Given they’re one of the biggest bands in the world, it’s hard to pick the Foo Fighters’ most popular song but ‘Everlong’ has a strong claim. 

The beloved song is also one of their oldest hits. ‘Everlong’ was the second single from their second studio album, 1997’s The Colour and the Shape. In the time since, it’s become one of the Foos’ signature songs: it came in 9th in triple j’s Hottest 100 of All Time; it was ranked in a Rolling Stone readers’ poll as the band’s best song. Late night icon David Letterman even called it his favourite song, saying that ‘Everlong’ helped him through his heart surgery recovery.

So it’s unsurprising that Dave Grohl has returned to the song in again and again and he performed an acoustic version of it at Oates Song Fest 7908 over the weekend.

Before performing, Grohl told the story behind ‘Everlong’. According to him, the song was born in a Seattle recording studio while he was waiting between takes. He explained that the song’s iconic unique chord just came to him, even though Grohl didn’t know what it was as he’s not a trained musician. Supposedly it initially sounded “like Sonic Youth”, one of his favourite bands of all time.

Grohl revealed that at the time he was going through an intense breakup after seeing a girl for a while and the chord and emotions came together well. Eager not to forget this great chord succession that he’d stumbled upon, Grohl made a quick demo at a friend’s studio. “The lyric and the melody, at the time where I was emotionally, it all made sense,” Grohl remembered.

He then shared it with other people, including Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth (a wise move if he initially thought he was ripping them off). When they were perplexed that the song was merely a demo and not on the full album, Grohl went and recorded the full version that everyone knows and loves today.
Grohl also interestingly revealed that he never considered the song as an acoustic piece until he performed it later on Howard Stern’s show when “in a way, it gave the song a whole new rebirth.”

“I’ll shut up now,” he said wryly, before performing the song acoustically. Watch Grohl’s full explanation – including a fascinating drum and guitar comparison – and performance below.

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Check out ‘Everlong’ (Oates Song Fest 7908) by Foo Fighters:

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