On July 5th, 2007 Foo Fighters played a secret live show at Dingwalls, a tiny club in the Camden area of London, United Kingdom. The show was booked to help the band shake off any rust before their appearance at Live Earth, a huge climate change music event taking place at the cities Wembley Stadium two days later. During the set they surprised the crowd by playing the Paul McCartney and Wings track ‘Band On The Run’ with Dave Grohl telling the crowd that he’d only learned the song the previous day.
The reason for learning the song was ultimately down to BBC Radio 1 as the radio station was celebrating their 40th anniversary of broadcast, having first hit the airwaves in 1967. The BBC had been broadcasting radio since the 1920s, but the Radio 1 channel was not created until several decades later to counter the prevailing number of pirate radio stations operating at the time. To commemorate the event the corporation reached out to several popular recording artists, asking if they would be willing to record a song for a compilation album. Each artist who agreed were given a year between 1967 and 2007 and asked to cover a song from that year. Foo Fighters were happy to participate and were allocated the year 1974.
The band chose the McCartney and Wings song and appropriately booked a day at the legendary Abbey Road Studios in London to record the cover, location for the recording of many of The Beatles albums. Recording on Independence Day 2007 the band tackled the historic track over the course of just a few hours. Guitar tech Joe Beebe was initially “a little skeptical” about the song choice but once the recording was complete believed the band “owned it”.
A special guest arrived at the studio during the day with Paul McCartney himself getting wind of the recording session. “Someone told me they were down at Abbey Road recording it, so I dropped in and surprised them,” recalled the former Beatle. “Dave was putting the guitar track down, it was great. I just busted in the session, ruined it I suppose, and said ’Hi’ to everyone,” he continued. “It kind of reminded me of a Wings session, which was good for me because they were doing Band on the Run, but Dave’s wife had their baby there, which reminded me of how me and Linda would be. Often, one of the babies would be at the recording session or would be playing around on the floor. You don’t see that so much now.”
‘Radio 1: Established 1967’ was released on October 1st, 2007 featuring the Foo Fighters cover among thirty-nine others. The track was also later included on the bands 2011 compilation album ‘Medium Rare’.