In the nearly two-decade career of the Foo Fighters, there was no period quite as contentious as the sessions that (eventually) led to their 2002 album One by One. Weary from a two-year world tour, and being pulled apart by various intra-band dramas (including drummer Taylor Hawkins' drug overdose), the Foos were on the brink of calling it quits, and attempts to record the album certainly didn't help matters any.
The bandmembers were unhappy with songs recorded at Grohl's Virginia studio and Conway Studios in Los Angeles, battling each other and their desires to call it a day, and they scrapped the songs before taking a break (Hawkins would subsequently refer to the scrapped tunes as the "million-dollar demos"). Eventually, recharged by a performance at Coachella, they decided to try to make the album again, and though they'd eventually finish One by One, the Foos rarely play songs from the record live, and Grohl has said that it's his least favorite album.
So, at the very least, One by One remains the most, uh, curious entry in the Foo's back catalog. Now, fans — and, we suppose, rock historians — are getting a deeper look (and listen) into its making, as a pair of the so-called "million-dollar demos" have leaked.
The two tracks — "Have It All" and "Come Back" — were recorded during the initial One by One sessions and were apparently in the minority of songs the band actually liked: Both ended up making the final version of the album, albeit in very different forms.
The demo of "Have It All" is (understandably) less polished than the One by One version, and while it's certainly looser, it does features the same fleet-fingered fretwork. The main difference between the two is the lengthy instrumental outro the band tacks on to the demo. The early version of "Come Back" is much shorter than the album version, lacking most of the additional instrumentation (and slow-burning build) that fans heard on One by One. Instead, it's a high-energy workout of interlocking riffs, stop-start drumming and Grohl's gnarled vocals.
And though the Foos may not have fond memories of One by One, the album did feature one of their biggest hits ("All My Life") and win them a pair of Grammys — Best Hard Rock Performance and Best Rock Album. They'd return three years later with the double-disc effort In Your Honor.