The Foo Fighters’ released their second album, The Color and the Shape on May 20, 1997. Since then, the album has gone on to become a seminal record for the era with critics praising it as a pivotal American rock album.

As the album turns 20, celebrate with ten little known facts about the Foo Fighters’ legendary album.


  1. It’s a break up album. At the time, Dave Grohl was beginning his divorce from photographer Jennifer Youngblood. In fact, the album’s track listing was designed to resemble the ups and downs of a therapy session. On the tenth anniversary of the album, bassist Nate Mendel said, “While recording this record two marriages fell apart, we lost a drummer, someone nearly went to jail, and we discovered late in the day that record making is hellishly expensive and best done with a budget prepared well beforehand.”
  2. Band’s debut as a group. The band’s debut album was fully written and recorded by Grohl, with him playing each instrument on every song. That changed when he assembled a full band for the second record. When drummer William Goldsmith left the band over creative differences, Taylor Hawkins joined after leaving Alanis Morissette’s touring band.
  3. The album was produced by legendary producer, Gil Norton. Gil Norton has worked with heaps of awesome bands like Pixies, Jimmy Eat World, Sum 41 and more. He pushed the band to lean heavily on their issues and make an emotionally raw album. His enrollment in the album taught the band about the importance of self-editing and gave them the confidence to see the “bigger picture” while recording.
  4. It was recorded at Hollywood’s iconic Grandmaster Recordings. David Bowie, Stevie Wonder, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Beck and more recorded influential albums at the studio. The space was a silent movie theater in the 20’s before being turned into a recording studio in the 70’s. Recently the space was sold for $6.1 million to be converted into a hotel and lounge.
  5. The album produced massive hits for the band. The first single, “Monkey Wrench”, was written to chronicle Grohl’s relationship with his ex-wife. The song was listed as Kerrang! magazine’s #48 song on their “100 Greatest Rock Tracks Ever” and #65 on Q magazine’s “100 Greatest Songs Ever” list.
  6. “Everlong” is David Letterman’s favourite song. The band was invited to perform the song at Letterman’s return to late night after his heart surgery in 2000 and returned again to perform the song again on Letterman’s final episode before retirement in 2015.
  7. The hero in “My Hero” is Dave’s mom’s boyfriend. When Grohl wrote “My Hero”, he didn’t realize it at the time, but he wrote it about two men in his life – former Scream band member Peter Stahl and his mom’s boyfriend Chip Donaldson, who introduced him to classic and folk rock.
  8. “Walking After You” was used in X-Files and Dave was stoked. Dave Grohl is a HUGE X-Files fan – he even named the band after a UFO. Grohl had a guest appearance on the show in 1996, and the album’s final single was used in the X-File movie soundtrack.
  9. For such a huge album, it was only nominated for one Grammy. Arguably one of the band’s biggest albums to date, it was only ever nominated for one Grammy in 1998 for Best Rock Album. It lost to John Fogerty, whom Grohl later featured in his Sound City documentary.
  10. The album’s final song is about finding closure. Because the album is designed as a therapy session, Grohl chose to end the record with a song to mirror his own closure. Grohl says the song is about “winding your way through all of these songs, emotions and pitfalls and ups and downs, but at the end of the day, you realize that you’re not scared any more and you’re gonna make it.”
Filed under: Anniversary, Colour and the Shape, Dave Grohl, Everlong, Foo Fighters, Monkey Wrench, My Hero, Walking After You