Here at Hamburgers N’Heroin, we’re positively giddy with excitement at the prospect of 5 hairy blokes descending on Lord Henry Mount Charles’ back garden and making an obscene amount of noise for several hours. Yes, Foo Fighters are finally headlining Slane 2015! Of course, they have played the venue before in 2003, supporting Red Hot Chili Peppers, but the headline slot in Slane Castle is a horse of a different colour. We’re even willing to put up with the mediocrity of Kaiser Chiefs on the day. By this of course I mean we’ll most likely be at the bar when they’re polluting the atmosphere in Lord Henry’s back garden.
Elsewhere in terms of support acts on the bill, make sure to get down early for The Strypes – a blues rock band from Cavan in case you don’t know; they’re good craic. Also Northern Irish legends Ash will be making an appearance. Then there’s Hozier. While he may be a well respected, incredibly successful Irish singer-songwriter, he does seem like a strange choice of support act, given that his music is generally the polar opposite to that of the Foo’s. Still, we’ll see how he’ll fare in front of 80,000 odd punters this Saturday.
And now to the main act themselves and indeed the core of this article. If you’re a longtime Foo Fighters fan and looking for one handy playlist to get yourself geared up for the weekend (or even if you’ve been roped into going to the gig by your other half and looking for a reasonably deft playlist as a starting point for their back catalogue) then look no further! All the essential Foo Fighters hits are included, plus a bountiful helping of deep cuts from the boys to wrap your ears around. Much like last weeks gaylist that we posted, it’s also arranged in such a way so as to flow reasonably smoothly, like a proper cohesive album. So sit back, relax, throw on your ear goggles and enjoy!
Spotify playlist link included at the bottom of the page
01. Stacked Actors
One of the bands heaviest songs, it has been a live staple for the majority of Foo Fighters performances since it was first unleashed on the world in 1999. The juxtaposition of the screaming heavy chorus along with the jazz lounge-like verses make this a somewhat unique slice of the Foo’s discography. Fun fact for guitar nerds: the tuning on the guitars for Stacked Actors is drop A. For reals.
02. I’ll Stick Around
Some speculated at the time of release that this track is about Courtney Love, the disdain for whom lead singer Dave Grohl has made no secret of throughout the years. He even referred to her as an “ugly bitch” during a performance at 2002’s Witness festival in Ratoath, Co. Meath. He has always denied that the song has any lyrical references to Love but in any case, the song is a belter.
03. Monkey Wrench
This song, along with much of the Foo Fighters sophomore LP The Colour and the Shape was inspired by the demise of Dave Grohl’s marriage to Jennifer Youngblood. It also remains one of their finest singles, and a 1990’s alt-rock classic. The notion of 80,000 people screaming along to the “One last thing before I quit” verse is a very exciting prospect indeed.
04. All My Life
The first offering from 2002’s One By One album, this remains a live favourite for both the band and audiences alike. One shrewd observation from Grohl around the time of release was that the palm-muted “dun dun…dun dun dun” guitar intro was almost like the Jaws theme in its primal, tension building nature.
05. No Way Back
Arguably the finest single from 2005’s In Your Honour, No Way Back was inspired by Dave Grohl’s experiences on presidential candidate John Kerry’s campaign trail.
06. This Is a Call
The opener to the Foo Fighters debut album, Dave Grohl has said the song was written in Ireland.
I think I wrote ‘This Is A Call’ in Ireland. When I got back I booked five days in a recording studio, which seemed like an eternity, and I did the whole first Foo Fighters album in five days.
07. Hey, Johnny Park!
Fan favourite Hey, Johnny Park! was so called purely because there was a childhood friend of Grohl’s that he hadn’t seen since he was 14 years old. This was his way of getting Johnny Park’s attention.
08. Have It All
A highlight from the One By One record, Have It All was the fourth and final single to be released from the album. Along with Stacked Actors, live performances would often divulge into long comprehensive jams on stage.
09. The Pretender
A big, sweeping epic track, the opener of Echoes Silence Patience & Grace was put together in the studio in an hour according to Grohl.
It’s the sort of song that this band is all about. It’s not Bohemian Rhapsody; it’s a basic four-part rock song with a Chuck Berry breakdown in the middle. I love it.
10. Weenie Beenie
Weenie Beenie is yet another Foo Fighters offering that the band have had to correct peoples perceptions on. Despite speculation, it is not about Kurt Cobain’s suicide, as some people took from the “One shot nothing” lyric. Grohl claims the song was actually written in 1991. What the song is actually about is anyone’s guess, but it ranks highly among the thrashiest end of the bands oeuvre.
11. In Your Honour
Another song inspired by the John Kerry campaign trail, it served as an excellent opening to the double album of the same name. Even if it does have the exact same chords as Radiohead’s Sulk.
12. My Hero
A song written about “the common man and his extraordinary potential,” My Hero remains one of the Foo’s strongest singles.
13. Let It Die
Where the Foo’s In Your Honour album fell down, Echoes, Silence Patience & Grace succeeded in spades. Rather than splitting the album with one rock disc and one acoustic disc, Echoes opted for both mellow and loud on the same single album. Let It Die even went as far as doing both rock and acoustic on the same song, with sterling results.
A prime example of the diamond form the Foo’s were on with their Wasting Light LP. That Chinese cymbal crashing in the chorus in particular cries out for air drumming, even if you’re in public.
15. For All the Cows
One of the lesser known singles from the band, For All the Cows remains one of the best cuts off the Foo’s debut album, employing the loud-quiet-loud dynamic to tremendous effect.
16. See You
An early example of Dave Grohl’s ability to write a fine acoustic track, the tone of this Colour and the Shape song would eventually be explored further on the second disc of In Your Honour.
Judging by Grohl’s own description, M.I.A. seems to be about escapism, as indeed does the entire There’s Nothing Left To Lose LP. Fitting then, that it served as a closer to the album.
18. Another Round
“Sitting in my control room in a studio that I built with my friends, looking at John Paul Jones, remembering the times I dropped acid listening to ‘Going to California’, was amazing.”
Is this what Another Round is about? Em…who knows. It probably doesn’t matter though when it’s this superb.
19. Something From Nothing
The first offering from the latest album Sonic Highways, Something From Nothing was inspired by the Chicago music scene, and clearly by Dio’s Holy Diver. Another excellent album opener, the song builds to a glorious crescendo.
20. Enough Space
Dave Grohl observed around 1996/1997 that while crowds in the USA tended to mosh, European ones tended to jump, pogo style. This was conceived with that in mind: they opened a show in the UK with it, having only just written the track. The crowd duly obliged the band, shaking the floor as they bounced along to it.
21. White Limo
Wasting Light’s answer to Weenie Beenie, this one has a positively monstrous riff and Lemmy Kilmister in the music video. What’s not to love?
22. The Colour and the Shape
A b-side that shares its name with the Foo Fighters second album, The Colour and the Shape was probably omitted from the album due to the heaviness as well as the constant screaming vocals. Realistically, it’s hard to imagine this tune being on the LP without having it seem completely out of place. As a song unto itself though, it’s an absolute blast.
23. Rope (deadmau5 Mix)
Remixes as a rule can be quite hit and miss. This one is an absolute peach. Grohl obviously approves too, judging by his reaction in this Grammy performance video.
24. Best of You
2005’s In Your Honor went for anthemic rock on a large, epic scale. Best of You was one of the highlights of the most grandiose Foo Fighters album to date.
Dave Grohl sacrificed his vocal chords during the recording of Breakout, but it’s fair to say it was totally worth it.
“When we were recording ‘Breakout’ the band had to tell me to tone down, because the neighbours were giving dirty looks and threatening to complain that someone was getting murdered. So I nailed it one more time. My throat was gone after that, man.”
“‘Breakout’ started off almost as a joke, just a play on the word and taking the piss out of your typical tortured romance love story. It’s supposed to seem kinda ridiculous because I can’t imagine anyone wanting to break off a relationship just because they have acne, y’know?
26. Come Alive
Another song which uses the loud-quiet-loud dynamic within the same track, Come Alive is about fatherhood.
This is about reawakening after becoming a father. Anyone who’s a father understands how the world becomes a different place when your child is born. I just feel and see everything differently now.
– Dave Grohl
27. Lonely As You
Lonely As You is an overlooked gem from 2002’s One By One album.
“It kinda has a mid-tempo beat to it with muted chunky chords but the vocal melody is really strange. It’s kinda our second really weird Sergeant Peppers heavy metal kinda song – really bizarre but really hooky and then it gets huge at the end and I’m screaming my fucking balls off.”
– Dave Grohl
28. Better Off
A bonus track from Wasting Light, it shows just how fruitful the sessions for the album were, when a cut that’s this good didn’t make the final LP. It’s got an insanely catchy groove and features more utterances of the word bastard than Stacked Actors.
Marigold has its origins on the 1992 cassette-only album “Pocketwatch” which Dave Grohl recorded under the pseudonym Late! It later became better known as a Nirvana song, being used as a b-side for Heart-Shaped Box. This version goes for the more lush approach, featuring a string section and expanded band.
30. Cold Day In the Sun
Another live staple since it was released in 2005, Cold Day In the Sun was the first, and to date only album track to feature drummer Taylor Hawkins on lead vocals and guitar. The upshot of this is that when performed live, audiences get to see Dave Grohl behind the drumkit.
31. Big Me
The music video for Big Me resulted in the band being pelted with Mentos when they performed the song live, causing them to abandon it from their sets for almost a decade. Grohl’s description of the meaning behind the single was pretty succinct.
Girl meets boy, boy falls in love, girl tells him to fuck off!
The closing track on the acoustic disc of In Your Honour, Razor saw Dave Grohl stretching his guitar playing further than ever before, with the assistance of long-time friend and collaborator Josh Homme.
33. Learn to Fly
Grohl cited Learn to Fly as one of his least favourite songs on There Is Nothing Left to Lose, but it’s hard to see why. It’s a perfect alt-rock pop song, with one of the best music videos of the 1990’s to boot, featuring a then unkown Tenacious D.
34. Long Road to Ruin
With this song, Foo Fighters wanted to make you dance. Don’t mind if I do…
I wrote this while we were on our acoustic tour [in 2006]. In order to have songs like Let It Die or Erase/Replace, which are darker and heavier, you need to have the lighter side of things too, like this one. I grew up listening to the Beatles and Beach Boys and I love writing simple melodies. You can almost dance to this one, and there aren’t too many Foo Fighters songs you can do that to.
A gorgeous ballad as well as another departure for Foo Fighters, being the only song of theirs performed on piano. It’s about being homesick, and it serves as the perfect closer to Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace.
Purportedly influenced heavily by both Rush and Presence era Led Zeppelin, Rope marked a blistering return for Foo Fighters, ahead of the release of Wasting Light. You can hear The Spirit of Radio in the chorus on Taylor Hawkins’ drumming, which is all the better for it.
37. The Feast and the Famine
Inspired by the Washington D.C. punk scene, this second offering from the Foo’s latest LP is arguably the finest cut from the record.
Walk was apparently inspired by Dave Grohl teaching his daughter to em…well to walk. The video ranks among one of their best too, parodying the movie Fallen Down.
Usually the final track at live concerts, many fans cite this as their favourite Foo Fighters song. It’s easy to see why: the song has a fast, infectious, driving rhythm, while its lyrics can be interpreted on a universal level, with the chorus being a particularly apt note to end a Foo Fighters show.
40. New Way Home
New Way Home is arguably the best closing song off any Foo’s album. It also served as a way to end the record on a positive note, according to Dave Grohl.
That’s about winding your way through all of these songs, emotions and pitfalls and ups and downs, but at the end of the day, you realise that you’re not scared any more and you’re gonna make it.