They're Red Hot

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"They're Red Hot"
Single by Robert Johnson
A-side "Come On in My Kitchen"
Released July 1937 (1937-07)
Format 10-inch 78 rpm record
Recorded November 23, 1936 in San Antonio, Texas
Genre Blues
Length 2:58
Label Vocalion
Writer(s) Robert Johnson
Producer(s) Don Law
Robert Johnson singles chronology
"Cross Road Blues"
"They're Red Hot"
"Sweet Home Chicago"
"They're Red Hot"
Song by Red Hot Chili Peppers from the album Blood Sugar Sex Magik
Genre Punk blues
Length 1:11

"They're Red Hot" is a song originally performed and written by blues musician Robert Johnson.[1][2] The single was released in July 1937 via Vocalion label.


It is one of few songs recorded by the bluesman that is not based around twelve bar blues, instead being based on a common ragtime chord progression. Unlike some other Johnson songs, only one recording of this song exists.

Cover versions[edit]

  • It was also performed by the Red Hot Chili Peppers on their 1991 album Blood Sugar Sex Magik.[3] The band recorded this song outside of The Mansion on top of a hill at two in the morning, as seen in the 1992 documentary Funky Monks. The song is available for download for the Rock Band series.
  • The song has also been covered by Eric Clapton, featured on his 2004 homage to Johnson, Me and Mr. Johnson.[4] American jazz vocalist Cassandra Wilson recorded her own version on her album Belly of the Sun. However, the song appeared under the title "Hot Tamales".[5] Richie Kotzen has his version of this song on his Bipolar Blues album.[6] The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain performs a version of this song on their DVD Anarchy in the Ukulele under the title, "Hot Tamales, They're Red Hot".
  • Peter Green / Nigel Watson covered the song on their 2004 album Hot Foot Powder.[7]
  • Hugh Laurie covered the song on his 2011 album Let Them Talk.[8]
  • Andrew Bird uses the structure of this song[citation needed] in one of his own, "Cock O' the Walk", which appeared on the 1998 album, Thrills, under the band name Andrew Bird's Bowl of Fire.[9]
  • The song "All By Myself," originally performed by Fats Domino in the 1950s, bears some lyrical resemblance to Johnson's song. There is also another early rock and roll number, written by Billy Lee Riley, titled simply "Red Hot." This version contains lyrics that are very similar to the song by Robert Johnson, with the most obvious difference being the chorus, which goes "my gal is red hot / your gal ain't doodley squat." These songs may be homages to Johnson's song or simply revised adaptations rewritten to appeal to the early rock and roll fan base. However, Johnson's songs were not generally available until 1961, so these other songs may have drawn from a common source that may also have influenced Johnson.[citation needed]


External links[edit]