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Red Hot Chili Peppers are an American rock band that formed the soundtrack for many young people’s lives — especially those who grew up in the late ’90s and early 2000s. Helmed by rock stars Anthony Kiedis and bassist Flea, Red Hot Chili Peppers (often styled RHCP) has been critically honored, winning six Grammy Awards and remaining together over the decades, defying all the odds.

Known for its funk-rock sound, RHCP has gone on many extremely successful concert tours. But they experienced one of their biggest paydays only recently when they made a move similar to other major rock stars. 

When did Red Hot Chili Peppers form?

Anthony Kiedis, Flea, Chad Smith, John Frusciante - posed, group shot
L-R: Anthony Kiedis, Flea, Chad Smith, John Frusciante – posed, group shot | Michel Linssen/Redferns

Red Hot Chili Peppers first formed in the early ’80s, by original members Anthony Kiedis, guitarist Hillel Slovak, bassist Flea, and drummer Jack Irons. The young men knew each other from high school.

While their musical synergy was undeniable, the group went through several name variations before ultimately settling on the moniker Red Hot Chili Peppers in late 1983.

The group released their self-titled debut album in 1984, and while the album helped to build their fanbase, it still took several years before they really started to experience major commercial success. In fact, after years of grueling concert tours and electrifying live performances, RHCP broke through to the big time in 1991, with the release of their fifth studio album, Blood Sugar Sex Magik.

Seemingly overnight, the band went from being independent artists to a major draw — and the band members started to experience all the perks, as well as the inevitable drawbacks, of extreme success. 

Red Hot Chili Peppers have multiple hit songs

Throughout the remainder of the ’90s and into the early 2000s, Red Hot Chili Peppers were on a hot streak, releasing hit song after hit song. Fans loved the way that the group was able to merge hard-rocking riffs with thoughtful, introspective lyrics, and many of their songs went on to become legendary.

A few of their most beloved tracks include the funk-rock tune “By The Way,” the aggressive sound of “Give It Away,” and the iconic “Californication,” a song that has perhaps become the unofficial anthem of RHCP.

In 2012, RHCP was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, a move that solidified their status as music icons. Still, the band has been anything but stagnant, consistently writing and recording new music — and even though the COVID-19 pandemic sidelined any touring plans that they may have had, they have already announced some upcoming shows for the summer of 2021.

Red Hot Chili Peppers made millions by selling their catalog


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Red Hot Chili Peppers is a successful rock band, and over the years, the group has made a lot of money from their album sales and live shows. Still, they are about to be sitting pretty for a while, with the recent announcement that the band is selling their publishing rights to Merck Mercuriadis’s Hipgnosis Songs Fund for close to $140 million.

A spokesperson for the band didn’t release a comment, but the recent acquisition of their catalog by Mercuriadis and Hipgnosis is the latest in a long string of lucrative deals. Some of the other artists who have sold their catalogs to the company include Neil Young, Stevie Nicks, Richie Sambora, and Bob Dylan, who reportedly made around $400 million for his back catalog.