10 Artists That Changed With One Song

Changing on a Dime.

Moves Like Jagger
A&M Octone

Most bands know how to change over time. You can’t keep mining the same three chord schlock forever, and artists want to start exploring different avenues of their sound that no one has heard before. Sometimes those happen over time, but you can also get it within the span of one song.

The minute that these songs hit the airwaves, fans knew that it was never going to be the same again. Either bringing in new production techniques or diving headfirst into a new sound, there was no build up for these changes at all. While it might have been brave for these artists to stick their neck out on the line, not every one of these songs went over well in the beginning. Fans were vocal about detesting these songs at first, only to come around on them years later and praising their favorite bands for completely reinventing themselves.

For the unlucky few though, these were the songs that sunk their reputation and made sure they would be relegated to the bargain bins of music history. Change should be a good thing, but if you don’t know how to handle it well, you’ll become yesterday’s news in no time.

10. Under the Bridge - Red Hot Chili Peppers

At the start of the ‘90s, most of the Chili Peppers had lived enough for any rock star’s lifetime. Although they might not have been the most high profile band to come out of California, their legendary knack for partying and creating a cool funky time onstage was unrivaled by any of their peers. There was a darker side of them though, and Under the Bridge was something that no one was expecting.

While the Peppers had always intended to work with Rick Rubin, Rubin was floored when he found a piece of poetry by Anthony Kiedis that he thought would make a great song. Kiedis was initially lenient to be this vulnerable with his song lyrics, but when John Frusciante came up with the central guitar figure, nothing was off the table, bringing in a choir and hardly any percussion to tell the story of Kiedis feigning for heroin back in the day. While Kiedis singing about his demons was nothing new at this point, what was new was his perspective on it, looking more as a survivor of his demons and doing his best to look to the positive side of life instead of giving in to his hedonistic tendencies.

ven though Kiedis had a few relapses after this, the rest of the Peppers’ catalog is informed by him trying his best to recover on songs like Otherside. Since this was the Peppers’ first major exposure in the public eye in 1991, this song deserves a place next to Nirvana for ushering in the next phase of rock and roll.

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