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"Under the Bridge" is a song by American rock band Red Hot Chili Peppers. It is the eleventh track on the group's fifth studio album, Blood Sugar Sex Magik, and was released as its second single on March 10, 1992. Vocalist Anthony Kiedis wrote the lyrics to express feelings of loneliness and despondency, and to reflect on narcotics and their impact on his life. Kiedis initially did not feel that "Under the Bridge" would fit into the Chili Peppers' repertoire, and was reluctant to show it to his bandmates until producer Rick Rubin implored him to do so. The rest of the band was receptive to the lyrics and wrote the music.

The song became a critical and commercial success, peaking at number two on the Billboard Hot 100 and later receiving a platinum certification by the Recording Industry Association of America. The single's success was widened with the release of its accompanying video, which was frequently played on music television channels. It won the "Viewer's Choice Award" and "Breakthrough Video" at the 1992 MTV Video Music Awards.

"Under the Bridge" helped the Red Hot Chili Peppers enter the mainstream. David Fricke of Rolling Stone said that the song "unexpectedly drop-kicked the band into the Top 10", while Philip Booth of The Tampa Tribune commented that it was a "pretty, undulating, by-now omnipresent single." Its success led in part to the departure of guitarist John Frusciante, who preferred the band to remain underground. The song has become an inspiration to other artists, and remains a seminal component of the alternative rock movement of the early and mid-1990s.

During the production of the Red Hot Chili Peppers' 1991 album Blood Sugar Sex Magik, producer Rick Rubin regularly visited singer Anthony Kiedis to review Kiedis' new material. He found a poem titled "Under the Bridge" while flipping through Kiedis' notebook and instantly took an interest in the poignant lyrics. Rubin suggested that Kiedis show it to the rest of the band: "I thought it was beautiful. I said 'We've got to do this.'" Kiedis was reluctant, as he felt the poem was too emotional and did not fit the Chili Peppers' style. After singing the poem to guitarist John Frusciante and bassist Flea, Kiedis recalls that they "got up and walked over to their instruments and started finding the beat and guitar chords to match it". Frusciante chose the chords he played in the introduction to balance out the depressing nature of the lyrics, saying "my brain interpreted it as being a really sad song so I thought if the lyrics are really sad like that I should write some chords that are happier".

For several days Frusciante and Kiedis worked on the song, and it became one of the few tracks written and completed prior to the band moving into The Mansion where they recorded the album. After the song was recorded, Rubin felt the grand and epic outro would benefit from a large group of singers. Frusciante invited his mother, Gail, and her friends, all of whom sang in a choir, to perform.

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Alternative Rock




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