“My Hero” by Foo Fighters
Truth be told, the lyrics of the verses of “My Hero” are not that easy to understand. The only idea that does come through clearly as far as the verses are concerned is in the second, where the vocalist states that in his mind, heroes are the types who display endurance under circumstances which compel others “peter out”.
You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Foo Fighters's My Hero at Lyrics.org.
But in the chorus, Dave does explain that “(his) hero” is “ordinary”. And thankfully for us listeners, he has also given a pretty detailed explanation as to what this song is actually about. And as stated, he is celebrating the more down-to-earth individuals who display heroism, people like his mom for instance. So that is why this song has been used to big up the likes of healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. In other words, in the real-world a hero isn’t some fictional character with superpowers. Rather it is those who, in their own personal ways, make a positive contribution to the world.
When was “My Hero” released?
This song hit the record store shelves on 19 January 1998 as the third and final single from “The Colour and the Shape”, which was the Foo Fighters’ sophomore album. All things considered, said outing can be regarded as their most-successful project. For instance it is also from which “Everlong“, one of the band’s signature songs, is derived.
“My Hero” is also a fan favorite, as this song made it onto the top 10 of the Billboard Alternative Airplay and Mainstream Rock charts. In addition to this, it was certified gold in a couple of countries, including the UK and Australia.
There are also renditions of this tune which appear on various Foo Fighter live albums.
Dave Grohl is credited with writing this song alongside his Foo Fighter bandmates Nate Mendel and Pat Smear. However, Grohl himself was the primary writer. He was particularly inspired by a 1983 Nicholas Cage film entitled Valley Girl. And the singer also acted as the director of this track’ music video.
A Song written for Kurt Cobain?
Many people believe that, in conception, “My Hero” served as Dave Grohl’s tribute to Kurt Cobain (1967-1994). Grohl formed the Foo Fighters in the aftermath of Nirvana disbanding in 1994 after Cobain’s death, having been a member of that band also.
Or more simply put, Cobain was Grohl’s older homey. However, Dave has clarified on more than one occasion that this song is not about Cobain (though acknowledged that “there’s definitely an element of Kurt” therein). In fact he went on to say that in the aftermath of the death of Cobain, who proved to be one of those musicians who achieved legendary status upon dying prematurely, that “the whole idea of hero worship or idolatry warped into something… strange”.
But it seems that there are still some people who choose to believe that this song is about Cobain regardless. And such conspiracy theorists would be happy to know that Bradley Cook, who served as one of the engineers of “The Colour and the Shape”, backed that theory up.
Amongst the movies this song has been featured on are James Van Der Beek’s Varsity Blues (1999) and Will Ferrell’s The Other Guys (2010).
In 2008, John McCain (1936-2018) decided to use this song during his campaign for the US Presidency. This pissed the Foo Fighters off, as they deemed that such usage contradicted what “My Hero” is actually about. And it seems that in response, they performed the tune in support of the rival Democratic Party a few years later.
Even though this song was released in 1997, it dates back to 1995. Or at least that was the year in which Foo Fighters first performed “My Hero” live.
For the record, longstanding Foo Fighters’ member Taylor Hawkins (1972-2022) did not participate on this song. Dave Grohl, being unsatisfied with the work of the band’s original drummer, William Goldsmith, on “The Colour and the Shape”, proceeded to re-record the tracks, playing the drums himself in place of Goldsmith. And it wasn’t until after they had finished recording the album that Hawkins was brought on board to serve that role. But that said, in the wake of Taylor’s shocking death in 2022, Wolfgang Van Halen performed “My Hero” in his honor.