The Year in Rock 2014 — Foo Fighters Explore History of American Music with “Sonic Highways”

Image Courtesy of Ringo Starr2014 saw a ton of extraordinarily hyped-up albums, but only one came with its own HBO series. That album was Foo Fighters' Sonic Highways, and it was accompanied by an eight-part HBO documentary series of the same name.

Sonic Highways the series followed the band as they traveled from city to city, recording Sonic Highways the album in studios across America. Along the way, Foos frontman Dave Grohl interviewed musical representatives of each city, from rockers like Ian MacKaye to country icons like Dolly Parton. He even interviewed President Barack Obama. At the end of each episode, Grohl would take his notes from the interviews to write the lyrics for the Sonic Highways album.

To promote both the documentary series and the album, Foo Fighters signed up for a week-long residency at The Late Show with David Letterman. The week was a star-studded affair, featuring Foos performances alongside country star Zac Brown, Heart's Anne and Nancy Wilson, Cheap Trick's Rick Nielsen, and Tony Joe White. They also performed the first single from Sonic Highways, "Something from Nothing."

For each episode of Sonic Highways, Foo Fighters would play an intimate show in whichever city that episode spotlighted. Each concert would be preceded by a screening of that week's episode. The only way to buy tickets for most of the concerts was to physically line up at a venue's box office. The band continued that strategy when they announced their 2015 stadium tour: at almost all of the venues, a "Beat the Bots" pre-sale launched to cut out the online scalping market took place, which required fans to physically stand in line to buy tickets.

The Sonic Highways album was released November 10, four weeks into the Sonic Highways series. It debuted on the Billboard 200 at number two, giving Foo Fighters seven straight top-10 appearances on the chart. The single "Something for Nothing" proved to be a number--one hit at both Active and Alternative rock radio.

The members of Foo Fighters also enjoyed several personal milestones, as well as professional ones. Grohl's wife, Jordyn Blum, gave birth to the couple's third daughter, Ophelia Saint, on August 1. Additionally, in October, Foo bassist Nate Mendel married longtime girlfriend Kate Jackson.

Foo Fighters will look to have another big year in 2015 when they launch their tour in support of Sonic Highways. The tour begins July 4 in Washington, D.C. alongside special guests Heart, Joan Jett & The Blackhearts, Buddy Guy, Gary Clark Jr., LL Cool J featuring DJ Z-Trip, Trouble Funk, and Trombone Shorty. It'll continue through a stop in Memphis, Tennessee October 7.

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