Top 20 Foo Fighters Songs

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Top 20 Foo Fighters Songs

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Timothy MacAusland
These are the most iconic Foo Fighters' songs of all time! For this list, we'll be looking at this rock band's finest hits over their quarter-of-a-century-plus existence. Our countdown includes “Saint Cecilia”, "Monkey Wrench", “These Days”, “My Hero”, and more!
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Top 20 Foo Fighters Songs


Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 20 Foo Fighters Songs.

For this list, we’ll be looking at this rock band’s finest hits over their quarter-of-a-century-plus existence.

Did we leave out one of your favorites? Let us know in the comments!

#20: “Wheels”

“Greatest Hits” (2009)

Foo Fighters’ “Greatest Hits” album from 2009 obviously has a lot of heavy hitters - many of which we’ll be covering later - but it did debut a couple new tracks, and we’d be remiss not to highlight this simple yet memorable one. “Wheels” was first performed live at the White House during a 4th of July celebration, which might seem like an intimidating first audience for a new song, but upon listening to it, we have to imagine the band was wholly in their element. Though not as raucous as some of their bigger hits, “Wheels” has a strong yet inviting energy all the same, as the lyrics describe how important it is to look forward even after falling short of expectations.

#19: “Saint Cecilia”

“Saint Cecilia” (2015)

“Saint Cecilia” was released off Foo Fighters’ EP of the same name, a pro bono listing that went out to those affected by the Paris Attacks of 2015. As if Dave Grohl’s scintillating lead vocals weren’t invigorating enough, the background ones were covered by singer-songwriter Ben Kweller, who just so happened to be passing by the hotel when the band was recording. After hearing Kweller’s off-the-cuff harmonizing, Grohl later quoted himself as having said, “Get your ass in there and sing it right now.” The tantalizing chorus with lyrics that touch upon the unyielding nature of time fantastically builds to an impassioned and satisfying crescendo.

#18: “Arlandria”

“Wasting Light” (2011)

Though you’d be forgiven for thinking the title of the track “Arlandria” referred to a person, it’s actually in reference to the neighborhood where Dave Grohl partially grew up in Alexandria, Virginia. One of Foo Fighters’ more emotionally charged tracks, the lyrics and vocals suggest a deep frustration with trying to identify oneself as being not simply a product of one’s environment. Even though most of us don’t have the added pressures of fame to contend with, the fact that we all came from somewhere definitely helps us relate. There’s definitely more accessible Foo Fighters tracks than this, but we love it when they get personal and pour themselves into their music, too.

#17: “DOA”

“In Your Honor” (2005)

“DOA” is a song that Foo Fighters don't play live very often anymore. After appearing frequently during the “In Your Honor” tour in the 2000s, its appearance has been sparse, its last performance coming in 2015 after being requested by an audience. Though it might not be the band's favorite, we can definitely see why the fans would want to hear it. Foo Fighters are masters of picking up momentum in a song in a very short amount of time, and that’s on full display in “DOA,” a song all about accepting the inevitable yet healthy end of something good. With the song topping Billboard’s Alternative chart for six total weeks, it’s clear this one didn’t come in dead on arrival.

#16: “This Is a Call”

“Foo Fighters” (1995)

“This Is a Call” is the lead single off the band’s first ever album following their inception in 1994, and honestly, they probably couldn’t have picked a more appropriate track to start things out on. Obviously, Dave Grohl had a big act to follow after being the most prominent drummer for Nirvana, and especially so following the band’s dissolution upon the tragic death of Kurt Cobain. According to Grohl, “This Is a Call” serves as a respectful recognition to all those he’d worked with before, a “hello, and in a way a thank you.” This was especially important seeing it would also mark Grohl’s transition to frontman and lead vocals, something he’s nailed consistently ever since.

#15: “Big Me”

“Foo Fighters” (1995)

Also from Foo Fighters’ debut album, “Big Me” is definitely one of the band’s lighter tracks. Airy and just a little playful, the song is easily accessible, and at just over two minutes long, it can make for a quick, catchy Foo Fighters listen in a pinch. What the song’s most known for, however, is its music video, which works as a parody of the Mentos commercials that were prominent at the time. It was nominated for five MTV Video Music Awards, winning one, and its popularity became so profound that fans at concerts would take to tossing Mentos at the band whenever “Big Me” was played. This obviously didn’t go over well, but it only adds to the quirky legacy of the song.

#14: “All My Life”

“One by One” (2002)

Now here’s a song that took the band a lot of tinkering to get just right. Dave Grohl even compared the middle section to at one point sound a lot like the classic surf rock hit “Wipe Out,” which, come to think of it, might be very interesting for Foo Fighters to cover. In any case, “All My Life” proves erratically effective, unabashed in its not-so-hidden meaning that is definitely not safe for work. Well, it was apparently safe enough for work for the Grammys, who awarded the band Best Hard Rock Performance. Not only that, but the song spent ten straight weeks atop the Alt chart, proving it had… let’s say “stamina.”

#13: “I’ll Stick Around”

“Foo Fighters” (1995)

We mentioned earlier how good Foo Fighters are at building momentum over the course of a song, but this one, though certainly intense in moments, has a much more fixed pace throughout as it takes us along for the ride. The song that would also receive the band’s first music video, “I’ll Stick Around” is a damning rejection of a manipulative person. While there was much speculation for years as to who that person might be, Dave Grohl finally revealed in 2009 that it was indeed about the late Kurt Cobain’s wife, Courtney Love. Outside drama aside, “I’ll Stick Around” serves as an emphatic introduction to the band in their first album, and, clearly, they did stick around.

#12: “Long Road to Ruin”

“Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace” (2007)

Foo Fighters have a knack for finding positive perspectives in any facet of life. Though the lyrics of “Long Road to Ruin” can be interpreted in a myriad of ways, there’s no doubt the song serves as a rousing call to action, and we’d be lying if we said it didn’t get us pumped every time we listen to it. Much like the other songs on this list, “Long Road to Ruin” held number one on the Billboard Alt Tracks for several weeks, proving the band’s longevity over time. As if the song wasn’t good enough on its own, the music video, which is a sendup of ‘70s era soap operas and features Rashida Jones, is a treat in its own right.

#11: “Rope”

“Wasting Light” (2011)

Not to immediately contradict ourselves, but “Rope” features some of Foo Fighters’ most adept and dour songwork. Describing a relationship in which one person is highly dependent on the other, the song does well to experiment with different sounds and cadences than the band usually employs to reflect the unhinged disposition of the narrator. Heck, the late great Taylor Hawkins even added some cowbell to the proceedings in certain spots. To break free of their familiar sounds, the band took inspiration from legendary artists like Rush and Led Zeppelin, giving us a medley that almost sounds incongruous but works completely.

#10: “Walk”

“Wasting Light” (2011)

Plenty of Foo Fighters jams have hit the mainstream in a big way, but perhaps none so fervently as “Walk.” While writing the song, Dave Grohl reported to have been inspired while helping his first daughter learn to walk herself. While that may contribute to the literal interpretation of the song, the lyrics have transcended to a universal level, allowing anyone to apply their own personal circumstances to the track. After all, with themes of perseverance and second chances, who can’t feel inspired by “Walk?” Beyond its popularity and radio play, the song proved to be a critical success as well, picking up two Grammys for Best Rock Performance and Rock Song.

#9: “Breakout”

“There Is Nothing Left to Lose” (1999)

Much in the same way as “Rope,” “Breakout” adopts a wholly manic sound as the narrator goes through some difficult mental strain. Appropriately, the music video for the song was tied in with the Jim Carrey movie, “Me, Myself & Irene,” which is all about someone fighting the more displeasing side of their personality. The video also features actors from the film, including Anthony Anderson and Tony Cox, and even Dave Grohl’s mom in a hilarious cameo. Though the movie in question may not have aged as well, “Breakout” still feels timeless. If you’re ever in a position where all you want to do is scream in exasperation, this song may provide all the catharsis you need.

#8: “These Days”

“Wasting Light” (2011)

Of all the songs he’s written over his career, “These Days” is Dave Grohl’s favorite. And with that kind of commendation, we just had to put it in the top ten. Obviously, everything in life has to come to an end at some point. And “These Days” at first takes the position that that’s alright before passionately and emphatically rebutting the notion. Though both sides of the argument have merit, Foo Fighters’ clear verve for life gets us every time the chorus kicks in, reminding us that it’s okay to want to hold onto the things we love the most. With the untimely passing of drummer Taylor Hawkins, this just speaks even more profoundly to Foo Fighters’ message.

#7: “Times Like These”

“One by One” (2002)

“These Days” and “Times Like These” share more than just a similar title. The latter also hits us right in the feels, though perhaps in a different way. Dave Grohl reported that the lyrics reflect his uncertainty with the band during their three-month hiatus following some difficult and disheartening recording sessions. But, like “a new day rising,” Grohl and the band obviously came back as strong as ever, and that’s where the heart of the song comes in. Indeed, it’s in the moments where we’re most tested, where we’re most doubtful, that we can recapture the things that are most important. Credit to Foo Fighters for again managing to inspire with universal lyrics of optimism.

#6: “Monkey Wrench”

“The Colour and the Shape” (1997)

Another song about a woman in Dave Grohl’s life, “Monkey Wrench” touches on the end of his relationship with wife Jennifer Youngblood. However, whereas “I’ll Stick Around” was a much more pointed critique of Courtney Love, “Monkey Wrench” has a much deeper meaning. According to Grohl, the song is all about “realising that you are the source of all of the problems in a relationship and you love the other person so much, you want to free them of the problem, which is actually yourself.” Wise words, but we’d be lying if we said we didn’t also love the song because it’s a straight banger. The extended bout toward the end where Grohl seemingly doesn’t take a single breath is mindblowing.

#5: “Best of You”

“In Your Honor” (2005)

Here’s where we get into the really heavy hitters. One could honestly make a case for any of these songs to be the band’s best - such speaks to their overall musical prowess. From a pure statistical standpoint, for instance, “Best of You” has its status as being Foo Fighters’ highest charting track to date on the Billboard Hot 100 going for it. And its efficacy isn’t lost on fans, either. While many people interpret it as a love song, Dave Grohl has stated it can be about any relationship, more generally about “breaking away from the things that confine you.” With such ardent vocals from Grohl that never waver in their vigor, we can’t help but sing along.

#4: “Learn to Fly”

“There Is Nothing Left to Lose” (1999)

Speaking of the Hot 100, “Learn to Fly” comes in a narrow second, peaking at number nineteen to “Best of You’s” eighteen. Much like “Times Like These,” “Learn to Fly” is one of the band’s most uplifting songs. It’s one of those power ballads that’ll manage to pick you up even when you’re at your lowest. Though a little more subdued than your average Foo Fighters jam, it’s got that classic feel that makes it feel timeless even as the band evolves. It also happens to have one of their best music videos, featuring the likes of Tenacious D in a brilliant sendup of airplane disaster movies. No wonder the video won a Grammy.

#3: “My Hero”

“The Colour and the Shape” (1997)

We all need a heroic figure in life to look up to. And when it comes to musical artists, Foo Fighters aren’t a bad pick, neither. But even they need heroes, as Grohl has stated “My Hero” goes out to those of the everyday variety who don’t get the widespread acclaim. While most of the band’s hits come fast and furious, “My Hero” has much more measured guitar riffs and drum beats, almost as if it’s inviting you to imagine your hero moving in all the glory of slow-motion. On a more specific angle, it’s been speculated that the song’s about Kurt Cobain, to which Grohl’s admitted there’s definitely an “element” of him in there. Whatever context is applied, the song remains effective.

#2: “The Pretender”

“Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace” (2007)

Talk about hard-hitting vocals. While a lot of songs can show off their ingenuity with varying verses and what not, “The Pretender” makes it an issue to hammer home its core sentiment with each chorus, using awesome repetition to make an indelible impression on the listener. It’s been widely theorized that the song’s meaning alludes to some of the political dissatisfaction going around at the time of its recording, but in a broader sense, we’ve all felt vexed with the outward appearance of something before. In this way, the song’s unrelenting sounds can be channeled through every listener, and we can’t help but get wrapped up in it every time we hear it.

#1: “Everlong”

“The Colour and the Shape” (1997)

The band’s signature tune, our number one couldn’t be anything but “Everlong.” Starting with some light guitar plucking before moving into iconic riffs, the song is relatively more understated than some of the band’s other hits, but it wouldn’t be a Foo Fighters classic if it didn’t evolve into some loud vocals. Despite the endless series of all-timers the band would see in the future, it’s this early hit that has us coming back again and again. Sadly, “Everlong” became the last song drummer Taylor Hawkins performed live before his passing in March 2022. But looking back at this track and many others, we’re sure that his impact on music will always be felt, everlong.
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