Mother's Milk is the fourth studio and video album by American rock band Red Hot Chili Peppers, released August 16, 1989 by EMI Records. After the death of founding guitarist Hillel Slovak and the subsequent departure of drummer Jack Irons, vocalist Anthony Kiedis and bassist Flea regrouped with the addition of guitarist John Frusciante and drummer Chad Smith. Frusciante's influence altered the band's sound by placing more emphasis on melody than rhythm, which had dominated the band's previous material. Returning producer Michael Beinhorn favored heavy metal guitar riffs, as well as overdubbing perceived by Frusciante as excessive, and as a result, Beinhorn and Frusciante constantly fought over the album's guitar sound.
Mother's Milk was a greater commercial success than the band's first three albums, peaking at number 52 on the US Billboard 200. It received widespread airplay for the three singles which included the cover of Stevie Wonder's "Higher Ground, "Knock Me Down" and "Taste the Pain," and became their first gold record in early 1990. Although it was not met with the same positive critical reception that its predecessor The Uplift Mofo Party Plan (1987) had garnered, Mother's Milk was the first step for the band in achieving international success and, according to Amy Hanson of AllMusic, "turned the tide and transformed the band from underground funk-rocking rappers to mainstream bad boys with seemingly very little effort."
Released on August 16, 1989, Mother's Milk peaked at number 52 on the U.S. Billboard 200, and number 32 on the U.S. Cash Box album charts The record failed to chart in the United Kingdom and Europe, but climbed to number 33 in Australia. "Knock Me Down" reached number six on the U.S. Modern Rock Tracks whereas "Higher Ground" charted at number eleven; the latter of the two ultimately proved to be more successful, however, by influencing foreign charts at number fifty-four in the UK and forty-five in Australia and France. While "Taste the Pain" did not chart in the U.S., the single reached number twenty-six in the UK—the group's first Top 40 single in the region. The success the Red Hot Chili Peppers achieved with Mother's Milk was something the group had been working towards since the release of their debut album; Apter notes, "After five hard years, several departures, sackings and one tragic death, the Peppers were now much more than a hometown sensation." The band had played numerous concerts before the album's release and aired new songs weekly to generate interest in it. Mother's Milk was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America in late March 1990—it is now certified platinum—and was the first Chili Peppers album to ship in excess of 500,000 units. In 2003 the album was re-released through EMI; all tracks were completely remastered and an additional six songs were included as well as hand written liner notes from Flea.
Red Hot Chili Peppers - Mothers Milk
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