American Idiot (song)
|Single by Green Day|
|from the album American Idiot|
|Released||August 31, 2004|
|Format||CD single, DVD|
|Genre||Pop punk, punk rock|
|Writer(s)||Billie Joe Armstrong / Green Day|
|Producer(s)||Rob Cavallo, Green Day|
|Green Day singles chronology|
"American Idiot" is a song by the American punk rock band Green Day. It is the title track from the album American Idiot and released as the first single from it. The song received mostly positive reviews by critics and was nominated for four Grammy Awards; Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal, Best Rock Song, Best Short Form Music Video and Record of the Year.
The song heavily criticizes the state of the United States circa 2004, with lines referencing the danger of the "new, biased media." Billie Joe Armstrong was inspired to write the song after hearing the Lynyrd Skynyrd song "That's How I Like It" on his car radio. Said Armstrong, "It was like, 'I'm proud to be a redneck' and I was like, 'oh my God, why would you be proud of something like that?' This is exactly what I'm against."
In a 2004 interview with Q Magazine, the three members of Green Day discussed the idea of flag desecration in relation to their song, with Armstrong and Dirnt being the most supportive, noting that, "It means nothing to me. Let's burn the fucking thing."
Released in 2004, the single peaked at number 61 on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming Green Day's first Billboard Hot 100 chart entry. All of Green Day's other hits had only managed to chart on the Hot 100 Airplay chart or the Bubbling Under Hot 100 chart. However, the appearance of "American Idiot" on the US singles charts occurred just prior to Billboard's inclusion of Internet download purchases into their Billboard Hot 100 chart data, which would have made a significant difference in the song's peak had it benefited from the new chart tabulation system. "American Idiot" became Green Day's first Top 5 single in the United Kingdom, peaking at number 3 and at number 7 in Australia. It debuted at number 1 in Canada, South Africa and New Zealand, holding onto the zenith position for five weeks and staying at the top in South Africa and New Zealand for 7 and 10 weeks respectively. In Australia, the song was ranked number 22 on Triple J's Hottest 100 of 2004. Green Day performed the song at the 2005 Grammy Awards. "American Idiot" has sold 1,371,000 copies as of July 2010.
The music video for "American Idiot" features the band playing in a warehouse against a green American flag (a reference to the name of the band). In the middle of the video, the band is seen playing at different speeds (fast or slow-motion). During the bridge, the stripes of the flag melt onto the floor. The band is then sprayed by a green liquid from amplifiers next to the flag. At the end, the band drops their instruments and leaves. The song's video was directed by Samuel Bayer.
The song was featured in the trailer for the 2005 film Wedding Crashers. An edited version of the song is featured on the soundtrack of the American football video game Madden NFL 2005. It was featured as the closing theme song for the first season of The Andy Milonakis Show. "Weird Al" Yankovic parodied the song on his album Straight Outta Lynwood as "Canadian Idiot". Richard Cheese and Lounge Against the Machine covered this song into a lounge style on their 2005 album Aperitif for Destruction. The guitar riffs of the song were sampled for the theme for Johnny Test and multiple episodes of the show. A live rendition of the song recorded in Montreal, Canada on the 21st Century Breakdown World Tour featuring an extended guitar solo was featured on the CD portion of the band's 2011 live album Awesome as Fuck. The song was performed by the American metal band Metallica during the Vodoo Festival in 2012 when they filled in for Green Day who cancelled the show due to Armstrong's time in rehab. Avril Lavigne and All Time Low have covered the song as well. Australian pop rock band 5 Seconds of Summer covered this song for Kerrang Magazine's tribute to American Idiot album and put it on their Amnesia EP.
A version of the song is played on an organ in The Simpsons Movie due to the band's fictional death when they fall into Lake Springfield, after playing a gig there on a barge. The camera zooms into the sheet music were it says "American Idiot: Funeral Version."
"American Idiot" was ranked the number 13 Single of the Decade by Rolling Stone magazine in 2009. VH1 also placed the song at number 13 on its Top 100 Songs of the 2000s in 2011. Rolling Stone ranked it number 432 of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time in 2010, the only Green Day song on the list. The song is certified Silver in the United Kingdom for sales of 200,000.
All lyrics written by Billie Joe Armstrong, except where noted, all music composed by Green Day.
|Promo CD single|
|1.||"American Idiot" (Radio edit)||2:54|
|2.||"American Idiot" (Album version)||2:54|
|Europe single (CD 1)|
|2.||"Too Much Too Soon"||3:33|
|Europe single (CD 2)|
|3.||"Governator" (lyrics written by Mike Dirnt)||2:31|
7" picture disc
|1.||"Too Much Too Soon"||3:33|
|1.||"American Idiot" (music video)||3:02|
|2.||"American Idiot" (live at the Grammy Awards in 2005)||3:17|
- Billie Joe Armstrong - lead vocals, guitar
- Mike Dirnt - bass, backing vocals, lead vocals on "Governator"
- Tré Cool - drums, backing vocals
- Rob Cavallo; Green Day - producers
- Chris Dugan; Doug McKean - engineer
- Brian "Dr. Vibb" Vibberts; Greg "Stimie" Burns; Jimmy Hoyson; Joe Brown; Dmitar "Dim-e" Krnjaic; Reto Peter - assistant engineers
- Chris Lord-Alge - mixing
- Ted Jensen - mastering
- Chris Bilheimer - cover art
|Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)||18|
|Canada (Canadian Hot 100)||1|
|Germany (Media Control)||28|
|Netherlands (Single Top 100)||37|
|New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)||1|
|Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)||75|
|UK Singles (Official Charts Company)||3|
|U.S. Billboard Hot 100||61|
|U.S. Billboard Modern Rock Tracks||1|
|U.S. Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks||5|
|New Zealand (RMNZ)||Gold||7,500*|
|United Kingdom (BPI)||Silver||200,000^|
|United States (RIAA)||Gold||1,371,000|
*sales figures based on certification alone
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Green Day fan: American Idiot (the song) has sold 1,371,000. Jesus Of Suburbia: 204K Holiday 1,452,000
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- "British single certifications – Green Day – American Idiot". British Phonographic Industry. Enter American Idiot in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Select single in the field By Format. Select Silver in the field By Award. Click Search
- "American single certifications – Green Day – American Idiot". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH
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