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Album: Sound City – Real to ReelReleased: 2012
This song was recorded for Dave Grohl's feature length Sound City documentary and its accompanying soundtrack album, titled Sound City - Real to Reel.
Former Nirvana bandmates Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic and unofficial fourth member Pat Smear were joined by Paul McCartney for a performance of this song at the 12/12/12 Concert, a benefit event to gather relief funds following Hurricane Sandy. Introducing the song, McCartney told the crowd: "Recently some guys asked me to go and jam with them. So I showed up... and in the middle of it, these guys kept saying, 'We haven't played together for years, you know?' The penny finally dropped, I finally understood that I was in the middle of a Nirvana reunion."
The song title is an expression meaning a request to ease the pressure. It originated in African American slang of the 1960s.
Paul McCartney and the three Nirvana members teamed up to perform this on Saturday Night Live on December 15, 2012.
Krist Novoselic explained the story of the song in a blog post. He recalled: "The collaboration came out of the Sound City film that was produced and directed by Dave. He asked me if I wanted to play with him, Pat and Paul? I said YES! It was a wonderful day -- Paul came in with this cigar box guitar and started playing some mean slide on it. He said it was in a 'D.' Hearing that, Grunge instincts took over my left hand and I dropped the E on the bass to D. Pat and Dave got into it and the tune took shape. Paul flashed a riff and we picked it up. I busted another one out and everyone picked it up. Things started coming together."
"It was so exciting to play with Paul," he continued. "I became seized with thoughts, for I hadn't played like that with Pat or Dave since the last Nirvana show in 1994. Wow, it was emotionally and musically heavy! Some other things brought me back; there was a Lefty on guitar who was a heck of a songwriter. Anyway, words can't really describe it and I returned to the task at hand. A new song was born! And that's about it. That's all it is -- a new song by some players who have doing it for a while."
Speaking with KROQ, Grohl revealed that this was written and recorded in just three hours. Having recorded some performances for Grohl's Sound City documentary, the Foo Fighter frontman later asked McCartney if he wanted to jam again. "We walked in; we jammed the song. It just came out of nowhere. The best songs happen that way," said Grohl. "We recorded it live and put a vocal over it and that was it. It was three hours and it was perfect."
Eight months later, Grohl asked McCartney if he would play the track at the 12/12/12 Concert.
This won for Best Rock Song at the Grammy Awards in 2014. Accepting the award, Grohl explained: "I asked Paul to jam with some friends of mine, and he came over to the studio and we knocked this out in a couple hours. To me, that's what Rock and Roll is all about." McCartney added: "He said to me, come along and we'll do a jam on 'Long Tall Sally
.' I said, No, we've been there, we've done that. We should just make something up - and this is it."