Dani California

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"Dani California"
Dani california.gif
Single by Red Hot Chili Peppers
from the album Stadium Arcadium
B-side "Million Miles of Water"
"Whatever We Want"
Released April 3, 2006
Format CD single, 7" single, 12" single, digital download
Recorded March–December 2005 at The Mansion in Los Angeles, California
Genre Funk rock, alternative rock
Length 4:42
Label Warner Bros.
Songwriter(s) Flea, Frusciante, Kiedis, Smith
Producer(s) Rick Rubin
Red Hot Chili Peppers singles chronology
"Fortune Faded"
"Dani California"
"Tell Me Baby"
"Fortune Faded"
"Dani California"
"Tell Me Baby"
Music video
"Dani California" on YouTube

"Dani California" is a single from the American rock band Red Hot Chili Peppers' ninth studio album, Stadium Arcadium. The single was first made available at the iTunes Music Store and then was officially released on May 2, 2006. The international radio premiere was April 3, 2006, when Don Jantzen, from the Houston radio station KTBZ-FM, played "Dani California" continuously for his entire three-hour program.[1]

The single debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 at number 24 and peaked at number 6, becoming the band's third single (after "Under the Bridge" and "Scar Tissue") to enter the top-ten. In addition, "Dani California" became the second song in history (after R.E.M.'s 1994 hit "What's the Frequency, Kenneth?") to debut at number 1 on the Billboard Modern Rock chart, where it spent fourteen straight weeks topping the chart. The single also charted at number 1 on the Mainstream Rock charts, where it spent twelve straight weeks on top.[2] The song won two Grammy Awards, one for Best Rock Song and the other for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal.[3] It also marked the band's joint-biggest UK hit to date along with "By the Way", peaking at number 2 in the UK Singles Chart, being kept out of number 1 by Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy".

Origins and character[edit]

Throughout the song, lyricist Anthony Kiedis laments the early death of Dani, a poor, young Southern girl who eventually lived in California, became a mother and lived a hard, fast, unsettled life.[4] Kiedis has commented that the character of Dani is composite of all the women with whom he has had relationships. The song narrates much of Dani's life, starting with her birth in Mississippi and apparently culminating with her death in the badlands, by a North Dakota policeman, while en route to Minnesota.[5]

Dani first appeared in the 1999 song "Californication", which includes the lyrics "Teenage bride with a baby inside/Gettin' high on information" although the girl's name is not specified. She was next mentioned in the Red Hot Chili Peppers' 2002 single "By the Way" as "Dani the girl". Kiedis commented: "When this funky groove came up it struck me as a perfect place to actually tell a story. It sort of revealed itself to me that it's been the same character, just kind of developing. At first I didn't realize that I was writing about the same girl."[6]

Guitarist John Frusciante used various instruments and effects devices in order to achieve the textures and treatments used throughout the song, including Mellotron, Moog effect pedals, and a Doepfer modular synthesizer, used for the filtering and processing of pre-recorded tracks. Although it is sometimes low in the mix, the main riff, (which is heard primarily in the first verse) plays throughout as an underlying tone. The one-minute guitar solo at the end of the song is an adaption of Jimi Hendrix's intro to "Purple Haze", with the effects kept very close to the original.

The working title of the song was "Wu-Tang" because Smith's drums sounded similar to those on the Wu-Tang Clan's debut album, Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers),[7] though they ended up a bit more like Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Sweet Home Alabama".[citation needed]


Shortly after its release, the originality of the song was questioned on the Dan Gaffney Morning Show on Delaware based news/talk radio station WGMD 92.7 FM.[8] Two of the station's talk show hosts, Dan Gaffney and Jared Morris, alleged that the Red Hot Chili Peppers had plagiarized Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers' 1993 hit "Mary Jane's Last Dance". To demonstrate, they presented audio snippets of both songs, both side by side and simultaneously (i.e. on top of each other) several times. They stated that the chord progression, key, and the lyrical theme of the songs (both produced by Rick Rubin) showed "startling similarities" and urged listeners to "decide for themselves."[8]

Although the chord progressions sound similar, they do in fact differ as "Mary Jane's Last Dance" follows "Am, G, D, Am" (A Dorian mode), while "Dani California" follows "Am, G, Dm, Am" (A minor). University of Chicago musicologist Travis Jackson said the songs' chord progressions were similar, but were a "pretty standard groove" in music and not necessarily evidence of copying.[9]

In an interview with Rolling Stone magazine, Petty denied rumors that he planned to sue the Chili Peppers and said, "I seriously doubt that there is any negative intent there. And a lot of rock & roll songs sound alike."[10]

Music video[edit]

A frame of the "Dani California" video showing Flea and Anthony Kiedis honoring funk.

The music video for "Dani California" premiered on MTV on April 4, 2006. Directed by Tony Kaye, director of American History X (who was only accepted after initial choice Mark Romanek declined), the video is a quasi-chronology of the evolution of rock music; the band performs the song on a stage, but in a variety of outfits representing important figures and movements in the history of rock, with band members transformed into famous musicians.[4]

Flea affirmed that "[The band] mainly did eras, not actual people: rockabilly, British Invasion, psychedelia, funk, glam, punk, goth, hair metal, grunge, and ourselves being the sum of all those parts."[4] While the band's appearance was intentionally generic in each scene, obvious nods were made to certain specific artists, including Elvis Presley, The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Cream, Parliament-Funkadelic (as Flea was dressed like Bootsy Collins), David Bowie (as Flea was dressed like Bowie in his Ziggy Stardust persona), Slade, Sex Pistols, The Misfits' Glenn Danzig, Poison, Mötley Crüe, Nirvana and the Red Hot Chili Peppers themselves.[11] The video finishes with the Red Hot Chili Peppers as themselves, occasionally flashing back to the imitated transformed artists featured earlier in the film.

The video received ten nominations at the 2006 MTV Video Music Awards; it won the award for Best Art Direction, failing to win its six other nominations for Video of the Year, Best Group Video, Best Rock Video, Best Direction, Best Editing and Best Cinematography. The video was also nominated for an MMVA for best international video.

Live performances[edit]

The song has been the band's most performed from the album with over 330 performances as of 2017.

Chart performance[edit]

Dani California debuted at number 24 and peaked at number 6 on the Billboard Hot 100 (remaining for two weeks at that position) and it's the 2nd song to debut at number 1 on the Modern Rock Tracks chart after R.E.M. in 1994 and before Linkin Park in 2007, remaining at the location for 14 weeks.[12] The song also managed to achieve 28,000 units of digital sales in the song's first week of release and debuted at number 16 on the Hot Digital Songs chart.[13] In the UK, the song fared even better, finding itself at the number 2 spot for one week, and eventually remaining on that chart for over 15 weeks. It also stayed 12 weeks at number 1 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart. The song also became a cross-over hit to pop and adult contemporary radio peaking number 5 on the Adult Top 40 chart, their 1st Top 5 and Top 10 single on the chart beating Scar Tissue and Otherside both at #11. The song also hit number 25 on the Mainstream Top 40 chart.

The song is among the few tracks the Red Hot Chili Peppers recorded which have broken the top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100.[12] It was a success, with "Dani California" accumulating over 500 weeks collectively on over 20 charts.[12]

In popular culture[edit]

The song is offered as a playable track in Rock Band, and was exportable to Rock Band 2 but not any future versions of the Rock Band series until a patch on November 8 made the song playable in Rock Band 3.[14] The song is used in the two Japanese live-action films, Death Note and Death Note 2: The Last Name, both directed by Shūsuke Kaneko.[citation needed] In addition, "Dani California" was used in the promo for the fourth season of Sons of Anarchy and as a NASCAR AD for All Star Weekend in 2006.[15]

Track listing[edit]

CD single 1 5439 15759-2
  1. "Dani California" – 4:44
  2. "Million Miles of Water" – 4:06
CD single 2 9362 42925-2
  1. "Dani California" – 4:44
  2. "Whatever We Want" – 4:48
  3. "Lately" – 2:55
7" picture disc single 5439 15758-7
  1. "Dani California" – 4:44
  2. "Whatever We Want" – 4:48
12" Picture disc single
  1. "Dani California" – 4:44
Promotional single PR015735
  1. "Dani California" – 4:44
iTunes EP
  1. "Dani California" – 4:44
  2. "Whatever We Want" – 4:47
  3. "Lately" – 2:55
  4. "Million Miles of Water" – 4:05


Red Hot Chili Peppers

  • Anthony Kiedis - lead vocals
  • John Frusciante - guitar, backing vocals, mellotron[16]
  • Flea - bass
  • Chad Smith - drums

Charts and certifications[edit]


  1. ^ "KTZB Radio Station Interview". Red Hot Chili Peppers. Retrieved June 4, 2007. 
  2. ^ "Red Hot Chili Peppers: Artist Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved June 3, 2007. 
  3. ^ "49th Annual Grammy Awards – Red Hot Chili Peppers". Grammy. Archived from the original on December 20, 2006. Retrieved June 3, 2007. 
  4. ^ a b c Stadium Arcadium (CD). Warner Bros. Records. 2006. 
  5. ^ "Song lyrics". Archived from the original on 2008-07-25. 
  6. ^ YouTube – Red Hot Chili Peppers "Dani California"
  7. ^ Harris, Chris (February 8, 2007). "Road To The Grammys: Chili Peppers Experiment With Sounds, Wu-Tang Beats On Stadium Arcadium - Music, Celebrity, Artist News". MTV.com. Retrieved January 3, 2013. 
  8. ^ a b "A Petty Case of Plagiarism". BC Magazine. Archived from the original on May 21, 2007. Retrieved June 3, 2007. 
  9. ^ "Latest News: Petty vs. Chili Peppers, Townshend Explains Song and More". Rolling Stone. Retrieved June 3, 2007. 
  10. ^ "Petty to Peppers: Andy Greene". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on May 25, 2007. Retrieved June 3, 2007. 
  11. ^ Michaels, Mitch. "The Self-Service Edition: Dani California Video". Ask 411 Music. 411 Mania. Archived from the original on September 26, 2007. Retrieved February 17, 2007. 
  12. ^ a b c "Red Hot Chili Peppers Billboard Chart Performance". Allmusic. Retrieved March 30, 2008. 
  13. ^ Pietroluongo, Silvio (22 April 2006). "Peppers Heat Up Hot 100". Billboard. p. 70. Retrieved 3 August 2017. 
  14. ^ "RB 3 Title Update Coming 11/8 – Black Hole Sun & Dani California and Hide Song Option". Archived from the original on 2012-01-09. 
  15. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RiK_y_cvVQQ
  16. ^ Cleveland, Barry. "Red Hot Chili Peppers' John Frusciante". GuitarPlayer. Retrieved 24 May 2017. 
  17. ^ "Australian-charts.com – Red Hot Chili Peppers – Dani California". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved February 16, 2013.
  18. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Red Hot Chili Peppers – Dani California" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved February 16, 2013.
  19. ^ "Ultratop.be – Red Hot Chili Peppers – Dani California" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved February 16, 2013.
  20. ^ "Ultratop.be – Red Hot Chili Peppers – Dani California" (in French). Ultratip. Retrieved February 16, 2013.
  21. ^ "Red Hot Chili Peppers Chart History (Canadian Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved May 31, 2018.
  22. ^ "ČNS IFPI" (in Czech). Hitparáda – Radio Top 100 Oficiální. IFPI Czech Republic. Note: insert {{{year}}}{{{week}}} into search. Retrieved February 16, 2013.
  23. ^ "Red Hot Chili Peppers – Dani California Hitlisten.nu" (in Danish). Tracklisten. Retrieved February 16, 2013.
  24. ^ "Lescharts.com – Red Hot Chili Peppers – Dani California" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved February 16, 2013.
  25. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Red Hot Chili Peppers – Dani California". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved February 16, 2013.
  26. ^ "Chart Track: Week 18, 2006". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved February 16, 2013.
  27. ^ "Italiancharts.com – Red Hot Chili Peppers – Dani California". Top Digital Download. Retrieved February 16, 2013.
  28. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Red Hot Chili Peppers – Dani California" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved February 16, 2013.
  29. ^ "Charts.org.nz – Red Hot Chili Peppers – Dani California". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved February 16, 2013.
  30. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – Red Hot Chili Peppers – Dani California". VG-lista. Retrieved February 16, 2013.
  31. ^ "SNS IFPI" (in Slovak). Hitparáda – Radio Top 100 Oficiálna. IFPI Czech Republic. Note: insert {{{year}}}{{{week}}} into search. Retrieved February 16, 2013.
  32. ^ "Spanishcharts.com – Red Hot Chili Peppers – Dani California" Canciones Top 50. Retrieved February 16, 2013.
  33. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Red Hot Chili Peppers – Dani California". Singles Top 100. Retrieved February 16, 2013.
  34. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Red Hot Chili Peppers – Dani California". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved February 16, 2013.
  35. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved February 16, 2013.
  36. ^ "Red Hot Chili Peppers Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved February 16, 2013.
  37. ^ "Billboard Top 100 - 2006". Archived from the original on March 4, 2009. Retrieved 2010-08-31. 
  38. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2006 Singles". Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved February 16, 2013. 
  39. ^ "Italian single certifications – Red Hot Chili Peppers – Dani California" (in Italian). Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana. Retrieved October 30, 2017. 
  40. ^ "Gold & Platinum Certifications 2006" (PDF). IFPI Sweden (in Swedish). p. 5. Archived from the original (PDF) on May 21, 2012. Retrieved February 16, 2013. 
  41. ^ "British single certifications – Red Hot Chili Peppers – Dani California". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved August 14, 2016.  Select singles in the Format field. Select Gold in the Certification field. Enter Dani California in the search field and then press Enter.
  42. ^ "American single certifications – Red Hot Chili Peppers – Dani California". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved February 16, 2013.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH

External links[edit]