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The 11 best Foo Fighters songs

Why have a Top 10 when you can have one more? Here are our 11 favourite Foo Fighters songs, ranked

Unless you were living under one of Stone Henge’s 52 rocks for the last week, you’ll notice that the Foo Fighters are back. In one of the worst kept secrets of Glastonbury, a band billed as The ChurnUps ended up being Dave Grohl, Pat Smear, Chris Shiflett, Nate Mendal and co. as they returned to the UK for the first time since the Taylor Hawkins Tribute Concerts last September.

This week the band announced the Everything Or Nothing At All Tour, coming to UK stadiums in June 2024, so what better time to rank our top 11 Foo Fighters songs of all time?

11. Big Me

(Foo Fighters, 1995)

A gentle slacker jam from the early days, ‘Big Me’ is a “pretty love song” to his then-wife Jennifer Youngblood. It’s got a floating and breezy pace to it that the band would later rehash on the likes of ‘Learn To Fly’, but it’s the sweet melody of “But it’s you/ I fell into” that has kept it a fan favourite. A musak rendition of ‘Big Me’ can be heard in the elevator scene of the ‘Monkey Wrench’ music video.

10. Rescued

(But Here We Are, 2023)

After the tragic passing of Taylor Hawkins in March 2022, it was hard for any Foo Fighters fan to imagine the band returning again. That made the surprise release of ‘Rescued’ a year a later all the more emotional. “It came in a flash,” Grohl cries over a typically sparkly guitar line, “It came out of nowhere/It happened so fast.” We all know what he means, but the song doesn’t wallow, instead doing their beloved friend justice with a dynamic and driving ripper where the drums fittingly jut out to shuffle and smack with goosebump-raising force.

9. Learn To Fly

(There Is Nothing Left To Lose, 1999)

Some find ‘Learn To Fly’ too cheesy to top the rankings, but the happy-go-lucky vibe is pure late-90s nostalgia with its heady melody and MTV ready video (featuring Tenacious D as two airline cabin cleaners who drug a whole jumbo jet with erotic sleeping pills). For all its lyrics about searching for a greater meaning, Grohl has happily admitted in the past it’s simply about his desire to be a pilot.

8. These Days

(Wasting Light, 2011)

This is the track that Grohl has said has stuck with him the most – “Every night I sing it, I still get choked up,” he told Entertainment Weekly in 2015. ‘These Days’ remains one of the band’s later classics thanks to its sweet leading motif and the grizzly chorus singalong of “EASY FOR YOU TO SAY.”

7. Best Of You

(In Your Honor, 2005)

Given that this track drops the word “best” 40 times, we’d be remiss to exclude it from the top 11. Its video starts on a closeup of Grohl’s mouth shouting into the mic, mirroring how intimate and yearning his vocal take is on this recording. It’s introspective and initially a little sad, as lyrics such as “Were you born to resist or be abused?” question your own resilience, but its roaring ending (with Taylor’s frenzied drums) seem to let the listener break the chains.

6. Aurora

(There Is Nothing Left To Lose, 1999)

Another one of Grohl’s own favourite Foos songs, ‘Aurora’ is one of their tenderest; one that he has described as nostalgic for the early years in Seattle. It’s sentimental without rushing into the full purging outpour of some of their more well-known anthems, letting those tremolo soaked guitars and incisive bass do their work.

5. Times Like These

(One By One, 2002)

A momentous song that seems to point to its own zeitgeist, the band famously played ‘Times Like These’ to 80,000 people at Live Earth, before becoming subject to one of those celebrity singalongs during the pandemic. That’s actually doing it some injustice, the Live Lounge Allstars version – including Biffy Clyro, Dua Lipa, Ellie Goulding and Bastille – was the Foo’s first UK No.1. It’s almost a beefed-up Foo Fighters take on post-punk with its jangly, angular guitars vying against each other.

4. Monkey Wrench

(The Colour And The Shape, 1997)

WOO! 1997’s ‘Monkey Wrench’ is a song about being stuck, and its remedy is a jet-powered, rollicking anthem that feels like it’s moving even during the quick pauses between Grohl’s own drum fills (even though Taylor appeared in the video for his first appearance as a band member). It’s quite fitting that its uncontrollable energy lead to Grohl famously breaking his leg during a performance in 2015.

3. The Pretender

(Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace, 2007)

‘The Pretender’ introduced the next chapter of the band in suspenseful, cinematic style with its string opening and enigmatic guitar line. Its name even sounds like a Scorsese classic. Somehow written in a day, the track features one of the band’s most torrential of choruses; blasting breathlessly with unpredictable chord changes. By this point Hawkins’ time keeping ability was already well known, but this song immortalises this quality as he canes his snare like a human metronome.

2. Everlong

(The Colour And The Shape, 1997)

On another day this could, and probably should, easily have made the top spot. Written in a slump – literally, on a friend’s floor after a horrible divorce – ‘Everlong’ still manages to be emancipatory, like all of a sudden Grohl is soaring from rock bottom to the best feeling in the world as he sings “And I wonder/ If everything could ever feel this real forever/ If anything could ever be this good again”.

The song has naturally had a vast impact on many listeners around the world, not least David Letterman, who called it his favourite song and asked the band to perform it for him after recovering from a heart operation. With lines like “I sing along with you,” it’s naturally the band’s most interactive song.

1. All My Life

(One By One, 2002)

‘Everlong’ may be the summit of the Foo’s cathartic and emotional heights, but ‘All My Life’ embodies the angst and oomph that has always fuelled their work. Put it this way: ‘Everlong’ closed the band’s recent Glastonbury set, but ‘All My Life’ opened it.

It some ways it’s a simple rock song, with muted distortion and drum fills aplenty, and yet it’s also groovy, scuzzy and explosive all at once, while sounding both frenzied and incredibly driven. Its rawness is likely thanks to the fact that One By One was made in under two weeks in Grohl’s apartment, a return from the multi-million dollar studios to where it all began. A reminder that maybe we can all write a Grammy Award-winning, chart busting hard rock song from our bedroom…

Tickets for the Everything Or Nothing At All UK tour go on sale 09:00, Friday 30 June