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In a VH1 Behind the Music special the band explained that this song, which sounds like it has no meaning, is about the theory that "The more you give, the more you receive, so why not give it all away?" (thanks, Matt - Wappingers Falls, NY)
Lead singer Anthony Kiedis drew inspiration for this song from the German singer Nina Hagen, when he came across one of her jackets that he liked. She insisted he take it, explaining that giving stuff away creates good energy.
The group performed this on The Simpsons
in the episode where Krusty hosted a comeback special. They were instructed to change the lyrics of "What I've got, I got to get and put it in you" to "What I'd like, is I'd like to hug and kiss you." This was a reference to the time that Ed Sullivan asked Jim Morrison to change the words of "Light My Fire
" when appearing on his show. (thanks, Stephanie - Ellicott City, MD)
The verse in the song, "There's a river born to be a giver. Keep you warm, don't let you shiver. His heart is never gonna wither. Come on, everybody, time to deliver" refers to actor River Phoenix, who was a good friend of RHCP guitarist John Frusciante. After River's death, the Peppers wrote the tribute song to him, "Transcending." (thanks, Bert - Pueblo, NM)
Anthony Kiedis sings "Give It Away" 68 times in this song. (thanks, Colton - Puyallup, WA)
Weird Al Yankovic parodied this song. His version is called "Bedrock Anthem," and is about the cartoon The Flintstones
. It starts out with a parody of the beginning of the Chili Peppers "Under The Bridge
" (their other massive hit at the time), and goes into a spoof of this song. Weird Al's music video was a spoof of the "Under the Bridge" and "Give it Away" videos that all began with the Bee Girl from Blind Melon's "No Rain
" video. (thanks, Bert - Pueblo, NM)
Red Hot Chili Peppers performed this song at the Super Bowl halftime show in 2014 at MetLife Stadium Stadium in New Jersey (this was the game when the Seattle Seahawks blew out the Denver Broncos, 43-8). The headliner of the show was Bruno Mars, who started in on the song before the Peppers appeared. Mars and his band stayed on stage the song, and after a video interlude, closed the show with their track "Just The Way You Are
Mike Love of The Beach Boys
The lead singer/lyricist of The Beach Boys talks about coming up with the words for "Good Vibrations," "Fun, Fun, Fun," "Kokomo" and other classic songs.
They Might Be Giants
Who writes a song about a name they found in a phone book? That's just one of the everyday things these guys find to sing about. Anything in their field of vision or general scope of knowledge is fair game. If you cross paths with them, so are you.
A band so baffling, even their names were contrived. Check your score in the Ramones version of Fact or Fiction.