Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)

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"Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)"
Single by Green Day
from the album Nimrod
B-side "Desensitized"
Released October 17, 1997
Format CD single
Recorded June 1996
Genre Acoustic rock, soft rock, alternative rock
Length 2:34 (album version)
2:28 (music video)
Label Reprise
Writer(s) Billie Joe Armstrong, Green Day
Producer(s) Rob Cavallo, Green Day
Certification Gold (RIAA)
Green Day singles chronology
"Hitchin' a Ride"
"Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)"

"Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)" is a song by the American punk rock band Green Day. Although written by lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong before the release of the band's third album Dookie (1994), the song was not released until Green Day's fifth album, Nimrod (1997), and was the second single released from that album. An alternative version (in a different key, with a faster tempo and sparer arrangement) did appear as a B-side to the 1995 German import single for "Brain Stew/Jaded".[1]

Although it was not issued as a physical single at the time of its original release in the United States, "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)" later went on to sell over 2.6 million copies as a digital download in the country.[2] The song is also certified Gold in the United Kingdom for sales of 400,000.[3]

Writing and composition[edit]

Billie Joe Armstrong wrote "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)" in 1990 and did not show the song to his bandmates until the Dookie recording sessions in 1993.[4] During the sessions, the song was determined to be too different from the rest of the songs on Dookie, and producer Rob Cavallo was unsure of how to structure the recording.[4] When the time came to record Nimrod, Armstrong decided to use the song, and Cavallo suggested they add strings to the track. He sent the band to play foosball in another room while he recorded the strings, which took "like fifteen, twenty minutes, maybe a half an hour at the most."[4] Cavallo reflected on his decision to add the strings "I knew we had done the right thing. It was a hit the second I heard it."[4]

A 30 second sample of "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)".

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In comparison to previous Green Day material, "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)" features more mellow, contemplative lyrics with acoustic music. Band member Mike Dirnt went on to state that the release of this song was probably the "most punk" thing they could have done.[5] The song is more commonly promoted on the radio as "Time of Your Life", and it became a Billboard Country Rock chart-topper and an international hit, and was the only song from Nimrod that was a crossover success when released in single form.[6]

Music video[edit]

The music video was directed by Mark Kohr based on a concept by Billie Joe Armstrong.[7] The video features Billie Joe Armstrong singing and playing an acoustic guitar in a bedroom, intercut with "pull-in" shots of various people involved in mundane activities. All of the subjects are shown seemingly staring into space absent-mindedly. Band members Mike Dirnt and Tré Cool make cameo appearances in the video as a person pumping gas (Dirnt), and an injured bike rider being attended by paramedics (Cool). When the video came out, the name of the song was inverted, hence the video's title is "Time of Your Life (Good Riddance)". This title was also used on the single cover.

In 1998 Green Day won their first MTV Video Music Award for Best Alternative Video for "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)" and they were also nominated for Viewer's Choice.[8]

The video can be found on their music video compilation DVD, International Supervideos!.


To the band's surprise, the song became a hit at prom dances.[9][10][11][12] Because of the song's lyrics, which many graduating seniors interpret as nostalgic and reflective of their time in high school, it has become a staple song at proms. Billie Joe Armstrong remarked that, in retrospect, the lyrics make sense when viewed that way. "The people that you grew up and braved the trials of high school with will always hold a special place. Through all the BS of high school you hope that your friends had the time of their life, and that's what the song is talking about".[13]

In the Seinfeld episode "The Chronicle", a clip show that aired toward the end of the show's ninth and final season, the song was played over a series of clips, outtakes and backstage moments.

In "Gut Reaction," the 18th episode of the fourth season of ER, PA Jeanie Boulet, played by actress Gloria Reuben, sang this song as a farewell to a young boy (Scott Anspaugh, son of Dr. Donald Anspaugh) who had died in her care.

On August 18, 2008, country legend Glen Campbell performed the song as part of his special on AOL Sessions.[14]

Four days prior to Jay Leno's initial departure from The Tonight Show in 2009, Dwight Yoakam ended his performance of "If There Was a Way" with the chorus' final stanza.[15]

On November 26, 2010, The American Idiot musical cast also performed the song on the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on NBC.

On May 28, 2015, Rolling Stone named "Good Riddance (Time of your Life)" as one of the "20 Best Graduation Songs of the Past 20 Years [1995-2015]." [16]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Length
1. "Good Riddance" (album version) 2:34
2. "Suffocate" (non-LP track) 2:47
3. "You Lied" (non-LP track) 2:25
4. "Good Riddance" (clean remix) 2:28
5. "Desensitized" (non-LP track) 2:47
6. "Rotting" (non-LP track) 2:50
Total length:
European CD
No. Title Length
1. "Time of Your Life (Good Riddance)" (clean album remix) 2:28
2. "Desensitized" (non-LP track) 2:47
3. "Rotting" (non-LP track) 2:50
Total length:
Australian CD
No. Title Length
1. "Redundant"   3:18
2. "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)" (album version) 2:34
3. "Redundant" (video) 3:20
4. "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)" (video) 2:29
Total length:

Charts and certifications[edit]


  1. ^ Track Listing for "Brain Stew" Single
  2. ^ Appel, Rich (November 13, 2014). "Revisionist History, Part 4: Queen Scores a Hat Trick, 'Good Riddance' to Three Dog Night". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved November 26, 2014. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b c d Spitz, Marc (2006). Nobody Likes You: Inside the Turbulent Life, Times, and Music of Green Day. Hyperion. p. 131. ISBN 978-1401309121. 
  5. ^ VH1 Top 100 Songs of the '90's: "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)"
  6. ^ The Charting power of "Time of Your Life"[dead link]
  7. ^ "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life) by Green Day". Song Facts. 
  8. ^ Rock on the net MTV Video Music Award History
  9. ^ Schwartz, Terri (May 8, 2013). "The Best Prom Songs of the '80s, '90s and '00s". iVillage. Retrieved October 30, 2013. 
  10. ^ CBS Local (April 30, 2012). "Top 10 Prom Songs". CBS. Retrieved October 30, 2013. 
  11. ^ Lamb, Bill (c. 2006). "Top 10 Prom Songs 2006". Top 40 / Pop. Retrieved October 30, 2013. 
  12. ^ Atlantic Coast Entertainment. "Popular Prom Songs". Atlantic Coast Entertainment. Retrieved October 30, 2013. 
  13. ^ CBS Local (April 30, 2012). "Top 10 Prom Songs". CBS. Retrieved October 30, 2013. 
  14. ^ "Glen Campbell - Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life)". August 18, 2008. Retrieved August 2, 2014. 
  15. ^ "Dwight Yoakam - If there was a way (Live) HQ". May 26, 2009. Retrieved July 23, 2014. 
  16. ^ Rolling Stone (May 28, 2015). ""The 20 Best Graduation Songs Of The Past 20 Years". Rolling Stone Magazine. Retrieved May 31, 2015. 
  17. ^ " – Green Day – Time Of Your Life (Good Riddance)". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  18. ^ "Green Day". 
  19. ^ "Top Singles - Volume 66, No. 22, February 23, 1998". RPM. Retrieved 2010-10-26. 
  20. ^ "Rock/Alternative - Volume 66, No. 19, February 02 1998". RPM. Retrieved 2010-10-26. 
  21. ^ " – Green Day – Time Of Your Life (Good Riddance)". Top 40 Singles.
  22. ^ UK Charts Search 'Time of your life'
  23. ^ "Radio Songs". Billboard. 
  24. ^ a b c d Allmusic - Green Day chart success
  25. ^ "ARIA Charts – End Of Year Charts – Top 100 Singles 1998". Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved 2011-04-04. 
  26. ^ "Best of all time: Australia". ARIA. Retrieved December 18, 2013. 
  27. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 1998 Singles". Australian Recording Industry Association. 
  28. ^ "Canadian single certifications – Green Day – Time of Your Life". Music Canada. 
  29. ^ "British single certifications – Green Day – Good Riddance". British Phonographic Industry.  Enter Good Riddance in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Select single in the field By Format. Select Gold in the field By Award. Click Search
  30. ^ "American single certifications – Green Day – Good Riddance". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH