21 songs every Foo Fighters fan should know off by heart
Who would have thought that the end of one of rock's greatest bands would spawn the beginning of another?
When Kurt Cobain died and Nirvana came to an end, no one would have suspected that the drummer would go on to front one of the biggest bands in the world. That drummer was Dave Grohl, and that band is Foo Fighters.
In a career spanning 20 years, they went from living under the shadow of grunge to selling out Wembley, headlining almost every festival in the world (so close, Glastonbury) and selling bazillions of records. Everyone knows a Foo Fighters song or two, but true fans know every word, every riff and every bit where Dave Grohl just yells unintelligibly.
If you're a proper Foos fan, you should know all these songs right here. There's a playlist for you at the bottom too, because we're nice like that.
1. All My Life
Dundun - dundundun - dundundun - dundundun - dundundun... The second you hear that riff, you know shit's about to go down. There's no mosh like a Foo Fighters mosh, and All My Life is the moshiest of the mosh.
2. Monkey Wrench
Everyone has tried to shout along to the "One last thing before I quit/I never wanted any more..." refrain without having to suck in a huge lungful of air halfway through, and pretty much everyone has failed. Still, the main thing is you're having a go.
3. Learn to Fly
If there's one thing Dave Grohl knows his way around, it's a huge chorus. If there's another thing he knows his way around, it's hilarious music videos. Oh, wait a second. Learn to Fly has both? Well, goddamn.
4. My Hero
Lots of bands can rock out and lots of bands can write emotionally powerful songs, but few can combine them like Foo Fighters can. Of course, for many Foo fans, their hero is right up there on stage, so it's probably a bit weird for Dave Grohl to hear his own song being sung back at him in this way. Mind you, it's probably a bit weird being Dave Grohl full stop.
5. The Pretender
A truly epic opening track from Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace, and another from the Just Yell As Loud As Possible school of songwriting. Works a treat, mind.
6. Times Like These
Every Foos fan know that One By One is easily their worst album, with Times Like These being the only decent song on there (besides All My Life), and despite being in a deceptively weird time signature, it's still a stomping rock classic.
7. Best of You
This is the big one, the one that everyone knows, the one that even your mum can probably hum along to. Doesn't matter, it's still a huge lung-buster of a tune.
The Foos came back stronger than ever in 2011 with this track from Wasting Light, the album they recorded in Dave Grohl's garage. It's everything you could want from Foo Fighters: blistering riffs and singalong choruses.
The Foos have all the trappings of a hard rock band, but deep down you know they really love a good pop song, of which Breakout is a fine example. It may not have been about teenagers suffering from acne, but those of us who were teenagers suffering from acne liked to read it that way.
10. Let It Die
The rumour is that this song is about Courtney Love, which will scintillate any fan with even a rudimentary knowledge of Foo Fighters/Nirvana history. It also rocks, hard.
11. Stacked Actors
Damn, that riff. Damn, that jazzy verse. Damn, damn, damn.
12. Big Me
'Adorable' isn't a word you'd usually associate with the hairy, sweaty rock stylings of Foo Fighters, but this early track is the very definition of the word. It's like a picture your kid did at school that you pop on the fridge; it's not a great picture, but it's a sign of good things to come.
Ahh yes, the other side of the Foos. The soft, acoustic side that they explored on the second (and to be honest, better) disc of In Your Honor. This track features Josh Homme from Queens of the Stone Age on acoustic guitar - a bit of a change of pace for both him and Grohl.
14. Skin and Bones
Gypsy Foos? Yep, they went there. Determined to prove that they could do anything, Skin and Bones is a track that only ever existed as part of the band's acoustic tour, and it kind of proves their point, really. The album cover also stands out as being one of the few Foo Fighters records that isn't mainly black/white/grey in colour.
15. White Limo
Aaaand we're back. They're not messing around on this song; it's all riffs, distorted vocals and a hot, steaming bowl of "Fuck you".
"No one's getting out of here alive," sings/yells Dave. That's not a threat, that's a promise. You're not going anywhere once your brain has flown out of your skull from all the headbanging.
17. Something From Nothing
The Foos have an on-off relationship with being a balls-out rock band. This, from their experimental album Sonic Highways, sounds like a weird mashup of Stevie Wonder and Black Sabbath, and terrible as that sounds, this song is actually pretty great.
18. Cold Day in the Sun
One of the few songs that doesn't feature Dave on lead vocals. It's drummer Taylor on the mic with a song he wrote himself, a staple of the Foos' live shows.
19. This Is A Call
The first song from the first Foo Fighters album, where everything began. It's a pretty damn good song too.
If you could play the guitar at school, you could play Everlong - those were the rules of being a teenage guitarist. There's about four chords in the whole song and playing it made you look like you had feelings, as opposed to the black vacuum of nothingness inside of you. Or was that just us?
A soft one to close on, and the first Foos track to feature a piano. It's a sweet song about longing, with basically just Dave tinkling the ivories. Aww.
Ah shit, we can't go out on a quiet one. Here's a bonus belter from the old days.
And here's that playlist you wanted. You are very welcome.
Feature image: Chris Hyde / Getty Images