The Story Of Green Day's American Idiot

12 July 2018, 17:00 | Updated: 12 July 2018, 18:04

With a campaign launched to get the song to UK No.1 for Trump's visit, we delve into the history of the 2004 single.

This week saw Donald Trump make his first UK visit as President of The United States of America, and it's fair to say some people aren't too thrilled about it.

These recent political events have prompted Green Day's American Idiot single to make a renewed assault on the charts, after a Facebook campaign was launched to get the song to UK number one.

But why was the anthem originally written? Find out about the origins of the single here.

American Idiot was released in August 2004 from Green Day's concept album of the same name, peaking at No.3 on the UK Singles Chart.

Green Day's American Idiot single
Green Day's American Idiot single. Picture: Artwork

One of two explicitly political songs on the record - the other being their 2005 single Holiday - American Idiot deals with themes of fear and xenophobia and accuses the mass media of using propaganda to stir up paranoia and hysteria.

See some of its lyrics here:

"Don't wanna be an American idiot
Don't want a nation under the new media
And can you hear the sound of hysteria?
The subliminal mind-fuck America"

The track was written under the presidency of George W. Bush, who led America into the Iraq War following the 9/11 terrorist attack.

Frontman Billie Joe Armstrong is believed to have found a distaste for cable TV's coverage of the war, and has been quoted as saying: "They had all these Geraldo-like journalists in the tanks with the soldiers, getting the play-by-play."

Despite the song taking place during Bush's reign, Armstrong says it wasn't just about the 43rd President, telling The Spin: "I would never think of American Idiot as being about the Bush administration specifically.

"It’s about the confusion of where we’re at right now.”

"The world’s in a confused state,” bassist Mike Dirnt agreed. “I’m pissed off, and I’m angry, and I feel like I’m not fully represented.”

Green Day
Green Day. Picture: Press

With the band themselves revealing the song was written out of anger about not being represented by the world's leaders, it's not hard to see why American Idiot has become relevant once again.

14 years on Billie Joe Armstrong is just as angry about the political situation in his country, and has been particularly vocal about Donald Trump being in the White House.

The trio visited the Radio X studio the day after US Election result, where Armstrong gave his reaction.

Watch our video below:

Speaking to Chris Moyles, the Good Riddance singer revealed: "I went to bed and everyone kinda thought the correct side was going to win.

"Then at 6am I wake up choking - like this is kinda gross, like when you inhale spit [...] I'm thinking 'oh my god why am I coughing?'

"And of course the first thing I do is think 'I'll check and see what happened'. So I go to my phone and I look and I have 50 messages. And I was like ' this is not good'. 'Cause usually I get four every day."

He added: "All my friends and family are freaked out because they just elected a fascist into the White House for the first time in American history."

If you needed any more proof on where Green Day lie on the businessman and celebrity turned politician, the band released the visuals for their Troubled Times video, which saw clips of Donald Trump interspersed between images of violence and inequality.

Watch its video here:

While Troubled Times acts as an American Idiot for the millennial generation, it seems American Idiot still speaks to audiences of all ages today.

Green Day Songs