The 9 best Foo Fighters songs, as chosen by Absolute Radio presenters
Check out the definitive list
Last updated 3rd Feb 2021
To celebrate the release of Foo Fighters’ new studio album ‘Medicine At Midnight’ this Friday (5th February), we’ve asked nine Absolute Radio presenters the burning question – ‘what is the greatest Foo Fighters song?!’
With a glittering career spanning 27 years and 10 studio albums, cherry picking the best track from Dave Grohl and co. is no easy feat and will always divide opinion, however Skin, Leona Graham, Dan Noble, Sophie K, Danielle Perry, Ben Burrell, Claire Sturgess, Jay Lawrence and Sarah Champion have given it a go!
Ranging from one of Foo Fighters’ earliest tracks that Dave Grohl wrote shortly after Kurt Cobain’s death right up to more recent bangers, the choices include some of the band’s biggest tracks plus the odd deeper cut.
Watch Absolute Radio presenters pick their favourite Foo Fighters songs:
You can also listen to all of presenters' choices, and read what they had to say, below:
Skin’s favourite Foo Fighters track: All My Life (2002)
Skin: “I’ve been a Foo Fighters fan from the very first album (1995’s ‘Foo Fighters’) obviously because Dave Grohl was an incredible drummer from Nirvana. We were all like excited to hear that album in Skunk Anansie in those early days, and then it came out and it was just like, ON FIRE! I think that probably my favourite (track) at this moment in time - because it will probably change tomorrow - is this one. Great sounds, great sounds, so good! What I really like about that song is I actually covered that song in 2007 in an electronic project I did. I think when you cover a song, you really have to learn how the song goes and the little intricacies of it. It gives you a new understanding of it. I remember thinking ‘what is this about what is he talking about?’, I couldn't get it. And I looked it up, and it was about cunnilingus! That’s why I like it! (laughs) I just love the fact that he's singing with his voice whispering in your ear, like making love to you, I guess.”
Leona Graham’s favourite Foo Fighters track: ‘The Pretender’ (2007)
Leona Graham: “I want to talk to you about my favourite Foo Fighters song, which can be summarised in just two words – ‘It Rocks’. My favourite Foo Fighters song is ‘The Pretender’ and it's from the album ‘Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace’. Even Dave Grohl himself said this is a foot stomping Foo Fighters song with influences of Chuck Berry thrown in, which could be why I like it because I was brought up on music from Chuck Berry as well. Now, the song starts off slowly, very stripped back mellow introduction. You think ‘well this is going to be a relaxing song’, and then before you know it – BANG! - the song explodes, and it becomes a fantastic hard rock song. There's loads of layering in the song, of the instruments and the vocals, and even the producer and the engineers admitted this was a very hard song to mix without making it sound too muddled. They managed to get there in the end, and get a clear sound producing what is a phenomenal track. Dave Grohl once admitted that the Sesame Street song ‘One of These Things’ may have had a subconscious influence on writing this song."
Dan Noble’s favourite Foo Fighters track: ‘These Days’ (2011)
Dan Noble: “There's no doubt that Foo Fighters are one of the biggest rock bands in the world right now. They have been for quite some time. My favourite song from them comes from the album ‘Wasting Light’, which is a really interesting album. They released it in 2011 and they went back to basics. They did it on tape and they worked with a legendary producer called Butch Vig, who’d worked with Dave Grohl before - he produced ‘Nevermind’ by Nirvana so he was clearly someone that Dave Grohl has a lot of respect for. So, they did it on tape and rather than going into this fancy recording studio, they did it in Dave Grohl’s house. In fact, at one time in the documentary for ‘Wasting Light’, you see his daughter walk in while he's recording guitar and asks if he can go swimming with her. And he's halfway through a guitar take, so clearly it's a very personal album for Dave Grohl. My favourite song from Foo Fighters is ‘These Days’. I just think it's a beautiful tune and also it's a classic Foos track - starts off slow, gradually builds into this big chorus, big guitar sounds, screaming vocals; it’s everything you want from a Foo Fighters tune. I've been able to see them live a few times now, and this is by far my favourite Foo Fighters track to see live. The first time was in Milton Keynes, and if you want a glimpse of what it’s like seeing this song live just check out the music video. I do think it's the best Foo Fighters song - and if you don't take it for me, take it from Dave Grohl. He said in an interview once that it's one of the best songs he's ever written. And who are we to argue with Dave Grohl?!”
Sophie K’s favourite Foo Fighters track: ‘Monkey Wrench’ (1997)
Sophie K: “My favourite Foo Fighters track would definitely have to be 'Monkey Wrench' because that was the lead single from 'The Colour and the Shape', and that album completely defined an entire generation. It's funny, one of my favourite stories that I heard about this track was back in 1997, when the album came out, Foo Fighters were due to be on a Channel Four show called TFI Friday. Now, we kind of see the Foo Fighters today as quite tame, but we forget how rebellious they were back in the day. So they were supposed to be on this show, and the band thought it was live; they'd been told not to swear but they went hell for leather! There was so many profanities coming out of their mouths, that the producers of the show were like 'right, you cannot do this live.' So, they had to end up pre-recording the show and I think it's really good to remember how rebellious Foo Fighters were. The thing I love about this track is it always takes me back to this rock club night and I had some friends who were into their heavier rock and some friends who were into their indie. We'd go to the indie night and the metal people would whinge, we'd go to the metal night and the indie people would whinge. But Foo Fighters and this track ‘Monkey Wrench’ was a track that used to get played at both nights and that was when all of us as a friendship group could really come together and enjoy the night. I think that's what I really love about this track is it has a memory for me of when everybody just came together, and it had a sense of happiness and positivity.”
Danielle Perry’s favourite Foo Fighters track: ‘My Hero’ (1997)
Danielle Perry: “I think I'm gonna have to go with ‘My Hero’ as the best song they ever put out because his is taking us way back - this is early Foo Fighters from 1997 from the record ‘The Colour and The Shape.’ The thing I think is so great about this record is the way it builds. I'm a massive fan of songs that start and they just layer up as it goes on. So this one does start with the drums, Dave Grohl has said that there was two different drum tracks that he sort of layered up particularly - it just creates this enormous drum sound, there’s a big song on the horizon. Then comes in the bass, then comes in the guitar and if you're a fan of Pixies, and you listen back to this record, I mean there is such swagger with it. I'm a fan of both bands hugely so that's another reason why I did that. And then, of course, the signature sound of the Foo Fighters arrives with Grohl’s vocal and then when it hits the chorus, and then the genius behind that melody line it just goes up and up as he's talking lyrically about the brilliance of everyday heroes. It's this kind of celebratory huge rock number. So, with that in mind, and the lyrical content and just the absolute solid songwriting that makes up that record... yeah, ‘My Hero’, it's got to be. They nailed it.”
Ben Burrell’s favourite Foo Fighters track: ‘Generator’ (2000)
Ben Burrell: “I want to talk at you at length about a Foo Fighters song that I love. The song in question is ‘Generator’, I think it's such a good tune. It’s taken from the 1999 album ‘There's Nothing Left To Lose’, which is a pretty big album in Foo Fighters’ back catalogue. There's some big songs on there like ‘Learn To Fly’ and ‘Next Year’ as well is pretty big. Whilst there’s bigger songs on this album, there’s bigger songs in their back catalogue, there’s technically better songs in their back catalogue, this song for me is a really, really interesting song. Like all good Foo Fighters tunes, it’s ram-packed full of melody. I like the fact it has the kind of typical sound of this period, there's a little bit of grunge in there a little bit of stadium rock , there’s a little bit of indie in there too. But the real kind of USP of the song is - I mean those things alone would be brilliant - the real USP is the use of the talk box in it. That's the other riff in the song you know the “woo woo woo woo” bit. It's basically the same riff as the guitar riff but it complements it really nicely. And also, it's just a nice change of pace rather than getting the guitar playing the riff all the time, the talkbox kind of adds a little bit of intrigue and a little bit of difference during the song. I think also it's kind of nice that they don't sound like this anymore. I mean, they've never been a band that particularly revolutionised their sound in terms of like doing something completely new; they didn't have like an ambient phase, or like a death metal phase, and it's a really nice nostalgic listen to go back and listen to this and hear this band how they used to sound compared to maybe, you know, a song like ‘Shame, Shame’ which we got recently, or even ‘The Sky Is A Neighbourhood, or even the album to follow this one directly, a song like ‘All My Life is very different to this one. So for me, I'm putting forward ‘Generator’ by Foo Fighters, it is a banger.”
Claire Sturgess’ favourite Foo Fighters track: ‘This Is A Call’ (1995)
Claire Sturgess: "It's so difficult to choose one. However, there is one particular track that always sends shivers down my spine when I hear it and that's ‘This is a Call’. The first proper single they released back in 1995, which was essentially Dave Grohl on his own. He'd written and recorded it in 1994, just a few months after the death of Kurt Cobain. He wrote it whilst he was on a honeymoon with his then wife Jennifer in Ireland, and it's hard to imagine what he must have been feeling at the time. Just the emotions - he was grieving the death of his friend and bandmate, he was clearly in love, he was on honeymoon. Have they written better songs since then? Of course. I love ‘Rope.’ But for me, ‘This is a Call’, what it represents... it represents grief and sadness and loss, but also hope, and love. For me that song encompasses all of those emotions. I still remember when we got hold of it, when I first played it, it just felt very special and it still feels very special to this day. So, the song that means the most to me by the Foo Fighters is ‘This is a Call’.
Jay Lawrence’s favourite Foo Fighters track: ‘Hey, Johnny Park!’ (1997)
Jay Lawrence: "My favourite song from the Foo Fighters is one that actually I don't think that many people would necessarily think of. It’s from the record ‘The Colour and The Shape’, which produced incredible songs like ‘My Hero’. My favourite one is ‘Hey, Johnny Park!’. When I was like 12 and 13, I was listening to bands that might be you know a little bit on the softer side of things. Maybe some Keane, maybe some Coldplay. Most of the music that I listened to when I was 14 onwards, really was because there was some older kids at school that would sort of feed me their music tastes. Sort of like they’d give me a CD and say ‘Hey Jay, listen to this I think you might like it.’ So, because of that, I got into the likes of Blink-182, I got into Green Day and I got into Foo Fighters as well. So, the first Foo Fighters song that I really got hold of, that I really liked is ‘Hey, Johnny Park!’; it means a lot to me. It’s quite introspective, it's quite raw, it’s off the second record that Foo Fighters ever released. Because of that, you almost get a sense of what's to come as well because it's got the quiet parts in it, but it's really got the loud parts as well. And it's a personal song from Dave Grohl so I'm sure it means a lot to him and it definitely means a lot to me.”
Sarah Champion’s favourite Foo Fighters track: ‘Everlong’ (2007)
Sarah Champion: “The best song by the Foo Fighters to me is definitely ‘Everlong’ from the album ‘The Colour and the Shape’. It's just such a great song. On the surface, it's a very straightforward love song about the heady days of a new relationship, that time when it all feels really magical. And I think Dave Grohl has said that that line ‘breathe out, so I can breathe you in’ was the first lyrics he wrote that people quoted back at him. There's just a real raw emotion to the song. A sadness as well, something about that sliding chord progression and whether or not that's because I know Dave Grohl wrote it a really low point in his life. He'd just got divorced, he was sleeping in a sleeping bag on a friend's floor I think that's where the song came to be. I mean, he'd also fallen in love with somebody else but, you know, again, a sadness because having come out of a relationship even if you're in the magical early stages of another one, there's a certain cynicism, maybe like 'it's all so great now but what if it all goes wrong?' The video's lots of fun, of course, directed by Michel Gondry who directed Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, which if you've seen you'll know has that kind of dreamlike quality to it, and I think it came from a dream that Michel Gondry had where he had just a massive hand. I think more than anything, what makes it the Foo Fighters' finest to me over 20 years on is how great it is live, where it just builds and builds and builds and then everyone goes nuts. It's quite a moment. My best friend had song as her first dance or wedding (performed) by a tribute band and it was great to see all the generations rocking out on the dance floor to it.”
Foo Fighters' Dave Grohl through the years:
Dave Grohl with Nirvana - 1991
Nirvana's Dave Grohl, Kurt Cobain and Krist Novoselic in a toilet in 1991. Where else?!
Dave Grohl with Nirvana - 1992
Nirvana's Dave Grohl, Kurt Cobain and Krist Novoselic backstage at the MTV Video Awards in 1992
Dave Grohl with Nirvana - 1993
Nirvana perform at MTV Live and Loud in December 1993.
Dave Grohl - 1994
Dave Grohl at Sony Studios in Culver City, California, United States in June 1994 - the year he formed Foo Fighters in the wake of Kurt Cobain's death
Dave Grohl - 1995
Dave Grohl performs in Brixton in November 1995
Dave Grohl - 1996
Dave Grohl performs with the Foo Fighters at Phoenix Festival, Stratford Upon Avon, in 1996
Dave Grohl - 1997
Foo Fighters perform at Tibetan Freedom Concert in New York in 1997.
Dave Grohl - 1998
Just a photo of Dave Grohl with a dolphin on holiday in the Gold Coast, Australia in 1998
Dave Grohl - 1999
Dave Grohl works as a cashier at Tower Records to support their album release in 1999.
Dave Grohl - 2000
Foo Fighters perform at The Bridge School Benefit held in the Shoreline Amphitheater, California. Lovely hat!
Dave Grohl - 2001
The Foo Fighters perform at V Festival in 2001.
Dave Grohl - 2002
Foo Fighters perform at MTV New Year's Eve Pajama Party at the MTV Times Square studios in New York City. December 31, 2002. Nice glasses Dave!
Dave Grohl - 2003
Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters and wife Jordyn Blum during Spike TV Presents The 2003 GQ Men of the Year Awards
Dave Grohl - 2004
Performing at the Rock in Rio Festival in Lisbon in 2004.
Dave Grohl - 2005
Foo Fighters performing live at Earls Court, London in December 2005.
Foo Fighters - 2006
Foo Fighters pose with Brian May at The O2 Silver Clef Awards in 2006.
Dave Grohl - 2007
Dave Grohl at Britain Live Earth Concert in 2007.
Dave Grohl - 2008
Dave Grohl performs at the pre-Grammy Awards party in 2008
Dave Grohl - 2009
Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters performs on VH1 Storytellers on October 28, 2009
Dave Grohl - 2010
Dave Grohl poses with Glenn Five, Steve 'Lips' Kudlow and Robb Reiner of Anvil.
Dave Grohl - 2011
The Foo Fighters perform at Wembley Arena in 2011.
Foo Fighters - 2013
Foo Fighters at the 'Sound City' film premiere, Los Angeles in 2013.
Dave Grohl - 2014
Rami Jaffee, Nate Mendel, Taylor Hawkins, Dave Grohl, Chris Shiflett and Pat Smear attend the premiere of HBO's "Foo Fighters Sonic Highway", in New York in 2014.
Dave Grohl - 2015
Foo Fighters' Performs at the Music Festival 'Rock Am Ring' in Mendig Germany in 2015.
Dave Grohl - 2016
The Foo Fighters at the Grammy Awards in February 2016.
Dave Grohl - 2017
Foo Fighters storm Glastonbury Festival in 2017
Dave Grohl - 2018
Dave Grohl performing with the Foo Fighters at the Cal Jam 18 Pop-Up Event at the Hollywood Palladium, LA
Dave Grohl on Sesame Street - 2019
Mr Grohl appeared on the 50th anniversary episode of Sesame Street, singing a joyous, rock-tinged tune called 'Here We Go Song' with Big Bird and Elmo as various iconic backdrops from across the USA appeared on the green screen. Of course, Dave is no stranger to Jim Henson's creations as he once had a drum-off with Animal from The Muppets.
The Foo Fighters' tenth album - 2020
In August 2019, drummer Taylor Hawkins confirmed that the Foo's latest album would be coming in 2020, telling RockSound, "From what I've heard from our fearless leader Dave Grohl, he has a lot of demos that he's worked on and I think we'll start, once this tour is over. I think not too soon after that we'll start the process of putting the songs together as a band."
Listen to Absolute Radio on DAB nationwide, on our free app, by hitting that play button on the bottom of your screen, via your smart speaker (“Play Absolute Radio”) and on Freeview, Sky, and Virgin Media TV.