaðið Vísir (in Icelandic). January 5, 2001. p. 10. Retrieved February 8, 2020.
  29. ^ "Top 100–Jaaroverzicht van 2000". Dutch Top 40. Retrieved December 24, 2019.
  30. ^ "Danish single certifications – Red Hot Chili Peppers – Californication". IFPI Danmark. Retrieved March 31, 2021.
  31. ^ "Italian single certifications – Red Hot Chili Peppers – Californication" (in Italian). Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana. Retrieved January 19, 2021.
  32. ^ "British single certifications – Red Hot Chili Peppers – Californication". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved April 5, 2018.
  33. ^ "American single certifications – Red Hot Chili Peppers – Californication". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved September 29, 2021.
  34. ^ "Going for Adds". Radio & Records. No. 1354. June 9, 2000. pp. 109, 111.
  35. ^ "New Releases – For Week Starting August 7, 2000: Singles". Music Week. August 5, 2000. p. 23. Misprinted as July 17 on source.
  36. ^ "Hot AC: Going for Adds". Radio & Records. No. 1367. September 8, 2000. p. 92.
  37. ^ "CHR/Pop: Going for Adds". Radio & Records. No. 1367. September 8, 2000. p. 48.