Foo Fighters, named after a World War II secret term used to describe UFOs, began with Dave Grohl, originally the drummer for Nirvana.
Grohl formed Foo Fighters in 1994 after the death of Kurt Cobain, Nirvana's lead singer. Now Grohl was able to stretch his fingers and mind as he lead his new band, originally meant as an anonymous solo project, in guitar, vocals, and song writing. Many of the band's first songs were by Grohl during his Nirvana years.
After playing all of the instruments on the Foo Fighters' demo tape, Grohl decided it would be wise to form a band to support the album and possible future works. The original band line up consisted of Grohl on lead guitar and vocals, drummer William Goldsmith, guitarist Pat Smear and bassist Nate Mendel.
Drama began to splinter the band slightly during the recording of their second album in 1996. Grohl was not happy with the initial recordings and decided to have the band re-record everything, especially the drums. Grohl took over the drums during the record sessions without telling Goldsmith, causing a hurt Goldsmith to leave the band. After the release of the band's first album, Smear also announced his decision to quit.
Taylor Hawkins took over as the band's drummer and Franz Stahl took over second guitar. Stahl would remain part of the band until 1998 when he was let go due to creative differences. Chris Shiflett then became Foo Fighters' permanent second guitarist after Stahl. However, it was confirmed that Smear played on every track on the band's most recent album, Wasting Light, and is back to full-time band member status, alongside Shiflett.
The band has had a steady release of albums since their debut, each with successful singles. On their debut album (1995), their single, “I'll Stick Around” hit No. 8 on the US Hot Modern Rock charts. 1997's The Colour and the Shape consisted of two big hits, with “Monkey Wrench” and “Everlong.”
Both songs are featured in the Rock Band game series and “Monkey Wrench” is also featured in the Guitar Hero game series.
2001's contained, “Learn to Fly,” which was the first single of the band to reach the US Hot 100. “Learn to Fly” received extensive airplay on both pop and rock stations with a hilarious music video to entertain all ages and listeners. It could be considered the band's first real breakout hit with the mainstream audience.
One by One (2004) produced four successful singles, with “Have it All,” “All My Life,” “Low” and especially “Times Like These,” but the album took three years and much infighting within the band to produce.
In Your Honor (2005) was not nearly as difficult to record and produced a single with success similar to “Learn to Fly.” It consisted of two discs: the first being full rock tracks, and the second being acoustic. “Best of You” also reached the US Hot 100, peaking at No. 18, which beat “Learn to Fly” by one position.
Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace (2007) cemented Foo Fighters as a band to be reckoned with. Their single, “The Pretender,” remained on Billboard's Modern Rock chart for a record 19 weeks. The album was also nominated for five Grammy Awards, with The Foo Fighters winning two.
In 2009, the band released a greatest hits compilation. This compilation included two new songs, one of which being the single, “Wheels.” “Wheels” hit No. 1 on the US Billboard Rock Songs chart.
2010 brought Wasting Light, which has so far produced two singles, “Rope” and “Walk.” Wasting Light debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart, a first for a Foo Fighters album.