In 1992 the single charted inside the top 75 of the US Hot 100 in the wake of the huge success of the record's second single "Under the Bridge". The phrase had been something the vocalist intended to incorporate into a song for the band's new record, but it was not until he heard the bassline that the lyrics fit.
"Give It Away" also became the band's first top ten hit in the United Kingdom, where it peaked at number nine on the UK Singles Chart; this didn't occur until February 1994, nearly 2 and a half years after it was first released in the US. During their tenure in the group, the guitarist and bassist created the main riff and accompanying bassline for "Give It Away". Kiedis said, "I was so struck by Flea's bass part, which covered the whole length of the instrument's neck, that I jumped up and marched over to the mic, my notebook in tow.
"Give It Away" won a Grammy award at the 35th Ceremony in 1993 for the "Best Hard Rock Performance".
The music video for "Give It Away" was made by French fashion photographer and director Stéphane Sednaoui.
Hagen was several years Kiedis' senior and became a role-model during his drug addiction to heroin: "she realized how young and inexperienced I was then, so she was always passing on gems to me, not in a preachy way, just by seizing on opportunities." Upon expressing this, Hagen immediately told him to keep it.
Her reasoning behind this selflessness was due to an attempt to constantly make her life more enjoyable, and explained to Kiedis that "if you have a closet full of clothes and you try to keep them all, your life will get very small.
According to Kiedis, "That was the beginning of the infusion of those songs into mass consciousness." Critical reception to the song, much like the album, was highly positive.