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The History of the Foo Fighters

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Formed in 1994 in Seattle, Washington, the Foo Fighters are one of the biggest and most consistently successful alternative rock bands today. With ex-Nirvana member Dave Grohl as frontman, the group has won numerous Grammy Awards with their brand of post-grunge rock. With an ability to not take themselves too seriously, the Foo Fighters have maintained a popularity among young and old fans alike. In this video, takes a look at the history of the American alternative rock band, Foo Fighters, which formed in 1994.

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Alternative rock band Foo Fighters formed in Seattle, Washington in 1994. The group started off as a one-man project for Dave Grohl following the dissolution of his former band, Nirvana. After recording several songs he had written himself, Grohl released a demo that gained the interest of various record labels.


These recordings were released as the Foo Fighter’s self-titled debut in 1995. The alt-rock record reached the top twenty-five on the Billboard 200 chart. It spawned the singles “I’ll Stick Around,” which was accompanied by the band’s first music video, and “Big Me,” which became a crossover hit on pop radio.

A Full Band

Though Grohl had written and recorded almost all of the songs on the Foo Fighters’ debut, he formed a full band to support the material on tour. This band consisted of Grohl on lead vocals and rhythm guitar, Nate Mendel on bass, William Goldsmith on drums and Pat Smear on second guitar.

Sophomore Disc

The band’s sophomore effort was 1997’s The Colour and the Shape. It featured a similar alternative rock sound to their first album, and became a top ten record on the Billboard 200. The Grammy-nominated disc included the singles, “Monkey Wrench,” “Everlong” and “My Hero.” Though Grohl had again written the songs, this time around the other members contributed to the musical arrangements. Shortly before the release of this record, Taylor Hawkins replaced drummer William Goldsmith.

Franz Stahl

Guitarist Franz Stahl then joined the band for some tour dates after Pat Smear’s departure. Though he was only with the Foo Fighters for a few months, he recorded two songs with them. One of these was the re-recording of “Walking after You,” for the soundtrack to the 1998 movie, “The X-Files.”

Third Album

Grohl, Mendel and Hawkins then recorded the band’s third album as a trio. 1999’s There is Nothing Left to Lose featured a softer, alternative sound, and it was another top ten Billboard record. The disc also won the band its first two Grammy Awards, including one for the music video that accompanied the highly successful track, “Learn to Fly.”


It was around this time that the Foos began a relationship with the remaining members of classic rock band Queen. As huge fans, Grohl and Hawkins were lucky enough to induct the band into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. They performed live together several times, and even recorded a few tracks as well.

Chris Shiflett and More Grammy Awards

Chris Shiflett made his debut as guitarist with the Foos’ on their next record, 2002’s One by One. The Grammy-winning album reached number three on the Billboard 200 and generated the singles, “All My Life” and “Times Like These.”

"In Your Honor

2005’s In Your Honor was a double album that featured one disc with rock songs and another with acoustic tunes. The commercially successful opus yielded the singles, “DOA” and “Best of You,” and these both topped the modern rock charts.

Sixth Record

After a short acoustic tour, the Foo Fighters’ released their first live album, 2006’s Skin and Bones. Album number six dropped in 2007. Echoes, Silence, Patience and Grace debuted at number three on the Billboard 200 and won them two more Grammy Awards. In addition, it gave the band three number-one modern rock hits, including “Long Road to Ruin” and “The Pretender.”

Greatest Hits and Side Projects"

Two years later, the Foo Fighters came out with a Greatest Hits compilation that contained two new tracks, including the single, “Wheels.” That same year, Grohl played drums in the rock supergroup, Them Crooked Vultures, with Led Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones on bass and Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age on vocals and guitar.

"Wasting Light"

The Foo Fighters’ seventh album was 2011’s Wasting Light. Recorded using analog equipment, the disc contained songs such as “White Limo”. This effort also marked the return of Smear as a core band member, though he had been touring with the Foos for a few years. That same year saw the release of a vinyl record featuring covers songs called Medium Rare and the documentary, “Foo Fighters: Back and Forth”.

Alternative Rockers to the Core

Their heavy and melodic tracks, coupled with their energetic live shows, have ensured the Foo Fighters’ consistent success and popularity throughout the years. As such, they have become one of the biggest alternative rock bands of the post-grunge era.

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