Puneet Varma (Editor)

Breaking the Girl

Updated on
Share on FacebookTweet on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Reddit
B-side  "Fela's Cock"
Format  CD, 7", 12", cassette
Released  July 30, 1992
Label  Warner Bros.
Recorded  May – June 1991 at The Mansion in Los Angeles, California
Length  4:55 (Album Version) 4:27 (Single Edit)

"Breaking the Girl" is a song by the Red Hot Chili Peppers from their 1991 album Blood Sugar Sex Magik. It was released as the fourth single from their studio album in 1992 and is a melodic ballad that refers to a turbulent relationship between frontman Anthony Kiedis and his former girlfriend, Carmen Hawk.



"Breaking the Girl"'s bridge is marked by a percussion break that builds through the use of increasingly complex rhythms. The percussion instruments consisted of junkyard debris found by drummer Chad Smith, guitarist John Frusciante, and bassist Flea. Frusciante's main riff was inspired by Led Zeppelin's ballads, such as "The Battle of Evermore" and "Friends". The song also makes use of a 12-string guitar and a Mellotron, using the flute patch. It is one of only five songs the group has recorded in the 6/8 time signature, the others being "Porcelain" on Californication, "Love of Your Life" and "Open/Close" from the I'm with You sessions later released on the I'm Beside You double LP compilation, and "The Hunter" from The Getaway. Chad Smith said in The Chad & Flea Show that his drumming in the song was inspired by Mitch Mitchell's work in the Jimi Hendrix Experience track Manic Depression (song).

Music video

The music video was released in 1992 and was directed by Stéphane Sednaoui, who had previously made a video for the song "Give It Away". It makes heavy, experimental use of vibrant colors, with the background and costumes changing constantly. The band members adopt surreal appearances and behavior, with Kiedis for example having an overall Princess Leia-esque look, complete with robes and a "donut" hairstyle. The "Breaking the Girl" video is one of only two videos to feature Arik Marshall (who briefly acted as a replacement for guitarist John Frusciante) the other video being for "If You Have to Ask" – though he did not play on either track. The video also features a brief cameo by River Phoenix, who was good friends with members of the band. The woman in the video is model/actress Patricia Velásquez.

Live performances

The song was performed once on the Blood Sugar Sex Magik Tour opening date in 1991, and later reappeared in the band's setlist once in 2000 but not again until 2003. After an eight-year hiatus from being performed, the band added the song to a few setlists on their I'm with You Tour. Kiedis also briefly performed the song with The Roots during his appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon in November 2014. The song returned after a five-year hiatus from the band's setlist in January 2017 on The Getaway World Tour.

Cover versions

  • Anna Nalick recorded an acoustic version of the song for her Shine EP, released April 2008.
  • British acoustic band Turin Brakes recorded a version for their 'Napster live' session; a version also appears on the 2007 compilation album, The Saturday Sessions: The Dermot O'Leary Show.
  • Canadian bass & drum duo My Sister Ocean recorded a version in 4/4 time for their album Function Control Option Command. The single was released to Canadian rock radio in June 2012.
  • El Perro Del Mar recorded a version in 2012 for the album Pale Fire, but never used it. The cover was shared on Facebook in December 2015, as an "early xmas gift" for their followers. [1]
  • Track listing

    CD single (1992)
    1. "Breaking the Girl" (edit)
    2. "Fela's Cock" (previously unreleased)
    3. "Suck My Kiss" (live)
    4. "I Could Have Lied" (live)
    CD single version 2 (1992)
    1. "Breaking the Girl" (edit)
    2. "Suck My Kiss" (live)
    3. "I Could Have Lied" (live)
    7" single (1992)
    1. "Breaking the Girl" (edit)
    2. "Fela's Cock" (unreleased)
    12" single (1992)
    1. "Breaking the Girl" (edit)
    2. "Fela's Cock" (previously unreleased)
    3. "Suck My Kiss" (live)
    4. "I Could Have Lied" (live)
    Cassette single (1992)
    1. "Breaking the Girl" (edit)
    2. "The Power of Equality" (album version)


    Breaking the Girl Wikipedia