Back in 2010, a year after Barack Obama’s inauguration, Dave Grohl took to a stage in the White House’s east room to perform a rendition of ‘Band On The Run’ by Paul McCartney and Wings. The performance was part of a concert honouring Paul McCartney with the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. Paul himself was in the audience, as were President Obama and his family and several other notable music icons, including Stevie Wonder, whose head can be seen rocking for the entire performance. As captured in the footage below, the moment was obviously a big one for Grohl, who was born and raised in Washington DC.
As the Foo Fighters frontman took to the stage and adjusted his mic, he took a moment to share his appreciation of being asked to perform at the event. Looking a little sheepish, Grohl said: “You know I have to say, I grew up in the Washington DC area. I’ve probably played every club and every basement and every arena and every stadium. But all of that has nothing on playing to – Paul [McCartney], you’re definitely my hero – and, Mr President, you’re my other hero. Thanks for having me.” For Grohl, the experience of playing to his idol must have felt like repaying a debt because, just a few years earlier, McCarney had given Grohl’s daughter an invaluable gift.
Grohl has been a long-time fan of The Beatles and Paul McCartney’s solo work. After drumming for legendary grunge outfit Nirvana and fronting his own immensely successful rock group, Grohl was given the opportunity to meet his idol, and the pair quickly became friends. Soon after, Paul dropped by for dinner at Grohl’s house and ended up giving his daughter, Harper, her first piano lesson. As Grohl recalled in a recent interview: “We have wine and pizza and we were hanging out, and it was time for Paul to go,” Grohl began. “Paul and [his wife] Nancy were leaving and there was a piano in the corner of the room, and he just can’t help himself.”
Paul pulled up a stool and began jumping around on the keys: “So he sits down at the piano and starts playing ‘Lady Madonna’… In my fucking house!” Grohl said, clearly still in awe. “My mind is blown, I can’t believe this is happening. This is like the most crazy full-circle moment of my entire life. My daughter Harper, who I think was five at the time, is watching Paul McCartney on the piano and she goes to the kitchen and gets a coffee cup, puts some change in it and puts it on top of the piano like it’s a tip jar.”
“She’d never taken a lesson to play any instrument at that point and she sat down and watched his hands. They sat down together, and he was showing her what to play, and they wrote a song together,” Grohl continued, going on to describe how, the morning after, he woke up to the sound of Harper playing the song she’d written with Paul the night before.
Grohl’s enthusiasm, however, was clearly off-putting and, seeing her father’s encouragement, Harper promptly stopped playing and hasn’t touched the keys since. “And then she’s like, ‘I wanna be a drummer.’ I’m like, ‘Are you out of your mind!?'” Grohl added. Still, not many people can claim to have had their first piano lesson with a bonafide musical legend. Perhaps we’ll be hearing more of Harper in the future.