Green Day’s new version of “21 Guns,” featuring the cast of the American Idiot musical, debuted today over on Spinner, a day before it’s set to hit radio. As Rolling Stone previously reported, Billie Joe Armstrong and Co. recorded the track with the cast in an Oakland studio just days after the musical’s final performance at the Berkeley Rep last month. The digital single of “21 Guns” will be available December 22nd.
Fans who saw the show will immediately recognize the voice that starts out the song as belonging to Rebecca Naomi Jones, who plays the role of Whatsername in the musical. The new theatrical rendition, arranged by Tom Kitt (the show’s music supervisor), transforms “21 Guns” — which just last night earned a Grammy nod for Best Rock Song — into a fist-pumping anthem.
“We wanted to record ’21 Guns’ because it represents a pivotal moment in the show when the lead character, sung by John Gallagher, Jr., realizes he needs to get his shit together,” Armstrong said in a statement. “After the show wrapped, we headed straight to Oakland with the cast to record, and they sung the hell out of it. I couldn’t be happier. It’s great to have something out there for people to hear who didn’t get to see the show.” Of course, fans who missed the Berkeley run of the musical will have another chance to see Green Day’s songs brought to life: Producers are planning to bring American Idiot to Broadway next year.