Stephen Colbert introduced a new segment on The Late Show on Monday night titled “Lyrics We Can Afford to Songs We Love.” In the first installment, Green Day sang “Camptown Races” – written by the 19th century American songwriter Stephen Foster, and thus freely available in the public domain – over their 1997 hit, “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life).”
Green Day performed the song acoustically in the dressing room, with Billie Joe Armstrong strumming a guitar and Late Show bandleader Jon Batiste accompanying him. Colbert and Armstrong traded lead vocals, while Mike Dirnt and Tré Cool chipped in on background harmonies.
“Lyrics We Can Afford to Songs We Love” came together last month, when Green Day visited The Late Show to perform “Still Breathing.” “I’m a huge Green Day fan, or as we call ourselves, Green Beans,” Colbert explained. “While they were here, I asked them if we could sing my favorite Green Day song, ‘Good Riddance (Time of Your Life).’ And they said, ‘absolutely, if you pay for it.’ And I said, ‘no way.'” Colbert and Green Day managed to find a middle ground by performing an alternate version of the track, and a new Late Show segment was born.
“That song is just a part of a huge, special, backstage bonus tour with Green Day including more songs they performed right here,” Colbert added. The band also played “Revolution Radio,” “Forever Now” and “Ordinary World,” and all the footage is available for free viewing on The Late Show‘s website.
“Good Riddance” appeared on Green Day’s Nimrod album in 1997. It was later released as the LP’s second single,and the track earned a gold certification from the RIAA, signifying more than 500,000 units sold.