25 Best Green Day Songs Of All TIme

Green Day were amongst the 90s bands that brought punk music out of the periphery and in front of mainstream audiences, popularizing the genre in the US. Over time, they’ve moved on from their hardcore punk sound to produce politically charged songs and shifted their sound with more mainstream elements.

Green Day has sold over 75 million records worldwide, becoming one of the best-selling bands of all time. In this article, we’ll go over 25 of the best songs they have ever released.

1. Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life)

Green Day - Good Riddance (Time of Your Life) [Official Music Video] [4K UPGRADE]

Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life) is an odd choice to place at the top of a list of Green Day songs, mainly because it was a marked departure from their signature sound when it was released in 1997.

It’s become one of their most popular songs and a staple at all their live performances, a major fan favorite with the longest-staying power of any of their songs. In the US, it became a major chart hit by reaching number 11 on the Billboard Radio Songs chart, number two on the Alternative Airplay chart, and number seven on the Mainstream Rock chart.

Eventually, Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life) would be certified five times platinum by the RIAA, making it Green Day’s most commercially successful single of all time. 

2. Basket Case

Green Day - Basket Case [Official Music Video] (4K Upgrade)

Green Day put itself on the map and earned a place among the bands that brought alternative rock into the mainstream with their third studio album Dookie in 1994. 

Basket Case was undeniably one of the best songs on the album, finding massive commercial and critical success. It spent five weeks at number one on the Billboard Alternative Airplay chart and ranked 150 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

It also earned a Grammy nomination for Best Rock Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal.

3. When I Come Around

Green Day - When I Come Around [Official Music Video] (4K Upgrade)

Basket Case wasn’t the only song that made Dookie one of the best alternative albums ever. When I Come Around was the fourth single from that album, played as early as 1992 in concert.

In terms of radio popularity, it’s Green Day’s most successful song, peaking at number six on the Billboard Radio Songs chart, and was their best charting single until Boulevard Of Broken Dreams reached number three in 2004. Today, it’s the band’s second best-selling single of the 90s, coming in only behind Basket Case.

4. Wake Me Up When September Ends

Green Day - Wake Me Up When September Ends [Official Music Video]

Wake Me Up When September Ends is one of Green Day’s biggest hits and one of the first songs that come to mind when you think of the band. It was released in 2004 as part of their seventh studio album American Idiot and served as the fourth single.

The song is also their most personal song, written by Billie Joe Armstrong about his father’s death when he was a child. In the end, it peaked at number six on the Billboard Hot 100 and was a top 10 single in Europe.

Recommended: Playlist of songs about death

5. Boulevard of Broken Dreams

Green Day - Boulevard Of Broken Dreams [Official Music Video]

Boulevard of Broken Dreams might be Green Day’s most recognizable and popular song today, despite coming out in 2004 as part of their American Idiot album. The power ballad served as the second single to be released from the album, speaking from the narrator’s perspective of their Jesus Of Suburbia and full of sobering lyrics.

In 2009, it ranked number one on Rolling Stone’s Reader’s Choice list of the singles of the decade, ranking on their critical list at number 65. On the charts, it peaked at number two on the Hot 100 and is the only song to win the Grammy Award for Record of the Year and the MTV Video Music Award for Video of the Year. 

6. Jesus of Suburbia

Green Day - Jesus Of Suburbia [Official Music Video]

Speaking of Jesus Of Suburbia, here we are. Serving as the fifth and final single from American IdiotJesus of Suburbia is Green Day’s second longest song, coming in just behind Homecoming and totaling over nine minutes.

The radio edit was cut to under six and a half minutes, but that didn’t stop rock stations from playing the full version. While it was a huge commercial success, it was the only single from American Idiot that didn’t make the band’s greatest hits album.

While it didn’t hit the Hot 100, it rose to number two on the UK Rock and Metal chart and 27 on the US Alternative Airplay chart. 

7. St. Jimmy

Are We the Waiting / St. Jimmy

The character of St. Jimmy was one of the main narrators of American Idiot, but the song is often combined with Are We The Waiting as the two bridge together flawlessly.

St. Jimmy himself is the alter-ego of Jesus in suburbia (the character, not the song), serving as the more grounded counterpart of the other.

The song mainly showed how Jesus went off the rails thanks to his anger, manifesting a new personality, and was the pivotal turning point of the entire album from slower-tempo to harder rock. 

8. She

Green Day - She (Official Audio)

She was the final single released from Dookie and is based on a poem of the same title shown to Billie Joe Armstrong by a former girlfriend. Ironically, it’s one of the few singles Green Day has released that never got a music video and earned a reputation for Billie Joe Armstrong once playing the song nude onstage.

Fans and publications frequently rank it as one of Green Day’s best songs, and it was a top five song on the US Alternative Airplay charts at one point. 

9. Burnout

Burnout is to punk what Green Day was to alternative music. The song itself dives into the apathetic aesthetic, exploring the idea of indifferences to the bad parts of life in one of the best “shit happens” songs ever. This one was ridiculously popular among Green Day fans, the old 2000s emo crowd, and one of the best representations of the punk scene from Green Day’s Dookie album. 

10. Longview

Green Day - Longview [Official Music Video] (4K Upgrade)

Longview was Green Day’s debut single, released on the same day as Dookie in 1994, and the first song from them that helped put them in front of mainstream music audiences. The music video, in particular, is heavily credited for making them successful because of how often it was played on MTV. According to Rolling Stone Magazine, Longview earned Green Day four Grammy Nominations in 1995 and was the third-best single of 1994. 

11. American Idiot

Green Day - American Idiot [Official Music Video]

What’s more alt-rock punk than a protest song? Green Day released American Idiot, the title track of their 2004 album, and found one of their signature songs. In 2004 it was nominated for four Grammy Awards, including Record of the Year and Best Rock Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal.

One of the songs of the decade, it rose to number 61 on the Hot 100 and topped the US Alternative Airplay chart. 

12. Hitchin’ A Ride

Green Day - Hitchin' A Ride (Video)

Hitchin’ A Ride was the first single released from Green Day’s Nimrod album in 1997 and found instant success. It rose to number nine on the Mainstream Rock chart, a feat for alternative bands at the time, and reached number five on the Modern Rock Tracks chart. Hitchin’ A Ride was so good it found a place on two of the band’s greatest hits albums as well. 

13. Welcome To Paradise

Green Day - Welcome To Paradise [Live]

Welcome To Paradise was one of Green Day’s earlier songs, originally released as part of their second studio album Kerplunk in 1991; it found its way to Dookie and was re-recorded for it. It then served as the second single released from Dookie and was based on the band’s experience of moving out of their parent’s homes and into a place of their own.

Oddly, the song was featured in the film Surf’s Up but wasn’t included in the movie’s soundtrack. In the end, it peaked at number seven on the US Alternative Airplay chart. 

14. Walking Contradiction

Green Day - Walking Contradiction [ Official Music Video]

Walking Contradiction was a promotional single for Green Day’s fourth studio album Insomniac and closed out the album in style. A fairly successful song, it peaked at number 25 and 21 on the Mainstream Rock and Alternative Airplay charts, respectively.

The music video for the song was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Music Video, Short Form in 1997. 

15. Know Your Enemy

Green Day - Know Your Enemy [Official Music Video]

Know Your Enemy was a hard-stomping, head-banging song that really gets listeners’ hearts pumping and is almost impossible not to sing along to. Another banger protest song from green Day, it served as the lead single of the band’s eighth album, 21st Century Breakdown, and was the first new song from the band after a four-year hiatus

Know Your Enemy also owns the distinction of being the first song to top the Rock Songs, Mainstream Rock Tracks, and Alternative Songs charts simultaneously. 

16. Bang Bang

Green Day - Bang Bang (Official Music Video)

Bang Bang was the song that mixed the old punk Green Day with the politically-motivated Green Day of the 2000s. It served as the lead single for their 2016 album Revolution Radio and was inspired by strings of mass shootings in the US.

The song is actually from a shooter’s perspective and, despite that potential problem, received rave reviews from critics. Upon release, it reached the number-one spot on the US Mainstream Rock, Rock Airplay, Canada Rock, UK Rock, and US Alternative songs charts. 

17. Back In The USA

Green Day - Back In The USA (Official Music Video)

Back In The USA was the only original release featured on the Green Day greatest hits album God’s Favorite Band and continues their theme of politically charged messages. It takes on the blind patriotism in US society, pointing out the hypocritical views of many in the country and the pointlessness of the wars we’ve engaged in recent history.

Overall, it’s told from the perspective of a soldier coming home from war and not finding the reception he was expecting—a charged song for sure, but also a sobering one and one that needed to be made. 

18. Nuclear Family

Green Day: "Nuclear Family" - [Official Video]

Nuclear Family was less about raging against society and more about sitting back to watch it burn. Punk in a content way if you will. It was the first single released to promote Uno! In 2012 and showcased a transition away from its original sound. 

19. Redundant

Green Day - Redundant [Official Music Video]

Redundant was the fifth single to be released from Nimrod and didn’t chart as well in the US as its predecessors, but it would end up being their highest-charting single in Australia. It’s all about an important reminder of how phrases like “I love you” can lose meaning. 

20. Warning

Green Day - Warning (Video)

Warning was a transition for Green Day. Despite being committed to their punk roots, it showed their ability and willingness to include pop melodies, acoustic guitars, and effects they hadn’t used before. 

21. 21 Guns

Green Day - 21 Guns [Official Music Video]

21 Guns was the second single from 21st Century Breakdown in 2009 and became Green Day’s highest charting single since 2004’s Wake Me Up When September Ends. It rose to number 22 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was their last top 40 hit in the US to date. 

22. The Grouch

Green Day - The Grouch (Demo)

The Grouch is one of the most underrated songs from Green Day’s Nimrod album and is chock full of anxiety and self-doubt. It takes on the nervousness that comes with growing up and living in the adult world, something that resonated hard with fans of the band that started listening when they were just getting started.

But, despite the relatable message, it isn’t too deep a song. Overall, it’s Green Day’s loudest and rockiest, producing a banger to let you jump around and scream your head off. 

23. Still Breathing

Green Day - Still Breathing [Official Lyrics Video]

Still Breathing was the empowering second single from Revolution Radio in 2016 and is one of the band’s darker songs emotionally. Upon release, it topped several charts, including the US Alternative Songs and Mainstream Rock charts. 

24. Troublemaker

Green Day - Troublemaker [Official Video]

Troublemaker is a simple but great song. It’s all about the narrator’s lust growing every time they see a certain person in public and the things he wants to do to them. 

25. The Forgotten

Green Day: "The Forgotten" - [Official Music Video]

The Forgotten featured on both Green Day’s album Tre! and the soundtrack for The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 soundtrack. The music video for the song features images and clips from the movie, which helped promote both the song and the film. It didn’t chart in the US, but it reached number 11 in Japan and 39 on the UK Rock chart. 

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