As we're currently in the year 2023 and Greta Van Fleet has been in the mainstream for the last six years and has grown tremendously over the last two, we're deep diving into previous EPs and albums as we gear up for the band's third LP, Starcatcher.
Flashing back to April 2017, Loudwire exclusively debuted the music video for GVF's breakout single that you either love or hate, "Highway Tune." The video features the band as a garage-rock aesthetic four piece and introduced us to lead vocalist Josh Kiszka, guitarist Jake Kiszka, bass and keyboardist Sam Kiszka, and drummer Danny Wagner. Four kids from Frankenmuth, Michigan who were oblivious that their lives would change forever. The band's first-ever professional EP Black Smoke Rising released April 21, 2017 via Republic Records and featured four tracks - "Highway Tune," "Flower Power", "Safari Song" and the title track.
Later that year, the band's double-sided EP "From The Fires" dropped on November 10 and featured Black Smoke's tracks along with four new ones - "Edge Of Darkness," "Talk On The Street" and two covers - Sam Cooke's "A Change Is Gonna Come" and Fairport Convention's "Meet On The Ledge". The EP reached number 36 on the Billboard 200, number 4 on Billboard's Top US Rock Albums, and number 1 on Billboard's US Top Hard Rock Albums. Although the GVF's label did not consider the EP an album, the Grammys did as the band was nominated for five Grammys during the 2019 season including Best New Artist, Best Rock Performance ("Highway Tune"), and their huge win - Best Rock Album for From The Fires.
But what is it that makes From The Fires so nostalgic for GVF fans and a Grammy winning album? As the EP kicks off with an ultimate fan-favorite, "Safari Song" immediately hooks you with Jake's mesmerizing guitar riffs as Danny's thundering drums invite you on a safari adventure. As the track is named to be one of Greta Van Fleet's oldest songs, the song is known to be screamed in arenas across the world and is noted as the second song to be performed in the band's feature film Greta Van Fleet: Live At The Red Rocks Amphitheater. Flowing into "Edge Of Darkness", a track fans would argue is one of the most underrated GVF songs, you're met with inspirational melodies in its chorus - "All my brothers we stand for the peace of the land, is there meaning?/I've got love in my heart/For an army apart, I am bleeding." When performed live, this was the first time Jake would play his red SG behind his head as people cooed.
The soft yet compelling ballad "Flower Power" became an anthem for Josh to serenade people with as they fell in love with the track. With soft acoustics, alluring vocals and peaceful lyrics, this song screams hippie vibes and is the perfect summer song. As it's deemed an underrated fan-favorite nowadays, the song was played consistently at most every Greta Van Fleet show between 2017-2019. As we travel into the band's first-ever number one hit "Highway Tune", we're met with screeching guitars and energetic vocals. As Jake claims the initial riff was written in 2010, the track was the fastest for a band to top the Mainstream Rock Charts with their debut single Tantric's 2001 single "Breakdown" and 3 Doors Down's 2000 single "Kryptonite." "Highway Tune" became RIAA Certified Platinum in April 2023 and remains their most stream single on Spotify - currently checking in at nearly 200 million streams.
"Talk On The Street" is one of the most underrated GVF songs out there although the band frequently performed the track at various shows throughout 2017-2018. With rowdy guitar riffs and funky bass lines that are sure enough to haunt your mind, the chorus exclaims lyrics that are all-too-memorable. Closing out From The Fires is beloved track that always sounds amazing live, "Black Smoke Rising." A combination of thundering drums, fuzzy guitar riffs and captivating lyrics, this final track perfectly ends an 8-track EP that would change rock fans forever.
GRETA VAN FLEET