I love the Foo Fighters.
In fact, I love this band so much that, in the words of one of my good college friends, “they’re easily my third or fourth favorite band of all time.”
I listen to at least two Foo Fighters songs every single day, and that’s no exaggeration. The success of both my lab work and my bike racing has been fueled by timeless hits like “Big Me” and “Everlong,” as well as the newer songs like “The Pretender” and “Long Road to Ruin.” I don’t know what it is, but the band’s music resonates with my soul.
Just a few days ago, I heard a new Foo Fighters single on the radio, called “Wheels.” Instantly, I found myself singing along with the chorus and rocking out to the controlled but heartfelt guitar riffs. It’s a remarkably easy-on-the-ears song, with just a hint of the grungy Foo Fighters sound of old. An instant classic…
Then it suddenly struck me: this new song is a blatant ripoff of the Tom Petty tune called “Learning to Fly.” Seriously. Listen for yourself, and let me know what you think.
Now, while the similarities between the two songs are undeniable, I don’t feel cheated by the uncanny resemblance; if anything, my emotional response to the Foo Fighters song is heightened by some sort of nostalgic Tom Petty effect. Maybe I just yearn for some combination of Dave Grohl’s and Tom Petty’s hair; OK, it’s definitely the hair.
I’m sure others have noticed the parallels–between these songs, not the hair–because they’re exceedingly obvious. They’re so conspicuous, in fact, that I’m convinced the Foo Fighters wrote this piece as some sort of tribute–or perhaps an epilogue–to the Petty song. Nevermind the inflections in Grohl’s voice throughout the song, the girly background singing, or the melodic replication; instead, look at the content. The title of the 1991 Tom Petty hit is “Learning to Fly,” and the music video contains considerable footage of aeronautical contraptions, while the Foo Fighters’ song repeats the catchy refrain, “When the wheels come down/When the wheels touch ground.” Come on…it’s right there!
Now, I’m not writing an essay here, nor am I interested in researching things. I have no idea if a simple Google search like “foo fighters wheels tom petty” would reveal some vast conspiracy theory; of course, I’m also not interested in the opinion of the rest of the internet. The internet is full of fools. I’m simply writing my feelings about a new song by my (third or fourth) favorite band.
At least it’s not as bad as the Vanilla Ice/Queen ripoff, or the fact that the new Green Day song “21 Guns” contains the Full House jingle as a guitar solo (@ 3:15 in the Green Day song and 0:45 in the Full House intro, if you’re interested).
And now it’s 2am. I suppose I should get some sleep.