U.S. Billboard Hot 100: peak #9 (nine), 1999
Modern Rock: peak #1 (one), 1999
Mainstream Rock: peak #1 (one), 1999
Adult: peak #11 (eleven), 1999
Mainstream Top 40: peak #12 (twelve), 1999
Billboard chart listings courtesy of Billboard Magazine
Scar Tissue is the first single from the American alternative rock band Red Hot Chili Peppers seventh studio album Californication, released in 1999. It is one of their most successful songs, spending a then-record 16 consecutive weeks on top of the Billboard Hot Modern Rock Tracks chart, as well as 10 weeks at the top of the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks chart and reached #8 on Billboard Hot 100 Airplay. It peaked at #9 on the Billboard Hot 100. In the UK, the song reached #15 on the UK Singles Chart. It won a Grammy Award for Best Rock Song in 2000. The song is notable for its mellow intro guitar riff and for its slide guitar solos throughout. Guitar World placed the guitar solo 63rd in its list of the 100 Greatest Guitar Solos.
Scar Tissue has been a live staple in the bands setlists since its first performance in 1998 making it the bands third most performed song ever behind only Give It Away and Under the Bridge
Scar Tissue is considered to be representative of the new, more melodic rock sound the band experimented with on Californication (in contrast to the psychedelic One Hot Minute, and dry funk of Blood Sugar Sex Magik).
The song is about Anthony Kiedis and his battles with drugs, as well as the quarrels he had. Sarcastic Mister know it all was directed at Dave Navarro, who he referred to as the king of sarcasm. Make it to the moon if I have to crawl is a reference to his heroin addiction, which made him desperate to get high.
Kiedis told that Scar Tissue came to him in a precise moment when he heard the other band members play the music and he felt as if an exterior influx had succeeded in merging the melody and apparent words suddenly came to his unconscious mind.
John Frusciante has stated that the guitar playing on his first solo record inspired the songs technique of taking two notes that are an octave apart and playing them in a rhythm.
Scar Tissue was written by Anthony Kiedis, probably because of the return of guitar player John Frusciante. Frusciante left the Peppers in 1992, uncomfortable with the bands success. He developed a severe drug addiction, but returned in 1998 to work together to make the album Californication. The theme of this song is often referred to as life and resurrection. Scar Tissue is remarkably melodic, which contrasts with the earlier work of the Peppers. This was typical of the new style the band embraced since Californication.
The music video for Scar Tissue was directed by Stéphane Sednaoui, who also directed the video for Give It Away.
The opening shot is of John Frusciante driving, a metaphor for Frusciantes return to band (he does not drive in real life). But the four of them are battered, beaten and bandaged. They are traveling in a rusty wreck and playing broken instruments on the comeback trail. The video ends after an emotional thirty second Frusciante guitar solo at the moment of sunset, with John tossing the broken guitar from the car. The car Frusciante drove for the video was a 1967 Pontiac Catalina convertible. A very similar concept was considered, then scrapped, for the earlier Soul to Squeeze video. Prior to the video shoot, Kiedis had his hair cut and dyed his brown hair, platinum blond.
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