Supercharged San Francisco Bay Area punks Green Day burst onto the scene with their mega-selling third album, Dookie, in 1994, and they’ve since outlasted most of their contemporaries. It’s not hard to understand why: in Billie Joe Armstrong, Green Day have one of the smartest singer-songwriters of their generation, and he can always rely on the group’s tighter-than-tight rhythm section, bassist Mike Dirnt and drummer Tré Cool, to deliver the goods. But don’t be fooled by their bratty exterior and flippant attitude – this trio’s enviable catalogue secures their longevity, as the best Green Day songs prove in no uncertain terms.
Listen to the best of Green Day here, and check out our best Green Day songs, below.
20: Don’t Leave Me (from ’39/Smooth’, 1990)
Issued by Californian indie imprint Lookout! Records, Green Day’s debut album, 39/Smooth, was recorded by their initial line-up of Billie Joe Armstrong, Mike Dirnt and drummer John Kiffmeyer, who left shortly after the album’s release in April 1990. Armstrong was only 17 when he wrote the songs, so while there’s an understandable naïveté to the record, it also contains a healthy dash of promise. 39/Smooth is the sound of work in progress, then, but it contains one of the best Green Day songs in the angsty, Hüsker Dü-esque Don’t Leave Me, and its overall content suggests something special was coming to the boil.