"Long Road to Ruin" is the second single from the Foo Fighters' sixth studio album Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace (2007). The music video was released on November 1 2007, with the single released on December 3 2007. The video features an appearance by actress Rashida Jones, and was directed by Jesse Peretz, who had previously collaborated with the band for "Big Me", "Learn to Fly", "The One", and "Low".
"Long Road to Ruin" began with a slow start, but still managed to top the Modern Rock Tracks chart for seven consecutive weeks and reach #2 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks. The song had been successful in the rock charts but achieved small success on the Billboard Hot 100, reaching #89. With "Long Road to Ruin" topping the Modern Rock Tracks earlier this year, it made Foo Fighters the first act to have a number 1 hit every year for four consecutive years.
Unlike the US, in Europe the song has had major success peaking in the top 40 of the pop charts and number 1 on the UK Rock Chart. The success was aided due to a Radio 1 performance and an extensive tour in the UK.
The music video of the song is a comedic spoof of a stereotypical 1970s-era hospital soap opera (General Hospital in particular), and is essentially a "show within a show". As seen in the opening credit sequence, the Foo Fighters portray the actors who in turn portray the show's characters. Grohl plays "Davy Grolton", who stars as the main doctor, "Hansom Davidoff". Drummer Taylor Hawkins plays "Ty Hawkstone" ("Les Groper", Davidoff's womanizing colleague). Guitarist Chris Shiflett plays "Christopher Mishomotohama" ("Little Jimmy", a severely injured child). Bassist Nate Mendel plays "Ned Bender" ("Saul Goode", the show's shady antagonist). Actress Rashida Jones guest stars as "Racinda Jules" ("Susan Belfontaine", the doctor's love interest).
In order to avoid confusion with the soap opera (also entitled "Long Road to Ruin") and the "real world", the scenes in the soap opera have brown tones to make it more vintage, while the real world retains normal color. There are various accidents and rifts on-stage (a fight between the cast, Grolton inadvertently hitting Jules in the face.). Backstage, Grolton's cast mates read a magazine about him becoming a rock star, and later place his debut album on a dartboard and throw darts at it. Upset, Grolton goes outside, only to find screaming teenage girls who want his autograph. After wiping away tears, he accommodates and interacts with them.
The video then cuts to a concert in a mall where he fronts "The Davy Grolton Band" and performs the song. The band is also portrayed by the other Foo Fighter members, in attire appropriate of the era. The scene is inter-cut with flashbacks about Jules. While singing, he sees her amidst the audience filled with the ravenous girls, but she leaves after realizing he has spotted her. He ends the performance to give chase with the fans behind him, but when he finally finds her, she has driven off. Grolton becomes hysterical before continuing his pursuit.
The video is interspersed throughout with scenes of Grolton driving in a car, wistfully singing the song. The final scene has him intentionally driving off a cliff in a typical 1970s television or movie death scene, with the vehicle bursting into flames during the fall. In what is likely an intentional continuity error, Grolton is clearly in an open-top Jaguar E-Type, while the crash footage depicts what appears to be a 1990's Porsche.
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