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Foo Fighters Head to D.C. to Rock White House Fourth of July Bash

July 2, 2009 8:10 AM ET

The Foo Fighters will take a short break from their extended hiatus when they play a very special Fourth of July party this Saturday — at the White House! Rolling Stone has learned that the band will perform a short set as part of the annual festivities on the South Lawn, which has an unblemished view of the capital's elaborate fireworks display. Earlier this week, President Obama invited staffers and their immediate families to the official First Family celebration; and it should be noted that back in January, it was many of those same staffers who campaigned for the Arcade Fire to play their much-deserved victory ball on inauguration night.

Frontman Dave Grohl, who's been on full-time daddy duty since second daughter Harper was born on April 17th, is known to get antsy in between albums, but with bassist Nate Mendel reuniting his original band, Sunny Day Real Estate, for a national tour that kicks off in September, and word spreading of a possible Grohl side-project involving Led Zeppelin's John Paul Jones and Queens of the Stone Age's Josh Homme, any Foos activity would have been a complete surprise, never mind this unexpected booking. To that end, when we ran into the rocker near his current home turf — L.A.'s San Fernando Valley — Grohl was visibly excited about the one-off gig in D.C. (the city where he honed his punk rock chops as a teen living in nearby Alexandria, Virginia) and the opportunity to play for "Him."

Jimmy Fallon, Michelle Branch and "The President's Own" U.S. Marine Band are also booked for the event, a "Salute The Troops" USO concert for 1,200 troops and military family members.

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Song Stories

“Bird on a Wire”

Leonard Cohen | 1969

While living on the Greek island of Hydra, Cohen was battling a lingering depression when his girlfriend handed him a guitar and suggested he play something. After spotting a bird on a telephone wire, Cohen wrote this prayer-like song of guilt. First recorded by Judy Collins, it would be performed numerous times by artists incuding Johnny Cash, Joe Cocker and Rita Coolidge. "I'm always knocked out when I hear my songs covered or used in some situation," Cohen told Rolling Stone. "I've never gotten over the fact that people out there like my music."

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