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Red Hot Chili Peppers Admit They Copied Jimi Hendrix on “Breaking the Girl”

(Image credit: Ian Dickson/Getty Images)

Anyone “familiar with Jimi Hendrix’s 1967 track “Manic Depression” and the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ 1991 hit “Breaking the Girl” may have noticed a more than subtle similarity between the songs: namely, the drum pattern.

Now in an interview with Rock 105.3 Radio, RHCP drummer Chad Smith comes clean about his appropriation of Mitch Mitchell’s drum part from the Hendrix tune.

During their chat, the interviewer told Smith that his drum part bore the strong influence of Led Zeppelin’s “Dazed and Confused.”

Smith responded, “I have to correct you. I get what you’re saying,” he said, and proceeded to set the record straight.

“We were sitting on a couch with [producer] Rick Rubin [during the making of the song]. He had a bunch of old bootlegs, and they were so great, and we were watching Zeppelin.

“But ‘Breaking the Girl’—the drums on that I stole that from ‘Manic Depression’ and Mitch Mitchell. Does that make sense?”

“But,” Smith adds, “that’s not to say that John Bonham and Led Zeppelin’s music wasn’t a huge influence to this day.”

“Breaking the Girl” was included on RHCP’s Blood Sugar Sex Magik album, which featured the guitar work of John Frusciante and was produced by Rubin.

You can compare the drum parts from both songs below.

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Christopher Scapelliti is editor-in-chief of Guitar Player (opens in new tab) magazine, the world’s longest-running guitar magazine, founded in 1967. In his extensive career, he has authored in-depth interviews with such guitarists as Pete Townshend, Slash, Billy Corgan, Jack White, Elvis Costello and Todd Rundgren, and audio professionals including Beatles engineers Geoff Emerick and Ken Scott. He is the co-author of Guitar Aficionado: The Collections: The Most Famous, Rare, and Valuable Guitars in the World (opens in new tab), a founding editor of Guitar Aficionado magazine, and a former editor with Guitar WorldGuitar for the Practicing Musician and Maximum Guitar. Apart from guitars, he maintains a collection of more than 30 vintage analog synthesizers.