Dave Grohl Tells the Story of How He Wrote “Everlong”

Dave Grohl, like many rock musi­cians, does not come from a clas­si­cal­ly trained back­ground. Instead he has an abil­i­ty to write accord­ing to what sounds good, and where noodling around in the stu­dio can bring great rewards. That’s where The Foo Fight­ers’ best song “Ever­long” orig­i­nates.

In this 2020 clip from Oates Song Fest, Grohl tells the sto­ry of “Ever­long,” and how it came to him in the stu­dio one day in between work­ing on the band’s sec­ond album. It start­ed with a chord.

“I’m not a trained musi­cian, so I don’t know what that chord is,” he says. (The Inter­tubes seem to agree it’s a Dmaj7). At first he thought it was a chord from Son­ic Youth (“Schiz­o­phre­nia,” in fact), one of his favorite bands of all time. So that was a good start. One chord led to anoth­er and soon he had a sketch of a song.

At the time, Grohl was essen­tial­ly home­less after a divorce from his wife, pho­tog­ra­ph­er Jen­nifer Young­blood. And the band were at a low ebb as well, not hap­py that their debut album hadn’t tak­en off like they want­ed. But Grohl then fell in love again, this time with Louise Post of the band Veru­ca Salt. Over Christ­mas 1996, he wrote the lyrics. He would tell Ker­rang mag­a­zine in 2006: “That song’s about a girl that I’d fall­en in love with and it was basi­cal­ly about being con­nect­ed to some­one so much, that not only do you love them phys­i­cal­ly and spir­i­tu­al­ly, but when you sing along with them you har­mo­nize per­fect­ly.”

He record­ed a demo of the song, play­ing all the instru­ments (he might not be a *trained* musi­cian, but he is a well round­ed one), and the fin­ished stu­dio ver­sion real­ly didn’t stray too far from the orig­i­nal. Post pro­vid­ed har­monies record­ed down a tele­phone, as she was in Chica­go at the time. (You can hear them iso­lat­ed, along with a lot more gear­head chat on this Pro­duce Like a Pro episode): “I nev­er con­sid­ered doing this acousti­cal­ly, I thought it was a rock song,” Grohl adds. That was until he did the Howard Stern show, ear­ly in the morn­ing at 6 a.m., and per­formed it with just solo gui­tar. “It gave the song a new life,” he said. “It makes the song feel the way I always wish it would.”

The song cat­a­pult­ed the band to the top of the charts, and is con­sid­ered one of the great rock songs of the 1990s. David Let­ter­man con­sid­ers it his favorite song, and asked the band to play it at the close of his final show in 2015. For a very spe­cif­ic lyric writ­ten about a very spe­cif­ic woman, with chords dis­cov­ered while just goof­ing about, it has a uni­ver­sal qual­i­ty.

via Boing­Bo­ing

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Paul Simon Tells the Sto­ry of How He Wrote “Bridge Over Trou­bled Water” (1970)

Dave Grohl & Greg Kurstin Cov­er 8 Songs by Famous Jew­ish Artists for Hanukkah: Bob Dylan, Beast­ie Boys, Vel­vet Under­ground & More

AI Soft­ware Cre­ates “New” Nir­vana, Jimi Hen­drix, Doors & Amy Wine­house Songs: Hear Tracks from the “Lost Tapes of the 27 Club”

Nir­vana Refus­es to Fake It on Top of the Pops, Gives a Big “Mid­dle Fin­ger” to the Tra­di­tion of Bands Mim­ing on TV (1991)

Ted Mills is a free­lance writer on the arts who cur­rent­ly hosts the Notes from the Shed pod­cast and is the pro­duc­er of KCR­W’s Curi­ous Coast. You can also fol­low him on Twit­ter at @tedmills, and/or watch his films here.

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