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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

“American Girl”

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers | 1976

It turns out that a single with "American" in its title--recorded on the Fourth of July during the nation's Bicentennial, no less--can actually sell better in Britain. Coupled with the Heartbreakers' flair for Byrds jangle and Animals hooks, though, is Tom Petty's native-Florida drawl that keeps this classic grounded at home. Petty dispelled rumors that the song was about a suicidal student, explaining that the inspiration came from when he was 25 and used to salute the highway traffic outside his apartment window. "It sounded like the ocean to me," he recalled. "That was my ocean. My Malibu. Where I heard the waves crash, but it was just the cars going by."

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