American Idiot (song)

American Idiot (song)

Infobox Single
Name = American Idiot

Artist = Green Day
from Album = American Idiot
B-side = "Too Much Too Soon", "Shoplifter", "Governator"
Released = September 14, 2004
Format = CD single
Recorded =
Genre = Punk rock
Length = 2:54
Label = Reprise
Writer = Green Day, Billie Joe Armstrong
Producer = Green Day, Rob Cavallo
Certification =
Last single = "I Fought the Law" (2004)
This single = "American Idiot" (2004)
Next single = "Shoplifter" (2004)

"American Idiot" is a song by American punk rock band Green Day, and is the first single from their seventh album, "American Idiot".

Released in 2004, the single peaked at #61 on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming Green Day's first Billboard Hot 100 chart entry (excluding "Warning" which charted on the Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles chart), helping revive the band's career. However, the appearance of "American Idiot" on the US singles charts occurred just prior to Billboard Magazine's inclusion of internet download purchases into their Hot 100 chart data, which would have made a significant difference in the song's peak had it benefited from the new chart tabulation system. This most recent form of sales assessment has resulted in the far greater successes of "Boulevard of Broken Dreams", "Holiday" and "Wake Me Up When September Ends".

"American Idiot" became Green Day's first Top 5 single in the United Kingdom, reaching #3, and peaked at #7 in Australia. It debuted at #1 in Canada, holding onto the zenith position for five weeks.

The song was featured in the trailer for the 2005 film "Wedding Crashers". The song features on the soundtrack of the American football video game "Madden NFL 2005". It was featured as the closing theme song for the first season of the "Andy Milonakis" show. "Weird Al" Yankovic parodied the song on his album "Straight Outta Lynwood" as "Canadian Idiot" - a satirical commentary on American nationalism and the stereotypical American view of Canadians. In "The Simpsons Movie",the song was played by an organist at the band's funeral. Richard Cheese and Lounge Against the Machine covered this song into a lounge style on their 2005 album "Aperitif for Destruction", and Avril Lavigne did as well in 2006.

Track list

#"American Idiot" - 2:56

CD 1:
#"American Idiot" - 2:56
#"Too Much Too Soon" - 3:30

CD 2:
#"American Idiot" - 2:56
#"Shoplifter" - 1:51
#"Governator" - 2:31

7" Picture Disc: "Side A."
#"American Idiot" - 2:56

"Side B."
#"Too Much Too Soon" - 3:30

Music video

The music video for the song was directed by Samuel Bayer. It opens in a large open building, presumably a warehouse, with the band members playing in front of a large green-and-white American flag. Throughout the song, various stunts are performed, including Tre Cool leaving the drum set and running around the stage. As the video progresses, the green coloring is drained from the flag, leaving only white with the outlines of stars and stripes. When the solo begins, green sewage-like liquid (presumably the coloring from the now-drained flag) explodes from the speakers, and floods the set. At the end of the song, the band members all drop their instruments in the sludge, and walk off the stage.

ong information

The song was written by all three members of Green Day, and was co-produced by Green Day and Rob Cavallo. It is in the key of A-flat major, and is widely known for the guitar riff that plays through the whole song, excluding the chorus.

The whole song is similar to the intro riff from Dillinger Four's "Doublewhiskeycokenoice", written in 1997. Dillinger Four opened for Green Day on Green Day's Japan tour, and released a split 7" with Billie Joe Armstrong's side project, Pinhead Gunpowder

"American Idiot" criticizes the post 9/11 U.S., referring to such issues as paranoia, propaganda and media. "American Idiot" has also been certified as an RIAA Gold (500,000 downloads) along with "Boulevard of Broken Dreams", "American Idiot"'s second single.Fact|date=April 2008

The song helped pave the road for the future "American Idiot" singles, "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" (which, in a great turnaround, would reach #2 in the U.S.), "Holiday" (a Top 30 hit worldwide), "Wake Me Up When September Ends" (which would reach #6 in the U.S. and the Top 20 worldwide), and "Jesus of Suburbia". It was their first #1 on the Modern Rock Tracks from the "American Idiot" album and their sixth overall.


Two separate singles for the song were released. One single contains the song "American Idiot", as well as two B-sides, "Shoplifter" and "Governator". The latter two songs were both recorded in 2003 and never intended to be used on the "American Idiot" album. Another single exists with only one B-side, the song "Too Much Too Soon".


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