With music classes disrupted by the pandemic, Dave Grohl stepped in and prescribed some of the best homework any kid or grown-up for that matter will ever have to do – listen to an album. As a multi-instrumentalist who has been at the top of the tower of rock ‘n’ roll for four decades now, he is in a pretty good position to be doling out essential albums with a good amount of authority behind the picks.
Speaking with BBC Breakfast back in February when kids were having to be home-schooled, Grohl was asked what records would form the backbone of a musical education for any would-be musicians. The rocker certainly didn’t disappoint as he delved into the classics.
“Well, you are going to want to get The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s [Lonely Heart’s Club Band],” Grohl told the BBC from his Los Angeles abode. “One reason is that album still connects the way it did the day it came out,” he added. For many the album is considered the Fab Four’s masterpiece, in fact, on a factual level, it was voted the UK’s favourite album in a poll by The Official Charts Company back in 2018.
The second album on the list is essentially the quintessence of what you might term classic rock. “Now if you want to be a drummer, you’re going to want to get the AC/DC album Back In Black,” he added. “That is rock ‘n’ roll drumming 101.” The 1980 album is renowned for Phil Rudd’s simple yet thunderous drumming style. Rudd pounds his way through an album in a sonic blitz that typified the band’s sound as a whole and skyrocketed the record towards the top of best-selling of all-time list.
His third album, however, was a record that truly brought the party to music class. “I mean, come on, let’s just go with Saturday Night Fever. Look, if you put Saturday Night Fever on it’s going to feel like Saturday night, but it could be a Monday morning,” he said championing the classic Bee Gee’s disco soundtrack. Adding, “I like myself a little party now and then. I do like to dance.”
And in recent months he has made sure that people really do realise that he likes to dance just as much as he likes to rock out. For record store day on July 17th of this year, the Foo Fighters will be donning the alter ego the Dee Gees for a 10-track album Hail Satin, covering four Bee Gees tracks – ‘You Should Be Dancing’, ‘Night Fever’, ‘Tragedy’ and ‘More Than A Woman’ – plus Andy Gibb’s ‘Shadow Dancing’. They’ll also be reworking five Medicine at Midnight tracks with fresh disco stylings: ‘Making A Fire’, ‘Shame Shame’, ‘Waiting On A War’, ‘No Son Of Mine’ and ‘Cloudspotter’.
Speaking to Jo Whiley about their forthcoming disco debut, Grohl announced, “While we were having this conversation [in the studio] somebody said, ‘Hey, have you seen that Bee Gees documentary?’ And I was like the last person on earth – the only person that hadn’t seen it! So I was like, ‘Why don’t we just do a Bee Gees song?’ And someone was just like, ‘Okay… how do you wanna do it?!’ And I said, ‘Well, let’s do it like the Bee Gees.’
He then added, “We started recording the instrumental track, and then I thought, ‘Okay, well I’m gonna go out and sing it…’ and let me tell you: I have never, ever in my life sung like that, but it was the easiest song I have ever sung in my entire life! I sang the song, and it was like six minutes and I was done. I should have been singing like this for the last 25 years!”
With dance, flat-out rock and classic songwriting and originality covered, the trio of records should serve as a decent starter for any budding musician regardless of which genre they’d like to head off in.