Dave Grohl moved from Ohio to Virginia at a young age and began playing the guitar when he was 12. A year later, he was introduced to punk rock during the summer, and he slowly generated interest in the genre. During high school, Grohl remained with a hardcore punk band for a short time before joining Scream, where he auditioned to be the drummer. Grohl first met Kurt Cobain when he watched a performance of Scream, and when the latter was looking for a drummer, Dave Grohl received the gig. Nirvana became a worldwide sensation and sold millions of albums, but the demise of Kurt Cobain disbanded them. Grohl reinvented with the band Foo Fighters and resumed his musical journey as a band leader this time.
With Nirvana and Foo Fighters, Dave Grohl has collectively sold over 110 million albums worldwide and has become one of the highest-grossing tour acts with his current band. With multiple Grammys and accolades, Grohl has entertained audiences with his written and performance music. Let’s take a look at his highest-grossing songs.
Nirvana’s second studio album was released in 1991, and the third lead single, Lithium, became an instant hit. According to The Guardian, Lithium became huge for its high cries of ‘Yeah’ and the mention of faith, which was commonly referenced through post-punk groups in America. The song about religion and belief in god was well-received and remained on the Billboard Hot 100 charts for nine weeks.
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9 You Know You’re Right
You Know You’re Right was Nirvana’s last song while Kurt Cobain was alive. While Grohl and band member Novoselic wanted to release the song, Courtney Love’s management restricted them, but it was eventually released. It shot to the top spot on the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart and even stayed on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for twenty weeks.
8 All My Life
In 2002, Foo Fighters released the first single for their album One By One as All My Life which became an instant hit. The song dominated the Billboard Alternative charts and peaked at the fifth spot on the UK charts. Grohl wrote the song with a sensual undertone, and the tune won a Grammy for Best Hard Rock Performance.
7 Learn To Fly
Foo Fighters first debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 charts with Learn To Fly in 1999. The song peaked at No. 19 in January and even topped the Alternative Airplay charts, as noted by Billboard. The music video for the song also gained traction as it was a parody of the film Airplane! and featured the band playing through the in-flight movie.
6 The Pretender
The Pretender remains one of the most successful Foo Fighters songs, as it reached the 37th spot on the Billboard Hot 100 charts and even spent 20 weeks on the list. The up-tempo song slowly morphs into a hard rock sound with a balance of instruments. The Pretender made it to Rolling Stone’s Best Songs of 2007 list.
5 Times Like These
A deeply personal song for Dave Grohl, he confessed that Times Like These was written to denote the three-month hiatus of Foo Fighters when the guitarist wasn’t feeling like himself. The band’s future was uncertain, and Grohl put his inner turmoil to the tune. The success on the Billboard charts led Grohl to release a stripped-down version which also performed well on the contemporary and pop charts.
4 Come As You Are
Using a combination of punk rock and chorus pedal, Nirvana created a solid masterpiece that remains timeless. As mentioned by Vulture, the song dissociates the imagery of opposites while talking about uncertain people and the differences between imagination and reality. Come As You Are peaked on the Billboard Hot 100 at No.32 and remained perched on the charts for eighteen weeks.
3 Best Of You
After supporting the campaign trail of John Kerry in 2004, Dave Grohl wrote Best Of You in his garage but shelved it as Foo Fighters thought they could do better. The band’s manager pushed the song to be released with the fifth studio album, and it is known as one of the best Foo Fighters songs and peaked at No.18 on Billboard Hot 100.
2 Something In The Way
A bone-chilling song that offers a similar tone to Pink Floyd’s music, Something In The Way, was rendered in a room with no air conditioning or noise to capture Kurt Cobain’s voice’s silence and hushed tone. The painful melody gained traction in pop culture after it was revealed that 2022’s The Batman’s inspiration was Something In The Way. The song increased in streams after the release of the film.
1 Smells Like Teen Spirit
Undisputedly the most popular song of Nirvana, Smells Like Teen Spirit, rose Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain and Dave Grohl to worldwide stardom. Cobain and Grohl created the song as they wanted to bring a new era of music and the ultimate pop song, as stated by Rolling Stone. It is the only Dave Grohl-credited song to break the Billboard Top 10 list and peak at the sixth spot.
Dave Grohl earned mainstream success with Nirvana and became the leading man for Foo Fighters, which got him in the central spotlight. Grohl continued his songwriting process, and during the peak of Foo Fighters, the lead and his band even made $1 million per concert worldwide.
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Sources: The Guardian, Billboard, Vulture, Rolling Stone
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