In addition to being one of the world’s biggest bands, the Foo Fighters have been a frequent contributor to Record Store Day. In 2011, Dave Grohl’s group released an instant classic. One of the most in-demand RSD releases ever, the Foo Fighters’ Medium Rare is a cover album filled with rarities that still stands as a favorite of my vinyl collection.
The album was released at a particular high point in the band’s career. Foo Fighters had dropped the terrific Wasting Light four days before Record Store Day. They were also embarking on a high-profile garage tour that promoted their status as a relatable arena band.
Medium Rare contains Foo Fighters covers that were mostly recorded well before Record Store Day was conceived. Even on a record of standouts, the true highlights from the album come from distinctly different phases in the band’s career.
Their take on Paul McCartney and Wings’ “Band On The Run” was a part of a 2007 BBC album. The cover of Pink Floyd’s “Have A Cigar” with Queen’s Brian May was originally included on the Mission Impossible II soundtrack in 2000. Gerry Rafferty’s “Baker Street” was released as a companion to “My Hero” in 1997.
The LP is a snapshot of the band as they rise from the ashes of Nirvana into superstars. Each song shows the band letting loose.
This holds true on punk rock like The Ramones’ “Danny Says” or classic jams like Cream’s “I Feel Free.” Two of the songs even feature drummer Taylor Hawkins on lead vocals, a rarity for a Foo Fighters studio cut.
Of those tracks, the most enduring is “Baker Street.” One of the best alt rock covers of a classic rock song, “Baker Street” highlights the Foo Fighters’ ability to transform any song into a melodic garage jam. It is hard to believe the track was left off The Colour and the Shape.
The song solidifies Medium Rare as a great album. What makes it one of my favorite records is not the Foo Fighters’ epic 2011 creative wave or its then-status as a hot item. The quality and special nature of the record defines what Record Store Day should be about – connecting fans with a fun side of music and promoting the joy of listening to vinyl.
Foo Fighters Medium Rare Track List
Band On The Run – Paul McCartney and Wings
I Feel Free – Cream
Life Of Illusion – Joe Walsh
Young Man Blues – Mose Allison
Bad Reputation – Thin Lizzy
Darling Nikki – Prince
Down In the Park – Tubeway Army
Baker Street – Gerry Rafferty
Danny Says (with Gregg Bissonette) – The Ramones
Have A Cigar (with Brian May) – Pink Floyd
Never Talking To You Again – Husker Du
Gas Chamber – Angry Samoans
This Will Be Our Year- Chris White