The first band you connect with will always retain a special place in your heart, and Dave Grohl, the enigmatic leader of the Foo Fighters, is no different. Like many of us, The Beatles were the first group that spoke to him on a deep level, lighting a fire of creativity that burns still to this day.
‘The Fab Four’ catapulted their way into Grohl’s life at 12 years old, a time when he began to learn the guitar. Going through the traditional route wasn’t appropriate for the future Foo Fighters frontman. Even as a pre-pubescent, Grohl was intent on ignoring authority figures and doing things on his own terms.
Grohl didn’t need a teacher when he had the work of John, Paul, George and Ringo at his disposal, and they were all he needed to master the instrument. Locking himself away, the budding musician spent countless hours meticulously studying his craft and the work of The Beatles. That intense period would birth his love of The Beatles, and their significance has only amplified with age.
Reflecting back on when that love started, Grohl once said, “The Beatles were the first band I fell in love with.… When I started learning guitar, my mother gave me a chord book with all of the Beatles’ songs in it. And I’d play along with the album. In the music, I started to discover arrangement and composition, melody, and harmony. It was like a puzzle, just fascinating.” The Beatles created a framework that opened Grohl’s mind to the mechanical side of music and the structures that are necessary for a song to work.
Grohl’s love of The Beatles has even been the subject of a radio documentary, Dave Grohl: My Beatles. During the 60-minute programme, the singer pinpointed several key moments that have helped establish his relationship with the band.
Speaking about the first time he listened to the group, Grohl explained, “I’d like to play the first Beatles song I ever heard, and it might be the first record I ever listened to,” he said. “I remember having a sleepover at a friend’s house when I was four or five years old and listening to ‘Hey Jude’. I don’t think I’d ever listened to a rock and roll record. This was my introduction, and it’s stuck with me ever since.”
In the same interview, Grohl picked out ‘Something’ and highlighted the importance of George Harrison. He mused, “I think that of all The Beatles – of course, each one of them is so entirely different, melodically they’re so different, songwriting, lyrically – but George Harrison, there was something about him that I almost preferred the most”.
For almost the entirety of Grohl’s life, The Beatles have been a constant despite everything else which has changed around it. Friends might come and go, but the Fab Four shaped hole in his life only continues to expand.