The band became the first recipients of the MTV award at the U.S. ceremony.

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Sunday night was their moment to shine, but before Foo Fighters accepted their MTV Video Music Awards Global Icon Award, the band took the opportunity to pay tribute to late Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts, who died in August at the age of 80.

As the icons performed a medley of their hits — including "Everlong" and "Learn to Fly" — before receiving the honor, drummer Taylor Hawkins' kit blazed a message to the legendary Stones sticks man that read "Charlie, RIP."

The Foo Fighters have been churning out modern-rock anthems for more than 25 years, so when they accepted their award, they had a long list of thank-yous.

Foo Fighters
As the Foo Fighters performed a medley of their hits at the 2021 MTV VMAs, Taylor Hawkins' drum kit blazed a tribute to legendary Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts that read 'Charlie, RIP.'
| Credit: Bennett Raglin/Getty

"We'd like to thank everyone past and present at MTV," Foo frontman Dave Grohl said, before launching into a string of names that included some of the network's most memorable MTV News alums and VJs.

"Kurt Loder, Tabitha Soren, J.J. Jackson, Matt Pinfield, Steve Isaacs,  Amy Finnerty," Grohl said. "So thank you all very much for this award. We'll see you in 26 years."

Grohl and company are the first-ever stateside recipients of the award (it's been given out at global MTV VMA ceremonies), which recognizes not only their success but how they continue to "inspire and evolve," MTV said in a release.

FOO FIGHTERS
Foo Fighters
| Credit: Magdalena Wosinska

To mark the occasion, the Foos also performed on the VMAs stage for the first time in more than a decade (their last performance was in 2007). 

The band has been a part of VMAs history since they released their eponymously titled album in 1995. Inspired by the memorable Mentos ads, the video for their song "Big Me" saw the band dressed in overalls and rubber gloves while helping people out of sticky situations. It won them their first Moonman, for Best Group Video, in 1996. They were also nominated for three other trophies that night: Video of the Year, Best Alternative Video, and Best Direction.

The following year, the group was nominated twice (for Best Rock and Alternative video) for "Monkey Wrench," a stylized video for the heavy-rocking single off their sophomore LP, The Colour and the Shape.  

Foo Fighters have continued to rack up VMA nods over the years: Their single "Everlong" was nominated in 1998, "Learn to Fly" in 2000, "Best of You" in 2005, and "The Pretender" in 2008. "Walk" won the Moonman for Best Rock Video in 2011. In addition to the Global Icon Award, the Foos' new track "Shame Shame" snagged three VMA nominations on Sunday, for Best Rock, Best Cinematography, and Best Choreography.

Previous Global Icon Awards at international MTV awards ceremonies include U2, Queen, Whitney Houston, Green Day, and Eminem.

Next month, the Foo Fighters are being inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame alongside an illustrious group of artists including Tina Turner, Carole King, Gil Scott-Heron, LL Cool J, The Go-Go's, and Jay-Z.

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