In 1997, the rock band Foo Fighters released their second album 'The Colour and The Shape'. It was released on May 20, several months after the late January-early February date the band had publically anticipated. Such delays in release dates are very common in the music industry, and this particular case didn't appear to be anything unusual. No reason was given for the delay, but they almost never are, and no-one questioned it.
It is notable that while it is officially the band's second album, 'The Colour And The Shape' was in fact their first album as an actual band, as Dave Grohl had recorded their first album 'Foo Fighters' entirely by himself two years earlier.
The new album consisted of thirteen tracks. According to some sources close to the band, there had originally been intended to be fourteen, but the fourteenth track was removed shortly before its eventual release.
Such last-minute decisions are also very common in the industry and no reason was given, nor sought, for this. The album went on to be a success for the band with several million copies sold, was well received by the critics and included several successful chart singles.
Around the end of 2008, over 11 years after the release of the original album and 1 year after the tenth-anniversary 2007 re-release that included 6 B-side tracks, minor rumors began to spread surrounding the whereabouts of the fourteenth track that had been cut from the original listing in 1997.
Initially, many had assumed it was among the 6 B-sides included in the 2007 re-release, but word began to spread it was not. This had disappointed many of the band's hardcore fans who were eager to be in possession of any and all Foo Fighters' songs in existence.
It was around this time that curiosity began to grow and fans began asking the bandmembers, through letters and emails, at signings and press conference Q&A's etc., about the fourteenth track. Every time it was put to them, they would brush off or divert the question, claim they could not remember it or quickly change the subject.
As more and more fans began asking, the more visibly agitated the bandmembers would get. At one particular signing day in April 2008, it was reported that, after several fans had asked Dave Grohl directly about the track, Grohl suddenly burst out of his chair and walked out of the signing area, visibly distressed, followed shortly by the other bandmembers.
Shortly after, it was leaked by someone claiming to have worked with the band during the production of the album in 1997 that the deleted track, supposedly named 'Perennial', had been written and recorded solely by Dave Grohl, in the space of a few hours while the other bandmembers and recording crew were drinking in a nearby bar, in the final days before the album's initial release date. He intended to slip it in as the fourteenth track.
Upon playing the song back to the other bandmembers and recording crew, Pat Smear, the band's guitarist and backing vocalist, allegedly grew angry with Grohl for reasons no-one in the meeting could decipher. Seconds later he stormed out of the room.
While the source can not confirm this as the reason for Smear's sudden and unexpected departure in 1997 from the Foo Fighters' line-up (until his return a decade later), he strongly suspects this to be the main factor. Grohl did not seem dismayed or affected by Smear's outburst, and insisted the song be added to the album as the fourteenth track, to which no-one objected.
The next day, while mixing and adding finishing touches, Smear returned and demanded to speak alone with Grohl. Though in privacy, everyone in the recording studio could hear the two having a 'very heated debate' about the fourteenth track. Smear was heard multiple times roaring something about how Grohl had 'blatantly stolen one of Kurt's most private songs', and how Grohl 'knew how much that song meant to him ['Kurt'?]' to which Grohl repeatedly relayed his indifference. After a few minutes, Smear barged out of the studio and didn't come back. Grohl, visibly agitated, remained at the studio for a bit before leaving to cool off.
The next day, Grohl, visibly hungover, possibly still drunk, entered the studio and attempted to start mixing through the tracks. He was angry, disheveled-looking and was acting confused. Eventually the other bandmembers and studio executives ordered him to leave the studio until he was cleaned up and sober.
He disappeared for a few days after this, to the point where the others had to go look for him, eventually finding him in a dirty motel room, drunk and babbling something about how he was 'keeping the fourteenth track' and how 'Kurt didn't scare him'.
After some harsh words from his bandmembers, he told them he would get some sleep and be back at the studio the next morning with a clear head. He didn't return as he said, this time disappearing for nearly two weeks without a trace. The others continued with their work in the studio, though by now Pat Smear had quit the band and had told them he didn't care what they did to the album.
Two weeks later, the bandmembers reported they had gotten strange phone calls from Grohl, all on the same night. They each reported that he sounded terrified and incoherent, stopping in mid-sentence as if to yell at someone or something next to him.
Not one of them could make out what he was trying to say and eventually had to hang up on him. The next day, Grohl arrived unexpectedly at the studio. He looked pale and nervous. He was trembling and would not make direct eye-contact with anyone, and he had strange bruises around his neck and forehead.
He briefly apologized for his erratic behaviour, before telling the recording executives, somewhat reluctantly, that he wanted to delete the fourteenth track from the album and leave it at thirteen tracks. When asked if he wanted to keep the fourteenth track for use as a B-side for one of the singles or as part of a future unreleased collection, he sharply replied he wanted the track destroyed permanently, and that it was a huge mistake recording it in the first place.
Unsure as to Grohl's urgent reasons for his decision, the track was deleted, with Grohl taking it outside and burning it, all the while standing over and watching with a look of intensity. Afterwards, Grohl seemed to lighten up, eventually telling jokes and getting back to the business of finishing the album, for which the release date had to be put back.
Grohl would not speak about where he was or what happened to him. The band, suspecting Pat Smear had met with and possibly assaulted Grohl, demanded to know what had happened between them over the two weeks Grohl was missing. Smear, as it turns out, had been in Europe the whole time.
After telling Smear of Grohl's absence and behaviour since he quit the band, Smear eventually told them that the song Grohl had recorded and wanted to use as the fourteenth track, had originally been written by Kurt Cobain (with whom Grohl and Smear were former bandmates) who had intended to use it as the main single for Nirvana's fourth and, as it would turn out, final album 'In Utero'. Smear said it was one of the greatest songs Cobain had ever written, but Kurt himself wasn't sure if the song would fit the album.
Grohl had advised against using the song, calling it 'crap', that it would definitely NOT fit the album. Smear suspected that Grohl, who had been considering leaving Nirvana to set up his own band, was looking for a way to deceive Kurt into thinking it was a terrible song, so he could then leave and record and release the song with his own band. In the end, Kurt decided not to record the song, with the band instead pushing 'Heart Shaped Box' as the new single (to huge success).
After Cobain's death and the demise of Nirvana, Grohl, still looking into forming his own band in which he would be the lead member, convinced Smear that he had not been out to sabotage Cobain and the 'In Utero' album, which had been a massive success without the deleted song. Smear agreed to join Grohl's newly formed band Foo Fighters after the release of their pre-line up eponymous album. It is not known if the two discussed Cobain's deleted song before the fall-out in 1997.
To this day, Grohl will not speak about what happened to him over those 2 weeks that convinced him to change his mind regarding the fourteenth song. Where he was, who, if anyone, he was with, how he got the physical injuries across his neck, are all a complete mystery to even his closest friends and family members. Neither he, nor any members of Foo Fighters will discuss the story of the fourteenth song.
Although the source confirms he saw Grohl destroy the track himself, making it impossible for it to still exist and have been included in the album, it has allegedly appeared as the fourteenth track of some CDs bought on the day of its release in 1997, with some people not involved in the song's production, or privy to any information therein, apparently able to rehearse it lyric by lyric themselves, though he has only heard this through word-of-mouth and has not personally met anyone who can rehearse the song.