What do you get for the dude who has absolutely everything on their milestone 50th birthday? How about a know-it-all critic telling everybody what he thinks are said individual’s greatest tunes? How big of a gift bag do you think I need? (For my swelled head, not the playlist!)
“Gods Look Down” (Scream)
Young Davey lied about how old he was to join hardcore heroes Scream in 1986, but showed his emo angst in one of the first professional songwriting credits he earned on Fumble‘s “Gods Look Down”. Who would have thought thirty years later he’d be this larger than life personality?
“Scentless Apprentice” (Nirvana)
Grohl is all over Nirvana’s waning-era “Scentless Apprentice”. The drums are about as forceful as he’s ever pounded them (which is saying something), and he was beginning to exert his magnetic influence by apparently coming up with the simple yet memorably catchy guitar riff.
“Hey, Johnny Park!” (Foo Fighters)
Choosing a single Foo Fighters song to be a part of this celebratory playlist may be the toughest decision I’ve ever had to make, so I hope you appreciate my effort here Dave. Despite Grohl’s redoing of William Goldsmith’s labour, I’ve always liked the intro on this AOR-type gem.
“A Song for the Dead” (Queens of the Stone Age)
As if it wasn’t enough to be part of the immortal Nirvana in addition to a band that would eventually become rock’s biggest in the almighty FOO, Grohl has a starring role on quite possibly the hardest-hitting, most whiplash-inducing album of the 2000s, QotSA’s Songs for the Deaf.
“Dead End Friends” (Them Crooked Vultures)
Considering everything he has accomplished prior to turning 50, the only conceivable way Grohl can go any higher in my opinion would be to reunite Led Zeppelin for their golden anniversary at Cal Jam 2019. OK, OK, Them Crooked Vultures can play a couple of songs too I guess.
“Tribute” (Tenacious D)
Grohl has undeniably had a hand in creating some of the best songs in the world. Not sure if this is one of them, even if The D are rock GOATs. Besides drum contributions, he’s also popped up as the devil incarnate twice for them, so what does that really tell you about ol’ Dave?
“I’ve Been Waiting for You” (David Bowie)
This one has become a bit of an overlooked 2000s gem – Gone-too-soon Bowie covering a lesser known track from Uncle Neil Young’s 1968 debut, with sweetly strong guitar licks provided by Grohl while he was juggling between FF and QotSA commitments that ended up charting in Canada.
“Shake Your Blood” (Probot)
Not that he needed to at this stage in his career, but Dave proved just how metal he was through his Probot side project. Among all Lucky 13 guest appearances on the independently released experiment, the most badass one had to have been legendary Lemmy from Motörhead (RIP).
“Watch This” (Slash)
Grohl will now forever be linked to Guns N’ Roses thanks to lending his “throne” to Axl Rose in 2016. The connection was established years earlier with Slash, Duff McKagan and him coming together on “Watch This”. As an instrumental, shouldn’t it have been called Listen to This?
“Cut Me Some Slack” (Sound City)
When you’re Dave Grohl, you are afforded the privilege of directing documentaries near and dear to your heart, to say nothing of working with luminaries such as Paul McCartney. Macca-vana was the grungy result of their forces colliding for the Sound City: Real to Reel soundtrack.
“The Idea of You” (Nine Inch Nails)
I almost forgot how Grohl is on Nine Inch Nails’ 2016 EP Not the Actual Events, his first industrial foray if you will since With Teeth in 2005. The notion of another alt-rocker winning an Academy Award like Mr. Reznor did for The Social Network would be a nice goal to set, huh?