Rewinding the Charts: In 2004, Green Day Stirred 'American' Passion
A politically charged 2004 LP earned the band its first No. 1 on the Billboard 200 & an album of the year Grammy nod.
By late 2004, Green Day was a superstar rock band with four smash studio albums and five No. 1 singles on Billboard’s Alternative airplay chart, yet a No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 still eluded the trio. That changed on Oct. 9, 2004, when the raucous concept album American Idiotdebuted atop the list, later earning a Grammy nomination for album of the year and a win for best rock album.
“It’s pretty sweet,” singer-guitarist Billie Joe Armstrong, then 32, told Billboard about finally reaching No. 1. “We’ve been doing this for a long time.” Armstrong formed the band in 1988 in Rodeo, Calif., with his childhood friend, bassist Mike Dirnt, and the act adopted its name the following year. Drummer Tré Cool joined in 1990.
In addition to the Billboard 200 milestone, Idiot also sparked the band's first crossover success into the mainstream pop world. The album's title cut became Green Day's first Billboard Hot 100 hit, peaking at No. 61, while the set's second single, "Boulevard of Broken Dreams," raced to No. 2 on the chart and later won a Grammy for record of the year. Further Hot 100 hits "Holiday" (No. 19) and "Wake Me Up When September Ends" (No. 6) only solidified the band's impact.
In 2010, Idiot re-entered the public sphere through its adaptation into a Tony Award-winning Broadway musical. Despite the success, Armstrong, ironically, wasn’t keen on the idea. When asked if the pop-punk opera would become a movie musical, a la The Who’s Tommy, he said, “I like the Tommy record, but not the movie. I’d like to do something that comes across like a movie, not a musical.”
American Idiot was followed by another No. 1 album, 2009’s 21st Century Breakdown -- and then things came crashing down. Armstrong had a booze-fueled onstage meltdown in 2012 and swiftly checked into rehab. The group endured a significant break before emerging with 2016's Revolution Radio, which became their third Billboard 200 leader.
Most recently, the trio announced the Hella Mega tour, a co-headling trek with Weezer and Fall Out Boy. In conjunction with the announcement, Green Day released a new single, "Father of All...," from the upcoming album Father of All Motherfuckers, due in Feburary 2020.