Whether you love him or loathe him—and fewer people hate him than chocolate—Dave Grohl is one of the greatest songwriters of our time. For some reason, this may be less recognized than it should be. To put it as simply as possible, not many musicians have the eclectic depth in their back catalog that it has while maintaining both a mainstream presence and artistic integrity.
The music may not be your taste, but anyone who can shred a drum solo, write a folky tune, a grunge classic and a stadium rock anthem and still remain unique is a feat to admire. Part of the reason his music is so eclectic is because his taste in music is equally unbiased. In fact, the beauty of his songwriting is that it is supported by structures that permeate all genres and Grohl quickly recognizes that sensibility in every song that crosses his path.
This trend started in childhood when he told Mark Maron about his wtf podcasting. “The first music that came to my mind was the AM radio in the car. So this was the mid-seventies, so you’re talking about Andrew Gold and Phoebe Snow and Helen Reddy and Carly Simon and 10cc — all that AM bull shit, man.” He might call it nonsense, but it’s a sign of his open ears that he welcomed it and admired it anyway.
He continued: “There’s something about that era of music, where you had all these incredibly gifted songwriters who were really adept at their playing. Someone like Andrew Gold […] I swear, I sang this song called ‘Never Let Her Slip Away’. Dude, this song isn’t a big hit in America, but it’s the most beautiful piece of music ever written.”
It may not have been a big hit in America, only reaching 67 on the charts, but it reached number five in the UK, and it’s the song I grew up hearing my dad sing while he was doing the dishes. That may seem like a huge personal endorsement to put in a piece I don’t have a place to appear in, but that’s the sense of nostalgia that the song somehow brings out spiritually, just as Grohl no doubt remembers. that it popped out of the sky. AM radio speakers on long summer rides as a kid.
But aside from the track’s almost hauntingly nostalgic spirit, the structure itself is something Grohl eagerly appreciated as well. “The keyboard sound is maybe a bit, you could call it cheesy, it’s not cool anymore, but melodic […] it’s arguably one of the most melodically refined songs I’ve ever heard in my entire life. You have to hear it. It will blow your mind.”
The Foo Fighters frontman even announced plans to one day try the 1978 song. As he strenuously asserted, “We’re going to cover it so you know.” Well, let’s hope it does justice to the sun anthem and that it retains all that rarefied air that the original crams into its pan-scrubbing joie de vivre.