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Readers’ Poll: Green Day’s Best Songs

Picks include ‘Longview,’ ‘Basket Case’ and ‘Welcome to Paradise’

Green Day's Best Songs

Nigel Crane/Redferns

Billie Joe Armstrong's recent onstage freak-out and subsequent trip to rehab are only going to be minor bumps in the road. His band still has three albums coming out over the next few months, and they still have a world tour in the works. We figured this was a good time to find out your favorite Green Day songs.  The response was huge. Here are the results. 

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4. ‘Longview’

The first single off Dookie, "Longview" is an ode to boredom and masturbation that was written on drugs. "I think drinking and doing drugs are very important," Green Day bassist Mike Dirnt told Rolling Stone in 1994. "When Billie gave me a shuffle beat for 'Longview,' I was flying on acid so hard. I was laying up against the wall with my bass lying on my lap. It just came to me. I said, 'Bill, check this out. Isn't this the wackiest thing you've ever heard?' Later, it took me a long time to be able to play it, but it made sense when I was on drugs. To me, everybody should drop acid at least once. Well, some people don't have the right personality for it. But it is important."

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3. ‘Basket Case’

Billie Joe Armstrong started to have panic attacks around the time the band recorded Dookie. He poured that anxiety into the lyrics of "Basket Case" and scored one of the biggest hits of his career. The iconic video was filmed at an actual mental institution in California. MTV aired it roughly 19 times an hour in late 1994 and early 1995. 

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2. ‘Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)’

Fans who pegged Green Day as nothing but a crazy punk band were shocked when they dropped the nostalgic ballad "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)" in late 1997. It's the opposite of songs like "Longview" in nearly every way, and it brought them a whole new audience. The song also became an all-purpose goodbye song over the next year or so, playing at graduation parties and even the last episode of Seinfeld. Some old-school fans saw it as a sell-out move, but the vast majority thought it was admirable that Green Day were testing their boundaries. The song showed the band that experiments pay off, and in some ways it paved the way for American Idiot down the road. 

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1. ‘Jesus of Suburbia’

"Jesus of Suburbia" is a nine-minute, five-movement mini rock opera within the broader song cycle of American Idiot. It was Green Day's attempt to craft their own "Bohemian Rhapsody," and one of the boldest moves of their career.  Midway during the making of the album, word leaked out that they were making a rock opera. "I looked on the message board," Armstrong told Rolling Stone in 2005. "And some kids thought we were crazy. It's like, 'Fuck it, take the message board down.' We decided we were going to be the biggest, best band in the world or fall flat on our faces." "Jesus of Suburbia" is the linchpin of the album, and it's become the clear fan favorite from the disc. Today, many of those fans who complained they were making a rock opera probably cite this song as their favorite from Green Day's entire catalog.