Basket Case (song)

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"Basket Case"
Green Day - Basket Case (UK cover).jpg
One of artworks used for commercial overseas releases
Single by Green Day
from the album Dookie
ReleasedAugust 1994[1]
Green Day singles chronology
"Welcome to Paradise"
"Basket Case"
"When I Come Around"
Audio sample

"Basket Case" is a song by the American rock band Green Day. It is the seventh track and third single from their third studio album, Dookie (1994). The song spent five weeks at the top of Billboard's Alternative Songs chart.

Origin and recording[edit]

Green Day vocalist/guitarist Billie Joe Armstrong said "Basket Case" is about his struggle with anxiety; before he was diagnosed with a panic disorder years afterward, he thought he was going crazy. Armstrong commented that at the time, "The only way I could know what the hell was going on was to write a song about it."[4]

"Basket Case" was one of the songs producer Rob Cavallo heard when he received Green Day's demo tape. He ended up signing the band to Reprise Records in mid-1993.[5] Green Day and Cavallo recorded the version of "Basket Case" released on the trio's major label debut Dookie between September and October 1993 at Fantasy Studios in Berkeley, California.[6]


"Basket Case", like the other songs on Dookie, was performed on instruments tuned down to the pitch of E-flat.[6] The introductory verse features only Armstrong and his guitar. During the middle of the first chorus the rest of the band joins in, with Tré Cool adding fast tom fills and explosive transitions and Mike Dirnt adding a bass line that is reminiscent of the vocal melody. In the second verse, "Basket Case" references soliciting a male prostitute; Armstrong noted that "I wanted to challenge myself and whoever the listener might be. It's also looking at the world and saying, 'It's not as black and white as you think. This isn't your grandfather's prostitute – or maybe it was.'"[7] The song's chord progression closely mirrors that of Pachelbel's Canon.[8]

Release and reception[edit]

"Basket Case" was the second single released from Dookie, following "Longview". "Basket Case" peaked at number one on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart, a position it maintained for five weeks.[6] In 1995, "Basket Case" garnered a Grammy Award nomination in the Best Rock Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group category.[9]

In 2006, on Mike Davies and Zane Lowe's Lock Up Special on BBC Radio 1, the listeners voted "Basket Case" the Greatest Punk Song of All Time.[10] In 2009, it was named the 33rd best hard rock song of all time by VH1.[11]

Music video[edit]

The "Basket Case" video was directed by Mark Kohr.[12] The video was filmed in an actual mental institution called Agnews Developmental Center in Santa Clara County, California, at the request of the band members. The mental institution had been abandoned, but most of the structure remained in a broken-down state. The band members found old patient files, deep scratches in the walls and dental molds scattered around.[13] The video frequently references the films One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and Brazil. The music video was originally filmed in black and white and the color was added in later by Mike Dirnt (Tré Cool confessed it on a Green Day video special at Dailymotion presented by himself), contributing to the surreal effect of the video.

The video was nominated for nine MTV Video Music Awards in 1995: Video of the Year, Best Group Video, Best Metal/Hard Rock Video, Best Alternative Video, Breakthrough Video, Best Direction, Best Editing, Best Cinematography, and Viewer's Choice Award. The video did not win in any of the categories it was nominated for.[14]

Track listing[edit]

Initial pressing[edit]

  1. "Basket Case" – 3:01
  2. "On the Wagon"  – 2:48
  3. "Tired of Waiting for You" – 2:30
  4. "409 in Your Coffeemaker" [Unmixed]  – 2:49

Total length: 11:08

Alternate pressing/Limited edition pressing[edit]

  1. "Basket Case" – 3:01
  2. "Longview" (live) – 3:30
  3. "Burnout" (live) – 2:03
  4. "2,000 Light Years Away" (live) – 2:49
  • (Live tracks recorded March 11, 1994 at Jannus Landing, St. Petersburg, Florida)

These tracks are also available on the live EP Live Tracks

Japanese version[edit]

  1. "Basket Case" – 3:01
  2. "She" – 2:14
  3. "Emenius Sleepus" – 1:43

7" vinyl singles box set[edit]

  1. "Basket Case" – 3:01
  2. "When I Come Around" – 2:58
  3. "Having a Blast" – 2:44
  4. "When I Come Around" (Live from Stockholm, Sweden) — 2:49

Credits and personnel[edit]

Charts and certifications[edit]

Cover versions[edit]

Year Artist Album Notes
1995 Mino Reitano Translation in Italian as Mino Dove Vai? ("Mino Where Are You Going?")
1996 The Moog Cookbook The Moog Cookbook (album)
2003 Avril Lavigne My World Live
2006 The Business Under the Influence
2006 Puffy AmiYumi Splurge
2007 Fall Out Boy Live
2007 The Offspring Live
2008 Elvis Costello MTV:With Billie Joe Armstrong
2010 John Craigie Leave the Fire Behind
2011 Gnarwolves Fun Club
2012 New Found Glory Live
2012 Alanis Morissette Live at Jimmy Kimmel Live!
2013 Bruno Mars Saturday Night Live Parody
2014 The Swellers Kerrang! Does Green Day's American Idiot
2015 All Time Low Live
2016 Bowling for Soup Live
2016 Josh Curnow ITV’s Britain’s Got Talent
2017 Bastille
2017 Post Malone Live
2017 Simple Plan Live
2018 Rivers Cuomo Live


  • Spitz, Mark (2006). Nobody Likes You: Inside the Turbulent Life, Times, and Music of Green Day. Hyperion. ISBN 1-4013-0274-2


  1. ^ Kjersti Egerdahl (2010). Green Day: A Musical Biography. ABC-CLIO. p. 58. ISBN 0313365970.
  2. ^ "Green Day". PopMatters. Archived from the original on July 10, 2015. Retrieved July 9, 2015.
  3. ^ Andrew Winistorfer Inactive Contributor (July 30, 2009). "The Thermals: 'Basket Case' (Green Day Cover) and 'Now We Can See' | Prefix". Archived from the original on July 10, 2015. Retrieved May 17, 2013.
  4. ^ "Green Day: Dookie". Ultimate Albums [documentary series]. VH1, 2002.
  5. ^ Spitz, p. 83-86
  6. ^ a b c Buskin, Richard. "Green Day: Basket Case" Archived November 1, 2013, at the Wayback Machine. Sound On Sound. February 2011. Retrieved on February 3, 2013.
  7. ^ Fricke, David (February 3, 2014). "'Dookie' at 20: Billie Joe Armstrong on Green Day's Punk Blockbuster". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on February 9, 2015. Retrieved January 29, 2015.
  8. ^ Chamings, Andrew (April 30, 2013). "Canon in the 1990s: From Spiritualized to Coolio, Regurgitating Pachelbel's Canon". Drowned In Sound. Archived from the original on August 11, 2017. Retrieved July 27, 2017.
  9. ^ Strauss, Neil. "'94 Grammy Nominations: Not Just the Familiar". The New York Times. January 6, 1995.
  10. ^ "BBC Radio 1- The Lock Up Top 30 Punk Songs". Archived from the original on January 22, 2009. Retrieved February 8, 2009.
  11. ^ " music". Archived from the original on February 12, 2009. Retrieved February 7, 2009.
  12. ^ Marks, Craig. "An American Family". Spin. December 1995.
  13. ^ "Billie Joe Armstrong Interview on MTV". MTV. Archived from the original on July 2, 2016. Retrieved May 14, 2009.
  14. ^ MTV Video Music Awards | 1995 Archived May 10, 2016, at the Wayback Machine. MTV. Retrieved on February 4, 2013.
  15. ^ Ryan, Gavin (2011). Australia's Music Charts 1988-2010. Mt. Martha, VIC, Australia: Moonlight Publishing.
  16. ^ " – Green Day – Basket Case" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  17. ^ " – Green Day – Basket Case" (in French). Ultratop 50.
  18. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 2655." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved July 2, 2019.
  19. ^ Schlüter, Johan (October 3, 1995). "Official Danish Singles Chart". IFPI Report (Week 10). IFPI Danmark.
  20. ^ "Eurochart Hot 100 Singles" (PDF). Music & Media. February 4, 1995. p. 36. Retrieved August 8, 2018. Cite magazine requires |magazine= (help)
  21. ^ " – Green Day – Basket Case" (in French). Les classement single.
  22. ^ " – Green Day – Basket Case". GfK Entertainment Charts.
  23. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Basket Case". Irish Singles Chart.
  24. ^ " – Green Day – Basket Case" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  25. ^ " – Green Day – Basket Case". Top 40 Singles.
  26. ^ " – Green Day – Basket Case". VG-lista.
  27. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved November 12, 2016.
  28. ^ " – Green Day – Basket Case". Singles Top 100.
  29. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved July 2, 2019.
  30. ^ "Green Day Chart History (Radio Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved November 12, 2016.
  31. ^ "Green Day Chart History (Alternative Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved November 12, 2016.
  32. ^ "Green Day Chart History (Mainstream Rock)". Billboard. Retrieved November 12, 2016.
  33. ^ "Green Day Chart History (Pop Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved November 12, 2016.
  34. ^ "RPM Top 100 Hit Tracks of 1994". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved July 2, 2019.
  35. ^ "Årslista Singlar – År 1994" (in Swedish). Topplistan. Archived from the original on September 24, 2015. Retrieved July 2, 2019.
  36. ^ "Rapports annuels 1995" (in French). Ultratop. Retrieved July 2, 2019.
  37. ^ "Year End Sales Charts – European Top 100 Albums 1995" (PDF). Music & Media. December 23, 1995. p. 14. Retrieved July 29, 2018. Cite magazine requires |magazine= (help)
  38. ^ "Top 100 Singles – Jahrescharts 1995" (in German). GfK Entertainment. Retrieved July 2, 2019.
  39. ^ "Årslista Singlar – År 1995" (in Swedish). Topplistan. Archived from the original on February 16, 2016. Retrieved July 2, 2019.
  40. ^ "Italian single certifications – Green Day – Basket Case" (in Italian). Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana. Retrieved February 10, 2017. Select "2017" in the "Anno" drop-down menu. Select "Basket Case" in the "Filtra" field. Select "Singoli online" under "Sezione".
  41. ^ "British single certifications – Green Day – Basket Case". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved November 2, 2018. Select singles in the Format field. Select Platinum in the Certification field. Type Basket Case in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.

External links[edit]