Wake Me Up When September Ends

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"Wake Me Up When September Ends"
Single by Green Day
from the album American Idiot
Released June 13, 2005
Format
Recorded September 2003
Genre Alternative rock
Length 4:45
Label
Writer(s) Billie Joe Armstrong
Producer(s) Rob Cavallo
Green Day singles chronology
"Holiday"
(2005)
"Wake Me Up When September Ends"
(2005)
"Jesus of Suburbia"
(2005)

"Wake Me Up When September Ends" is a song by American rock band Green Day, released on June 13, 2005 as the fourth single from the group's seventh studio album, American Idiot (2004). The song was written by frontman Billie Joe Armstrong regarding the death of his father. The song's music video depicts a couple broken apart by the Iraq War, which was intended to convey the song's central theme of loss.

The song became a hit single, peaking at number six on the Billboard Hot 100. It was also a top ten single in the United Kingdom, Belgium, New Zealand, and was a number one single in Canada and the Czech Republic. In the United States, the song became symbolic after Hurricane Katrina, where it was dedicated to victims of the disaster. The song became the fourth single from American Idiot to be certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America.

Background[edit]

"Wake Me Up When September Ends" was written by Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong about his father, who died of cancer when he was ten.[1] Armstrong at one point dubbed the song the most autobiographical he had written to that point, considering it "therapeutic" but also difficult to perform.[2]

The song is largely unrelated the storyline that is central to American Idiot.[2]

Commercial performance[edit]

The single peaked at number six in the United States, becoming Green Day's second Top 10 single. It also peaked at #8 in Canada and the UK, while making #13 in Australia. "Wake Me Up When September Ends" had sold 1,652,000 copies as of May 2010, and was the second highest selling single in the U.S. from American Idiot, behind only the multi-platinum "Boulevard of Broken Dreams".[3] The song ended the streak of Green Day's three consecutive #1 hits on the Modern Rock Tracks chart ("American Idiot", "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" and "Holiday"), but it hit #2 on the chart, kept from #1 by Gorillaz "Feel Good Inc.". The song also hit #2 on the Adult Top 40 and #4 on the Mainstream Top 40. This was the band's most successful song to the adult contemporary market, hitting #13 on its own chart and their only song to chart other than "Boulevard of Broken Dreams". The song is certified Silver in the United Kingdom for sales of 200,000 [4]

Reception[edit]

Rob Sheffield of Rolling Stone deemed the song a sequel to the group's 1997 single "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)".[5]

Music video[edit]

The song's music video was directed by Samuel Bayer, best known for his work with Nirvana and Metallica.[6] Bayer wrote the treatment for the video, which he envisioned as a mini-movie.[2] Bayer brought the idea of an Iraq War-themed video to the trio after interviewing soldiers who had signed up to fight after being persuaded by a television advertisement. The song's music video thusly attempts to "turn the machine on itself" by acting as a commercial for "free thought or peace."[7] Although it was far from the song's literal meaning, Armstrong felt it appropriate considering the song's theme of loss.[8] Bayer noted that he felt bored with predictable music videos, and wanted to produce a video that felt like a film. Consequently, he and a crew spent a month casting actors for the roles and conducted rehearsals, uncommon for music videos.[6] The clip was filmed in Los Angeles in late March 2004.[2]

The video focuses on a couple in love (played by Jamie Bell and Evan Rachel Wood).[6] The boyfriend promises never to leave his girlfriend but they later argue when the boyfriend enlists in the United States Marine Corps. The boyfriend interprets his actions as a way to show her that he loves her so much that he would put his life on the line to keep her safe; the girlfriend, however, is heartbroken, as he broke his vow to never leave her, and terrified at the thought that he might die in battle. The video then shows the boyfriend in battle in Iraq being ambushed by insurgents. This scene is intercut with scenes of the girlfriend tearfully mourning in a quiet field. The video ends on this juxtaposition, emphasizing the pain and heartache of losing loved ones due to the war.

The clip prompted criticism from conservative media pundits.[9] On the subject of the clip being seen as exploitive of the war for entertainment purposes, Dirnt rejected this notion: "Rock & roll should be dangerous. […] It should be striking and stir questions, and I think that that video, at the end of the day, comes down to that core emotion of loss."[7] Bayer considered it his best production to that point, remarking, "’September’ is hands down the greatest thing I’ve ever done."[6]

The video reached number one on Total Request Live,[8] and came in second for best video of the year in a 2005 Reader's Poll by Rolling Stone.[10]

Legacy[edit]

"Wake Me Up When September Ends" became closely associated with Hurricane Katrina, which struck the Gulf Coast of the United States on August 31, 2005. "Wake Me Up When September Ends" became symbolic in the aftermath; one online blogger paired the song with television coverage of the disaster, creating a viral video.[11] Green Day performed the song days after the disaster on ReAct Now: Music & Relief, a benefit concert broadcast on MTV and its associated properties.[12]

A live version of the song, recorded on September 3, 2005 at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts, was released soon after and dedicated to the hurricane's victims.

The song was performed live with U2 guitarist The Edge in the pregame show of the Monday Night Football game between the New Orleans Saints and the Atlanta Falcons; it was the first game played in the Superdome in New Orleans after the hurricane.[13]

The song was also mistakenly believed to be written about the September 11 attacks.[13]

Track listing[edit]

CD 1
No. Title Length
1. "Wake Me Up When September Ends"   4:45
2. "Give Me Novacaine" (live at VH1 Storytellers, Culver City, California on February 15, 2005) 3:38
CD 2
No. Title Length
1. "Wake Me Up When September Ends"   4:45
2. "Homecoming" (live at VH1 Storytellers, Culver City, California on February 15, 2005) 9:24
3. "Hitchin' a Ride"   2:52
AUS CD
No. Title Length
1. "Wake Me Up When September Ends"   4:45
2. "Give Me Novacaine" (live at VH1 Storytellers, Culver City, California on February 15, 2005) 3:38
3. "Homecoming" (live at VH1 Storytellers, Culver City, California on February 15, 2005) 9:24
Live (iTunes Exclusive)
No. Title Length
1. "Wake Me Up When September Ends" (live at Foxboro, Massachusetts on September 3, 2005) 5:41

7" picture disc

Side A
No. Title Length
1. "Wake Me Up When September Ends"   4:45
Side B
No. Title Length
1. "Give Me Novacaine" (live at VH1 Storytellers, Culver City, California on February 15, 2005) 3:38

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Sales/shipments
Canada (Music Canada)[33] Platinum 20,000^
Denmark (IFPI Denmark)[34] Gold 7,500^
Italy (FIMI)[35] Gold 15,000*
United Kingdom (BPI)[36] Silver 200,000^
United States (RIAA)[37] Platinum 1,000,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone
xunspecified figures based on certification alone

References[edit]

  1. ^ Matt Hendrickson (February 24, 2005). "Green Day and the Palace of Wisdom". Rolling Stone (New York City: Wenner Media LLC) (968). ISSN 0035-791X. Retrieved June 3, 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c d James Montgomery (April 19, 2005). "It’s A Dark Day For Green Day In Somber ‘September’ Video". MTV News (MTV Networks). Retrieved June 9, 2015. 
  3. ^ [1][dead link]
  4. ^ http://www.bpi.co.uk/certified-awards.aspx
  5. ^ Rob Sheffield (September 30, 2004). "Green Day: American Idiot". Rolling Stone (New York City: Wenner Media LLC) (958). ISSN 0035-791X. Retrieved June 3, 2015. 
  6. ^ a b c d James Montgomery (August 9, 2005). "‘Teen Spirit’ Director Calls Green Day Clip His Career Highlight". MTV News (MTV Networks). Retrieved June 9, 2015. 
  7. ^ a b John Colapinto (November 17, 2005). "Green Day: Working Class Heroes". Rolling Stone (New York City: Wenner Media LLC) (987): 50–56. ISSN 0035-791X. Retrieved June 3, 2015. 
  8. ^ a b Corey Moss (August 31, 2005). "Think Green Day’s ‘September’ Clip Is Epic? Just Wait For ‘Jesus Of Suburbia’". MTV News (MTV Networks). Retrieved June 9, 2015. 
  9. ^ James Montgomery (April 22, 2009). "Green Day’s Greatest Video Moments". MTV News (MTV Networks). Retrieved June 9, 2015. 
  10. ^ Andy Greene (January 11, 2006). "The 2005 Readers' Poll". Rolling Stone (New York City: Wenner Media LLC). ISSN 0035-791X. Retrieved June 3, 2015. 
  11. ^ Sarah Boxer (September 24, 2005). "Art of the Internet: A Protest Song, Reloaded". The New York Times. Retrieved May 31, 2015. 
  12. ^ Corey Moss (September 10, 2005). "Reznor, Kanye, Green Day Reflect On Disaster, Inspire Relief For MTV Special". MTV News (MTV Networks). Retrieved June 9, 2015. 
  13. ^ a b Uptin Saiidi (September 30, 2005). "‘Wake Me Up When September Ends': 10 Fun Ways To Commemorate Green Day’s Hit". MTV News (MTV Networks). Retrieved June 9, 2015. 
  14. ^ "Australian-charts.com – Green Day – Wake Me Up When September Ends". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved June 9, 2015.
  15. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Green Day – Wake Me Up When September Ends" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved June 9, 2015.
  16. ^ "Ultratop.be – Green Day – Wake Me Up When September Ends" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved June 9, 2015.
  17. ^ "Ultratop.be – Green Day – Wake Me Up When September Ends" (in French). Ultratop 50. Retrieved June 9, 2015.
  18. ^ "Green Day Album & Song Chart History" Canadian Hot 100 for Green Day. Retrieved June 9, 2015.
  19. ^ "ČNS IFPI" (in Czech). Hitparáda – Radio Top 100 Oficiální. IFPI Czech Republic. Note: insert 200539 into search. Retrieved June 9, 2015.
  20. ^ "Officialcharts.de – Green Day – Wake Me Up When September Ends". GfK Entertainment. Retrieved June 9, 2015.
  21. ^ "Chart Track: Week 24, 2005". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved June 9, 2015.
  22. ^ "Italiancharts.com – Green Day – Wake Me Up When September Ends". Top Digital Download. Retrieved June 9, 2015.
  23. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Green Day search results" (in Dutch) Dutch Top 40. Retrieved June 9, 2015.
  24. ^ "Charts.org.nz – Green Day – Wake Me Up When September Ends". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved June 9, 2015.
  25. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Green Day – Wake Me Up When September Ends". Singles Top 60. Retrieved June 9, 2015.
  26. ^ a b "Archive Chart: 2005-06-19" UK Singles Chart. Retrieved June 9, 2015.
  27. ^ "Green Day Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Hot 100 for Green Day. Retrieved June 9, 2015.
  28. ^ "Green Day Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Adult Pop Songs for Green Day. Retrieved June 9, 2015.
  29. ^ "Green Day Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Adult Contemporary for Green Day. Retrieved June 9, 2015.
  30. ^ "Green Day Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Alternative Songs for Green Day. Retrieved June 9, 2015.
  31. ^ "Green Day Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Pop Songs for Green Day. Retrieved June 9, 2015.
  32. ^ "Green Day Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Mainstream Rock Songs for Green Day. Retrieved June 9, 2015.
  33. ^ "Canadian single certifications – Green Day – Wake Me Up When September Ends". Music Canada. Retrieved January 10, 2015. 
  34. ^ "Guld og platin november/december/januar" (in Danish). IFPI Denmark. Archived from the original on August 7, 2009. 
  35. ^ "Italian single certifications – Green Day – Wake Me Up When September Ends" (in Italian). Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana. Retrieved January 10, 2015.  Select Online in the field Sezione. Enter Green Day in the field Filtra. The certification will load automatically
  36. ^ "British single certifications – Green Day – Wake Me Up When September Ends". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved January 10, 2015.  Enter Wake Me Up When September Ends 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
  37. ^ "American single certifications – Green Day – Wake Me Up When September Ends". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved January 10, 2015.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH

External links[edit]