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Green Day Biography

Home > Music > G > Green Day > Biography

Birth Place: East Bay, California, United States
Years Active: 1987–present
Genres: Punk Rock, Pop Punk, Alternative Rock

Green Day is an American punk rock band formed in 1987. The band consists of lead vocalist and guitarist Billie Joe Armstrong, bassist and backing vocalist Mike Dirnt, and drummer Tré Cool. Cool replaced former drummer John Kiffmeyer in 1990.

Green Day released their first two studio albums, 1990’s “39/Smooth” and 1992’s “Kerplunk” through the independent Berkeley label Lookout! Records before signing to major label Reprise for 1994's “Dookie.”

“Dookie” was a breakout success, selling over 10 million copies in the United States and 16 million copies worldwide and placed Green Day at the forefront of the 1990s punk rock revival. The album peaked at #2 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart and was certified diamond. Dookie produced five hit singles for the band, "Longview", "Welcome to Paradise," "Basket Case," "When I Come Around" and the radio-only single "She." Later in 1995, the album received a Grammy Award for Best Alternative Music Album, with "Longview" and "Basket Case" each being nominated for a Grammy.

Their next album, “Insomniac” was released in 1995 and again peaked at #2 on the Billboard 200. It was later certified double-platinum. The first single released from “Insomniac” was "Geek Stink Breath." The song was popular on both Top 40 and modern rock radio stations and peaked at #27 on the Billboard Hot 100 Airplay chart. Other singles included, “Stuck with Me” “Brain Stew/Jaded" and "Walking Contradiction."

In 1997 the band released “Nimrod” which peaked at #10 on the Billboard 200 and later was certified double platinum. It yielded the acoustic hit "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)" which peaked at #2 on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart.

Building upon its predecessor, “Nimrod,” 2000’s “Warning” eschewed the band's trademark punk rock sound and incorporated acoustic and pop rock elements. Although it reached #4 on the Billboard 200, “Warning” represented the lowest commercial slump in the band's career, being their first album since signing to a major label not to reach multi-platinum status. The album has nonetheless been certified gold in the U.S. The single, "Minority" reached #1 on the Modern Rock Tracks chart.

Green Day's 2004 rock opera “American Idiot” reignited the band's popularity with a younger generation. It follows the life of "Jesus of Suburbia," a sort of anti-hero created by Armstrong. The album achieved popularity worldwide, charting in 26 countries and reaching #1 in 19 of them, including the U.S. and the U.K. The album won numerous awards including a Grammy for Best Rock Album and was nominated in four other categories including Album of the Year. It was later certified 6x platinum. Five singles were released in support of the album, including the title track, "Wake Me Up When September Ends," "Jesus of Suburbia," "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" and "Holiday," all of which charted on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart. "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" topped both the Mainstream and the Modern Rock charts.

“21st Century Breakdown” followed in 2009 achieving Green Day's best chart performance to date by reaching number one on the album charts of various countries, including the United States Billboard 200, the European Top 100 Albums, and the United Kingdom Albums Chart. It was awarded the Grammy Award for Best Rock Album at the 52nd Grammy Awards. The singles, "Know Your Enemy" and "21 Guns" exemplify the themes of alienation and politically-motivated anger present in the record.

Green Day has sold over 65 million records worldwide and over 24 million in the U.S. alone. They have won four Grammy Awards. In 2010, a stage adaptation of “American Idiot” debuted on Broadway. The musical has been nominated for several Tony Awards, including Best Musical and Best Scenic Design.