Foo Fighters’ Biggest Billboard Chart Hits: ‘Learn to Fly,’ ‘Best of You’ & More
As previously reported, Taylor Hawkins, drummer for Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Foo Fighters, died, as announced on March 25. No cause of death was immediately given. Hawkins was 50.
“The Foo Fighters family is devastated by the tragic and untimely loss of our beloved Taylor Hawkins,” reads a statement on the band’s social accounts. “His musical spirit and infectious laughter will live on with all of us forever.”
Upon Hawkins’ passing, Billboard looks back at the band’s biggest chart achievements, including its honor as the No. 1 act on Billboard‘s Greatest of All Time Alternative Artists retrospective.
Albums: Wasting Light, Concrete and Gold
Hawkins made his first appearance on a Foo Fighters album via their third studio set, There’s Nothing Left to Lose, released in November 1999. The set debuted and peaked at No. 10 on the all-genre Billboard 200 albums chart, marking their second top 10. (The group’s self-titled debut LP hit No. 23 in 1995 and sophomore set, The Colour and the Shape, reached No. 10 in 1997.)
Twelve albums by Foo Fighters with Hawkins on drums have charted on the Billboard 200, through the band’s most recent entry, the Record Store Day release Hail Satin in 2021. Eight of the band’s nine top 10 albums feature Hawkins, including both of its No. 1s: Wasting Light, in 2011, and Concrete and Gold, in 2017.
Foo Fighters have sold 13.2 million albums in the United States (through March 17), according to Luminate, formerly MRC Data.
Outside Foo Fighters, a pair of releases from Taylor Hawkins & The Coattail Riders have charted, on the Heatseekers Albums list: Red Light Fever (No. 40, 2010) and Get the Money (No. 18, 2019). Another Hawkins project, The Birds of Satan, sent its self-titled set to No. 14 on Heatseekers Albums in 2014.
Hawkins also played drums for Coheed and Cambria on the band’s second Billboard 200 top 10, No World for Tomorrow (No. 6, 2007).
Songs: ‘Learn to Fly,’ ‘Best of You’
Foo Fighters’ songs, meanwhile, have drawn 33.9 billion in cumulative U.S. radio audience (from 7.5 million plays) and 2.9 billion official on-demand U.S. streams.
The band has charted 10 titles on the all-genre, multi-metric Billboard Hot 100 songs chart, all after Hawkins joined its lineup. The group first appeared on the Hot 100 dated Oct. 16, 1999, with one of its signature anthems, “Learn to Fly.” The song reached No. 19 the following January.
Foo Fighters earned their highest-charting Hot 100 hit with fellow classic “Best of You,” which rose to No. 18 in July 2005. One other track of theirs has made the top 40: “The Pretender” (No. 37, October 2007).
Notably, Hawkins is seen in the official video for one of the most enduring hits from the ’90s: as the then-touring drummer for Alanis Morissette, he is in the clip for her breakthrough U.S. hit “You Oughta Know,” which crowned the Alternative Airplay chart for five weeks in 1995 and reached No. 6 on the Hot 100 (as the B-side to “You Learn,” in 1996; “Oughta” was included on the double-sided physical single via Morissette’s live recording from the Grammy Awards that year).
Foo Fighters’ songs have made their most historic impacts on Billboard‘s Mainstream Rock Airplay and Alternative Airplay charts, with Foo Fighters claiming the top spot on the Greatest of All Time Alternative Artists recap, as revealed in 2018. Plus, “The Pretender” took the No. 5 placement on the Greatest of All Time Alternative Songs ranking, unveiled the same year.
Foo Fighters boast 11 No. 1s among a record 29 top 10s on Mainstream Rock Airplay and 10 leaders among also a record 28 top 10s on Alternative Airplay. The band first topped Alternative Airplay with “Learn to Fly” in 1999 and first ruled Mainstream Rock Airplay with “Best of You” in 2005.
Mused Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl to Billboard upon learning of the band’s achievement of topping the Greatest of All Time Alternative Artists chart, “We have this divining rod that we’ve followed, and it takes us where we think we should go.”