When Foo Fighters released a debut album written and recorded entirely by leader Dave Grohl -- at that point known only as the powerhouse drummer for Nirvana -- in the summer of 1995, few would have guessed that the group would wind up as the one band to survive the '90s alt-rock explosion unscathed.
Once the band's lineup coalesced around the time of its third album in 1999, Foo Fighters' sound also gelled into a recognizable signature built upon the heavy, melodic, loud-quiet-loud template of the Pixies and Nirvana, the modern rock anchored by a love of classic guitar rock. It was commercial without pandering, creatively restless without being alienating, a sound with wide appeal delivered by a band that was happy to tour and record the way bands did back in the '70s. When Wasting Light became their first number one album in America upon its release in the spring of 2011, it was confirmation that Foo Fighters were survivors who had earned a large, devoted audience primarily through hard work.
In the fall of 1994, Grohl and Barrett Jones decamped to a professional studio and recorded the songs that comprised Foo Fighters' debut album in a week. Boiling down his backlog of songs to about 15 tracks, Grohl played all of the instruments on the album. He made 100 copies of the tape, passing it out to friends and associates. In no time, Grohl's solo project became the object of a fierce record company bidding war. Nate Mendel, William Goldsmith and Nirvana guitarist Pat Smear rounded out the lineup of the band, named Foo Fighters after a World War II secret force that allegedly researched UFOs. The band's self-titled debut, consisting solely of Dave Grohl's solo recordings, was released on July 4, 1995. It became an instant success in America, as "This Is a Call" garnered heavy alternative and album rock airplay. By early 1996, the album was certified platinum in the U.S.
Albums, “The Colour and the Shape Throughout,” “One by One” and “In Your Honor” followed. Despite changes in band members, the band continued to experience building popularity and acclaim. After a brief hiatus, the Foo Fighters reconvened for 2011's “Wasting Light,” a Butch Vig production that doubled as the official return of Pat Smear, who hadn't played on any of the band's albums since 1997. “Wasting Light” wound up as a smash success for the band, debuting at number one on the Billboard charts, going gold in the U.S. and garnering the band another four Grammy Awards. In the wake of “Wasting Light,” several other Foo projects emerged -- a limited-edition compilation of covers called “Medium Rare” released for Record Store Day 2011; a documentary of the band called Back and Forth -- and the group toured the album into 2012.
The group released “Sonic Highways” in 2014 with an eight part companion documentary on HBO.
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