The year was 1994 when the music group Green Day exploded onto the scene with their witty lyrics and head-banging ballads. Although the group formed back in 1986, they didn’t find their way into mainstream culture until the public first heard the iconic song “Basket Case.” In 1994, Green Day released their album Dookie. Since their mainstream success of Dookie, Green Day has continued releasing brilliant rock records albums including Insomniac in 1995, Nimrod in 1997, Warning in 2000, American Idiot in 2005, and 21st Century Breakdown in 2009. Giving tribute to this remarkable and influential band, here are the Top 10 Green Day Songs
# 10 – Wake Me Up When September Ends
Many Green Day fans have argued that the song was actually about the events of September 11, 2001. However, this slow ballad released in 2005 was a tribute to the lead singer’s father who passed away in the month of September. The song became a hit single reaching all the way to number six on the Billboard Hot 100. The video starring Westworld star Rachel Evan Woods is simply breathtaking and must be watched in its entirety.
# 9 – Welcome to Paradise
“Welcome to Paradise” was originally released in 1992. The song first appeared on their indie album Kerplunk. The song would be later re-recorded and released on Green Day’s major label release Dookie.“Welcome to Paradise” only reached 56 on the Hot 100 Billboard Airplay charts. The verse that leads to the hook actually has a 196os British invasion sound to it that really distinguished Green Day apart from other punk rock bands of the time period.
# 8 – When I Come Around
“When I Come Around,” simply contains one heck of a late 1970s groves. The song just bleeds 1979 vintage Joe Jackson. The song was released on Green Day’s Dookie album. “When I Come Around,” reached Number 6 on the Billboard Hot 100. This one just had a groove and melody that was so addicting.
# 7 – Hitching A Ride
“Hitching a Ride,” has to be one of the most unique Green Day Songs ever released. With a marching band drum beat and a bass line reminiscent of The Stray Cats, the song defines the multiple musical influences at play in the heart of Green Day. The song was released on their 1997 Nimrod album. The song was issued as a single and had top 10 success on both the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks and Modern Rock Tracks charts.
# 6 – Macy’s Day Parade
The Green Day song “Macy’s Day Parade,” was released in 2000 on their album Warning. The song is perhaps the most unique sound Green Day song in their catalog. There is an “Every Breath You Take,’ type groove to it wrapped in 196o’s Burt Bacharach persona. One of the most enjoyable and artistic Green Day compositions and recordings.
# 5 – Good Riddance/ Time of Your Life
“Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)” was released on Green Day’s Nimrod album. The song has become one of the biggest selling singles in the band’s career. It has made over two million dollars in digital download sales alone. The song’s acoustic guitar riff and passionate vocals has made it one of Green Day’s most loved songs.
# 4 – Holiday
The American Idiot album released in 2004 stands as quite possibly Green Day’s crowning moment. Three of the Top 10 Green Day Songs on this list hail from the American Idiot album. The song Holiday appeared on the album as the third track after the epic “Jesus of Suburbia,” suite. The song’s hard edge and dark biting lyrics, punk band marching groove and seething guitar lines define Green Day at their most angry yet entertaining moment.
# 3 – 21 Guns
“21 Guns,” was released on Green Day’s eighth album 21st Century Breakdown in 2009. The song “21 Guns.” was featured in the Transformers Revenge of the Fallen movie as well as featured in the hit television show The Vampire Diaries. It is one of those Green Day songs that holds the listener hostage while building to an epic climax of surreal rock euphoria.
# 2 – Basket Case
Do you remember the first time you heard “Basket Case,” and said who is that? The release of Basket Case in 1994 introduced the world to the sounds of Green Day. It was one of those rare songs that appealed to punk rockers, classic rockers, and also a very young audience that at the time had no idea what punk or classic rock was. All the young middle school audience knew was that they loved the song. That audience has grown old with Green Day and has decisively become their most loyal followers. It all started for Green Day with the release of the Dookie album of Basket Case. It has always been said that all it takes is that one song, and for Green Day that song was, “Basket Case.”
#1 – Boulevard of Broken Dreams
Closing out the top 10 Green Day Songs in the Number One slot is their celebrated masterpiece “Boulevard of Broken Dreams.” The song was released on their Tour de force album American Idiot. The song won Record of the Year at the 2006 Grammys. But rock and roll fans don’t need to be sold on a song because it won a Grammy.
At the heart of the song lay the expressions of loneliness and despair. However, in the true spirit of rock and roll expression, is the need to fight back and find one’s way out. The longing for freedom, to be heard, and to escape defines the heart of some of Rock and Roll’s greatest masterpieces. Think Springsteen’s “Born To Run, Backstreets, and Thunder Road,” Steppenwolfs’ “Born To Be Wild,” Dylans’ All Along the Watchtower etc…. Green Days’ “Boulevard of Broken Dreams,” deserves to be categorized at the same level of those iconic songs. It is clearly one of rock and roll’s true masterpieces and easily the best work Green Day ever delivered in their illustrious career.
Top 10 Green Day Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2022
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