Red Hot Chili Peppers – “Give It Away” Lyrics Meaning

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Written By Joanna Landrum

Joanna holds a BSc in English Literature and uses her expertise in literary analysis to uncover the deeper meaning of her favorite songs.

“Give It Away” by Red Hot Chili Peppers is a rock anthem that revolves around the philosophy of selflessness and the act of giving. The song preaches the value of giving without expecting anything in return, suggesting that real joy and freedom come from this act of unreserved generosity. Penned by Anthony Kiedis, the lyrics convey the importance of love, spirituality, and unity over materialism and selfishness. The track is not specifically about a person but serves as a universal call to action: Give away your love and your joy, and you’ll find greater satisfaction in life.

Ready to dive deep into the mystic world of “Give It Away”? Stick around for an in-depth lyrical analysis, backstory, and what this tune can teach us about the art of living.

“Give It Away” Lyrics Meaning

So, we get it. The song is about giving. But there’s so much more than that. Let’s get into the nitty-gritty.

The lines “What I’ve got, you’ve got to give it to your mamma, your pappa, your daughter” dive right into the essence of community. Sharing what you’ve got is not just for one person; it’s for the whole tribe—family, friends, everyone.

The repetitive “What I’ve got, you’ve got to get it put it in you” serves as a mantra, pushing the idea that this philosophy of giving should not just be understood but should be internalized, felt deep within.

But hey, it’s not just about material things. The song subtly addresses our emotional and spiritual gifts too. “Realize, I don’t want to be a miser / Confide with sly, you’ll be the wiser.” Being miserly isn’t limited to money or objects. It could be miserliness of spirit, of wisdom, and even of love. Giving these away freely can actually make you “wiser” and richer in life.

“Bob Marley, poet and a prophet / Bob Marley, taught me how to off it” adds another layer. Marley, a huge symbol of love and unity, is brought in to underline the song’s message. He taught the lesson of giving love without conditions.

“Love is free, love me say hell yes,” is a bold declaration. It demolishes the notion that love has to be earned, commodified, or paid for. Love is the most genuine thing you can give away.

“I can’t tell if I’m a kingpin or a pauper,” captures the uncertainty of material life. Our social status, wealth, or power doesn’t define us; it’s our actions, particularly our capacity to give.

This is just scratching the surface. The song is a beautiful journey into human morality, emotions, and the boundless potential for good that we all carry within us.

The Story Behind “Give It Away”

Anthony Kiedis wrote “Give It Away” during a time of reflection. He’d experienced the highs and lows of fame, substance abuse, and relationships. This song came as an epiphany, a realization that what truly mattered was something much more profound than fame or material gain.

Inspired by a day on a boat where a friend gave away a prized possession without a second thought, Kiedis was touched by the act. The song was born from this moment, and it captures that ‘aha’ experience. It serves as a reminder, even for himself, that the real treasures in life are not things but the love and positivity we share with others.

to be a giver / Keep you warm won’t let you shiver / His heart is never gonna wither.” This line echoes the continuous flow of giving and how it sustains us, much like a river that never dries up. In essence, the act of giving keeps our spirit “warm” and everlasting.

The Red Hot Chili Peppers have always been known for mixing funk, punk, and rock with deep philosophical messages, and “Give It Away” is no exception. Recorded during the “Blood Sugar Sex Magik” sessions, the song came at a pivotal moment for the band. They were moving away from their raw, early days to a more polished, yet still edge-cutting sound. The song encapsulates this transition, blending spiritual depth with a foot-tapping groove.

“Give It Away” isn’t just another hit; it’s a legacy piece for the band and its fans, reminding us all of the power of generosity, love, and the shared human experience. It’s a track that transcends its time, a timeless anthem that calls us to be our better selves. So, why hold back? Like the song says, it’s never been a better time than right now to give it away.

The song is an invitation to reflect on what really counts. After all, isn’t that what music should do—move us to be better versions of ourselves? So go on, give it away.