If you follow any major music magazine, you’ll know that Green Day was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this year (along with an impressive list of artists including the Smiths, Lou Reed, Joan Jett & The Blackhearts, etc.). And if you’ve been socially aware since 9/11, you’ll know the impact Green Day’s critically acclaimed album/rock opera American Idiot has had on the modern perception of the American Dream.
Over the years, Green Day has had their critics. One area of criticism stems from those uncomfortable with Green Day’s image as an anti-authoritarian band. Others enjoy mocking Green Day as not serious enough, even deeming the band an “emo meltdown.” And, perhaps most condemning, many of Green Day’s own fans have called them sell-outs.
Yet, regardless of the defamers, Green Day has achieved success beyond what anyone could have imagined from a Berkeley punk trio. To honor Green Day’s recent Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction, here is a timeline including some of their most important milestones and accomplishments:
1. 1977: A five-year-old Billie Joe Armstrong records the adorable “Look For Love.” In celebration of his childhood achievement, he receives his first guitar at age seven from his parents.
2. 1987: Billie Joe Armstrong, Michael Pritchard (now known as Mike Dirnt), and John Kiffmeyer (also called Al Sobrante) book their first gig under the name “Sweet Children.”
3. 1989: The band changes their name to Green Day and release their first album, 1,000 Hours.
4. 1990: Kiffmeyer leaves Green Day to attend college, and Tre Cool joins as his replacement.
5. 1992: Green Day releases Kerplunk, introducing what would soon become their signature nineties-era pop-punk sound. Watch below as they absolutely shred through Kerplunk’s “Welcome To Paradise” on stage:
6. 1994: Dookie, recorded with Reprise Records, wins the Grammy for Best Alternative Album and cements Green Day as a solid band, here to stay. The lyrics of fan favorite “Basket Case” closely parallel the misadventures of J.D. Salinger’s famous Catcher in the Rye protagonist, Holden Caulfield. Enjoy this crazy raw performance of “Basket Case” that leaves Letterman breathless:
7. 1995: With much anticipation, Insomniac follows up Dookie. Darker than their previous albums, Insomniac introduces fans to the snarling “Geek Stink Breath” and the head-banger “Brain Stew.”
8. 1997: Attempting to balance family duties with their growing popularity, the band follows up a cancelled tour with Nimrod. The new album shows an expansion of Green Day’s musical style, straying away from the power chords that had made them so recognizable. Amongst accusations of selling out and no longer being “punk,” the song “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)” declares both the changing nature of Green Day and the band’s own acceptance of their emerging identity.
9. 2000: Green Day enters the new millennium, but Warning fails to gain the acclaim of their previous albums. As headliners at Warped Tour in 2000, Green Day make all of the post-American Idiot fans jealous that they didn’t see them live right before their peak.
10. 2001 and 2002: In the aftermath of 9/ll, Green Day takes some time off. Older material is released through the albums International Superhits and International Supervideos. Shenangians, full of rarities and covers, is also released at this time.
The general public had now begun to think of Green Day as a band of the past, a punk trio of the nineties only. No one could have guessed that, soon, Green Day would be on everyone’s radar, both politically and musically. In part 2, Green Day blows up, leaving us all to pick up the pieces of a post-American Idiot world.