A.M. Shuffle sends you on the “Love Rollercoaster” with the Chili Peppers
Greasing the writing gears with some words about whatever music pops up on shuffle. Today: the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ “Love Rollercoaster.”
The Red Hot Chili Peppers are a Hall of Fame band, icons and influential, and yet we’ve never answered the question of whether they’re morons with flashes of brilliance or geniuses with occasional lapses of infantilism. Both are on display in this cover tune, which marries a lumberjack-funk Flea bass line to Anthony Kiedis’ filthy-nursery-rhyme scat-rapping … you know, like pretty much every Peppers song ever.
Anyway, this song is from the era when Dave Navarro played guitar, which means the Peppers will never acknowledge its existence again. It was also part of the “Beavis & Butthead Do America” soundtrack, which means it’s of a time when MTV wielded enough power to get everyone from Aerosmith to Rob Zombie to Englebert Humperdinck to pony up original tunes for cartoon soundtracks. (Fun fact: the last song Nirvana released during Kurt Cobain’s lifetime was on a Beavis & Butthead CD, a cheery ditty entitled “I Hate Myself and Want to Die.”)
Speaking of death, the most interesting thing about this song is the legend surrounding the original version by the Ohio Players. According to lore, you can hear the scream of a woman being murdered in the background of the song. (See for yourself at the 2:32 mark here.)
This would be the most gruesome recording-session tale in rock, but by no means the only one. Let’s recount a couple others that I can think of off the top of my head:
1. While the Rolling Stones were recording “Let’s Spend the Night Together,” cops busted in searching for drugs. (Why? On what probable cause?) The recording engineer, thinking quickly, got them on tape recording their night-sticks clacking in rhythm while the rest of the band flushed the evidence. You can hear the clacking during the breakdown of the song at 1:40, here.
2. The Kingsmen were a barely-competent band that recorded one of the world’s greatest drunk-rock songs, “Louie Louie.” And even in this two minutes, they brushed up against the narrow edges of their talent; the drummer drops his sticks and you can hear an audible “fuck!”
3. And, hey, speaking of which: during the spacey bridge of Guns n’ Roses’ “Rocket Queen,” you can hear a woman moaning in ecstasy. That’s because classy cat Axl Rose allegedly took her in the recording studio and, well, gave her a ride on the ol’ Love Rollercoaster while the tapes were rolling. Apparently, she was also drummer Steven Adler’s girlfriend, further proving that Guns n’ Roses is the world’s greatest band.
4. During the making of Hall and Oates’ “I Can’t Go For That,” John Oates skinned and devoured a live possum while Daryl Hall looked on in horror, hence the song’s title. (This one may or may not be actually true.)
Rock music is the best.