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. Frusciante perceived Beinhorn’s taste as excessive, and as a result, the two 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 it 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.”