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The first single off The Colour and the Shape album and one of the band’s biggest hits (top 10 on Billboard ‘s Mainstream Rock chart in the United State). The sing is perhaps best known for its frenetic, hold-your-breath-and scream verse from Dave Grohl near the end of the track. A live concert favorite, “Monkey Wrench”?was born out of Grohl’s failed marriage to first wife Jennifer Youngblood.?
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By now, most fans of Dave Grohl and his Foo Fighters project know that wrote, player and recorded the 1995 debut record all by himself. Eventually said recording reached record labels and Grohl needed an actual band to play his songs. “I’ll Stick Around” was the second single off Foo Fighters’ self-titled debut album and a track that kind of set the pace of the overall sound we’d become accustomed to from Grohl and Co.
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The first song and first single from Foo Fighters’ debut album. Dave Grohl wrote the tune following the death of Nirvana bandmate Kurt Cobain. That was unlike much of the records, whose songs were born out of those Nirvana days. The song reached as high as No. 6 on Billboard’s Mainstream Rock chart in the United States. It’s certainly a good starting point for music lovers looking to get into Foo Fighters — and an example of Grohl’s exceptional talent as an overall musician.
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In recent years, this cut-off Concrete and Gold has become a relative staple of the band’s live shows. Reportedly, it was inspired by Dave Grohl’s penchant for stargazing. Though not a major hit for Foo Fighters, this tune is one of the better recent offerings from a group that continues to evolve. Especially beyond the confines of Grohl’s overall genius as a songwriter, musician, and performer.
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One of three cuts from 2007’s Grammy Award-winning Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace. “Long Road to Ruin” is the type of song that could have been released by the band in the 90s. Then again, this whole record fused that signature rock Foo Fighters sound with a more melodic focus that proved to be the direction the group was headed at the time. The song found its way into Billboard’s Hot 100 but was a No. 1 hit on the Alternative Airplay Chart that has always been good to the band.
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While another massively popular Foo Fighters’ cut, it’s probably the one single true rock fans dislike the most. Though, it still rates an obvious spot on this list. “Big Me” is arguably the most “pop” defined song in the band’s catalog. It’s also responsible for one of Foo Fighters’ most popular videos, likely because of its mocking of those Mentos’ candy commercials. It earned five nominations at the MTV Video Music Awards
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Another Foos tune that is known for its creative and quirky music video, which won the Grammy Award for Best Short Form Video. That said, it also did well when people were still listening to rock radio back in the late 1990s. “Learn to Fly” is the first Foo Fighters’ song to make it into Billboard’s Hot 100, peaking at No. 19. The song has also grown into one of the highlights of the group’s high-energy live sets.
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There were four years between the release of Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace, and Wasting Light, which was a return to the band’s heavier sound. While songs like “Rope” and “White Limo” from the album are worthy of consideration on this list, “These Days” tends to stand out among the best the record has to offer for its level of content. The band, and Dave Grohl especially, seemed to be satisfied with its stage in life and this album proved it was ready to tackle the future as a confident collective. It also happens to be one of the shining moments of the Foo Fighters live experience.
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”Wheels” was one of two new songs released on Foo Fighters’ greatest hits album. The song was written while the band toured on the Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace album. It was also produced by alternative rock veteran Butch Vig. The piece was a top-five hit for Foo Fighters on various billboard charts and does have a pop feel to it. One that might have fit well in a Dawson’s Creek or One Tree Hill episode during the 1990s.
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An unheralded piece and perhaps Foo Fighters best deep cut. “Aurora” was never released as a single off the band’s third studio album There Is Nothing Left to Lose. Yet, it’s one of the group’s more melodic songs that have been cited often by Dave Grohl and drummer and Taylor Hawkins as being among their favorite Foo Fighters songs, Even if the track never enjoyed mainstream success and hasn’t been a consistent presence during live shows.
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Another Grammy winner, “All My Life” spent 10 consecutive weeks atop Billboard’s Alternative Airplay Chart and is the highlight off the One by One album, which also won a Grammy. The song features some of Taylor Hawkins’ most noteworthy drum work without drawing a lot of attention to himself behind the kit. In terms of overall records. One by One might be Foo Fighters’ best from an overall production standpoint.
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Another high point from the Concrete and Gold album, “Run” won a Grammy Award for Best Rock Song. Proving once again that Foo Fighters continue to get better with age. “Run” has a solid combo of metal and grunge, with plenty of punk ethos there for good measure. More impressive, the band is able to pull it off without any major hitch some 20 years after Dave Grohl and his various bandmates got the Foo Fighters brand rolling as a collective.
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”Times Like These” is a song about Dave Grohl at a professional crossroads in his life. In terms of the band’s future and if he had the energy to continue its existence. Thankfully for rock fans, Grohl kept at it and the One by One album, which spawned this single that cracked the Billboard Hot 100, won the Grammy for Best Rock Album, showed that even when things got tough, Grohl had what it took to persevere.
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In 2005, Grohl and his Foo Fighters released In Your Honor, a double album that harkened back to the 1970s and into the ’80s, when that was a common trend. The record featured one side of hard-rocking tunes that regularly would be associated with the band. The second side showcased more mellow, acoustic tracks. “End Over End” closes out the former, and is one of the more unheralded cuts in the band’s history. Straight-forward alternative rock, with Grohl’s signature Foo Fighters’ melodies.
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We hit upon the various dynamics at play on Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace. “Home” is a perfect example of that. There’s almost a late-1960s, Beatlesque thing going on here with this piano-driven album finale. While it might not be the type of thing we’ve come to expect from Foo Fighters in the past up until then, it should not have surprised at all that the band — or Dave Grohl, in particular — was able to pull it off in brilliant fashion.
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While “Home” is arguably the hidden gem of Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace, “The Pretender” is an undisputed highlight. This hard-changing, stellar lead-off cut opens with a certain Zeppelin vibe. Then unleashes a pure hard-rock assault that makes up one of the best songs in the Foo Fighters’ arsenal. Plenty of rock critics consider “The Pretender” is among the best songs of the 2000s. The track reached No. 37 on Billboard’s Hot 100.
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This two-time Grammy winner (Best Rock Performance and Best Rock Song) is the ideal track to close out a concert setlist before bringing the house down with a stellar encore. The closing number off Wasting Light, “Walk” is quintessential Foo Fighters. A track that we could see being released in 1997, 2001, or 2011. Not to mention, of all the creatively entertaining and funny music videos the band has made, “Walk” might take the cake.
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Not necessarily a political song, but the track was reportedly inspired after Dave Grohl made an appearance during John Kerry’s presidential campaign tour in 2004. The tune talks of breaking free from any type of confinement. Though Kerry never became president, “Best of You” peaked at No. 18 on the Hot 100 and hit No. 1 on two other Billboard charts. It was part of the harder side of the In Your Honor double album.
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The third and final single off The Colour and the Shape just might be the most recognized mainstream hit from the Foos. Grohl has not been totally committal about whether the song truly is about late Kurt Cobain, and for years seemed to get agitated when continuously asked. Over the years the track has also been used in such movies as The Other Guys and Varsity Blues.
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Arguably one of the best rock songs of the 1990s, “Everlong” is the perfect set closer, encore finisher, or, in this case, way to conclude a definitive song list. While there are still some critics and hardcore grunge fans who feel this track is too mainstream and not as gritty as the songs off the band’s first album — or even a piece like “Monkey Wrench” off The Colour and the Shape, “Everlong” might be the most defining musical moment on Foo Fighters’ Hall-of-Fame legacy.