Taylor Hawkins Said Prince’s ‘Best of You’ Super Bowl Cover Might’ve Been Revenge for Foo Fighters’ ‘Darling Nikki’ B-Side

Viewers at home and in the stadium during Super Bowl XLI weren’t alone in thinking it was strange that Prince was covering Foo Fighters during his unforgettable Super Bowl Halftime performance. Foo Fighters’ drummer, Taylor Hawkins, also thought it was peculiar that the icon chose to play the band’s “Best of You,” especially since Prince rarely played other artists’ music.

Hawkins, who died on March 25, had some theories about the cover. It all stems back to 2003 when Foo Fighters released a cover of Prince’s raunchy “Darling Nikki” as a B-side.

Prince performing at the 2007 Super Bowl Halftime Show and Foo Fighters at the 2007 MTV Europe Awards.
Prince and Foo Fighters | Jeff Kravitz/Stephane Cardinale – Corbis/Getty Images

Prince didn’t give his blessing that Foo Fighters could release ‘Darling Nikki’ commercially

In 2003, Foo Fighters recorded a cover of Prince’s 1984 song, “Darling Nikki” (off of Purple Rain), and released it as a B-side on the Australian version of their “Have It All” single.

However, it made its way to the U.S. According to MTV, the cover became so famous that Foo Fighters began using it as a set-closing staple at their shows in 2004.

According to Hawkins, the band recorded it as a joke. “Whenever we finish an album [in this case, the band’s 2002 effort, One by One], we just think it’s fun to do a couple of covers,” Hawkins explained to MTV. “Dave loved ‘Darling Nikki’ because it was really funky. And so we just recorded our version in my garage, and somehow it ended up getting played on radio — which was weird, because we just did it as a sort of joke.”

However, the cover did not please Prince at all. According to one of Dave Grohl’s True Stories (via Instagram), the band had asked for his blessing to release it commercially. “He shut us down faster than you can say, ‘Dearly beloved…’ Grohl wrote. “I believe I remember him saying, ‘They should write their own tunes…’ or something along those lines.

Grohl had it right. Prince told Entertainment Weekly that he didn’t appreciate the cover or anyone else’s and that Foo Fighters needed to write their own material.

“We wanted to put it out here in the States, but Prince wouldn’t let us,” Hawkins said. “I heard that he didn’t like our version. Or maybe he just didn’t like us doing it.”

Despite this, Prince still invited Grohl to jam with him after they met and went on to cover Foo Fighters’ “Best of You” during his Halftime show. However, Hawkins had a theory about why.

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Taylor Hawkins thinks Prince got revenge during his Super Bowl Halftime performance

Three years later, a studio recording of Prince covering a blended “All Along the Watchtower” with the Foo Fighters’ “Best of You” debuted on Howard Stern’s SiriusXM radio show. Someone in Prince’s camp reportedly sent it to Stern, who loved it.

During his Halftime show, Prince packed the covers into a medley that also included “Let’s Go Crazy,” “Baby I’m a Star,” and Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Proud Mary.”

Many people wondered why Prince played the covers, especially “Best of You.”

Hawkins had a theory, though. He was skeptical that Prince covered the band’s song because he admired them. Hawkins wondered if Prince was getting revenge by covering “Best of You.”

They recorded “Darling Nikki,” so Prince could cover “Best of You.”

“Dude, I have no idea why he did it, but I’d love to find out,” Hawkins laughed. “I mean, the thought went through my head that maybe he was doing it as a sort of ‘F— you’ to us, or maybe he really likes the song. Either way, it was pretty amazing to have a guy like Prince covering one of our songs — and actually doing it better than we did.”

When Prince sang the song’s lyrics, “I got another confession my friend/ I ain’t no fool,” he smirked and gave the crowd a side-eye. Maybe he was talking to Foo Fighters.

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Dave Grohl calls Prince’s Super Bowl cover one of his ‘proudest musical achievements’

No one had a clue that Prince would perform “Best of You” during his Halftime performance.

“I was watching the game at our producer Nick Raskulinecz’s house, and since he’s doing the new Rush album, all the guys from the band were there,” Hawkins continued. “I mean, I’m outside smoking a cigarette with [Rush drummer] Neil Peart and someone sticks their head outside and goes, ‘Uh, dude, Prince is doing your song.'”

Although, Grohl seemed to be the only person who did know, according to True Stories. Someone told him. However, he wrote it off. He thought it wasn’t true until he watched the performance. Since then, Grohl has called Prince’s performance of “Best of You” his “proudest musical achievement” and his life’s “greatest compliment.”

Foo Fighters never heard a peep from Prince’s camp explaining the cover. Whatever made the mysterious Purple One cover the song, Foo Fighters were thrilled.

At the time, Foo Fighters were working on a new album. Hawkins suggested they cover Prince again to see his reaction. “We’re just getting started on a new album, just demoing and stuff right now,” Hawkins said. “But maybe we’ll get cracking on a version of ‘Purple Rain’ to see if maybe he’ll hate it even more.”

Grohl could have contacted Prince and told him to write his own songs. However, he was too proud of one of his idols covering his music to throw that back at him. Prince’s Super Bowl Halftime performance has gone down as one of the most famous, and it’s all thanks in part to Foo Fighters.

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