Released on May 20, 1997.

May 20, 1997: Foo Fighters release their sophomore album The Colour and the Shape and take their first real step toward global rock stardom.


Granted, Dave Grohl‘s self-recorded, self-produced debut Foo Fighters album was what put the band on the map. After all, when Nirvana’s drummer announces a new solo project, people tend to pay attention. But The Colour and the Shape marked the Foo’s debut as a band. And while there was a bit of start-and-stop to the process, the result is a second record that stands strong 25 years on.

  • Early Sessions

    Dave Grohl, guitarist Pat Smear, bassist Nate Mendel, and drummer William Goldsmith laid down initial demos at Washington’s Bear Creek Studios in 1996. The demos were scrapped, but survive online.

  • Goldsmith Exits

    Why were the demos scrapped? Long story short: producer Gil Norton, who was brought in by the band to give the album a pop-leaning rock feel as opposed to a grunge vibe, didn’t like Goldsmith’s drumming. So he talked Grohl into ditching the early demos and re-recording without Goldsmith. Here’s what the original take sounded like.

  • Monkey Wrench

    As was the tradition in the ’90s, the May 20th release date of The Colour and the Shape was preceded by a single release to whet fan’s appetites. “Monkey Wrench” hit rock radio and MTV on April 28, 1997. I remember hearing the song debut on WFNX and immediately liking it. It had all the punch of songs like “This Is A Call,” “I’ll Stick Around,” and “Good Grief” from the debut album, but with more polish. And the video had some new guy named Taylor Hawkins on drums.

  • Everlong

    The obvious take is that Nirvana‘s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” is the rock song of the ’90s. Author Chuck Klosterman put forth a compelling argument years after the dust had settled on the decade that Beck‘s “Loser” is a better candidate. But one could also make a solid case for “Everlong.” Released on August 18, 1997, it owned the airwaves not just for the rest of the summer of ’97, but for the rest of the year, peaking at number three on Billboard‘s Alternative Songs chart.

  • Everlong (Acoustic)

    “Everlong” grew long legs, too, after Dave Grohl performed a solo acoustic version on The Howard Stern Show in 1998.

  • My Hero

    It’s wild to think that an album as seminal as this one only yielded three singles. The slow-burn popularity of “Everlong” in late ’97 pushed the release of the third single “My Hero” to January 19, 1998.

  • Walking After You

    Yes, “Walking After You” is the second-to-last song on The Colour and the Shape. But that version didn’t get single status. The re-recorded version from The X-Flies: The Album did, in 1998.

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