If we asked you if you had heard of a punk rock band called Sweet Children, you would be forgiven for saying no. However, if we told you Sweet Children was the former name of the global superstars that are now Green Day, there is no doubt in our minds that you would know who they are. Billie Joe Armstrong and Mike Dirnt were only 14 years old when they formed a band named Sweet Children. The duo performed live for the first time in October 1987 and recruited John Kiffmeyer as a drummer.
Goodbye Sweet Children, Hello Green Day
The band was signed to Lookout! Records in 1988, recorded its debut single 1,000 Hours one year later and then dropped the name Sweet Children to avoid confusion with another local band known as Sweet Baby. Green Day was chosen as the band’s name due to the members’ love of cannabis.
Green Day’s debut studio album, 39/Smooth, was released in early 1990; it was re-released a year later under the name 1,039/Smoothed Out Slappy Hours. It was in late 1990 that Kiffmeyer left the band to attend university and he was replaced by Tre Cool initially on a temporary basis but Cool became a permanent fixture of Green Day soon after.
Fast forward to 1994 and you will find Green Day’s breakthrough year. The band left Lookout! Records and signed with Reprise Records. The band recorded Dookie in only three weeks and released it in February 1994 and it became a huge success thanks to the likes of MTV giving extensive airplay. This album went on to sell more than 10 million copies in the United States alone. Dookie won a Grammy award for the Best Alternative Album and was nominated for no less than nine MTV Video Music Awards.
Green Day Come Back with a Bang!
The fourth studio album created by Green Day, Insomniac, was a different style to Dookie and sold two million copies in the US. Green Day saw a decline in their commercial success between 1997 and 2002 but re-emerged in 2004 with a bang thanks to the band’s seventh studio album American Idiot.
American Idiot became the band’s first number one album thanks mostly to the huge success enjoyed by the single of the same name. Green Day said the album was a punk rock opera that follows the journey of the fictitious “Jesus of Suburbia.” Due to its lyrics, American Idiot became protest art, yet still won the 2005 Grammy for Best Rock Album. It sold six million copies in the United States. It was during 2005 that Green Day embarked on their biggest-ever tour, which featured more than 150 dates around the world.
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
More recently, in 2015, some 28 years after their formation, Green Day was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame; Fall Out Boy was given the honour of inducting the band. The group released its 12th studio album, Revolution Radio, in October 2016 and its second greatest hits compilation, God’s Favorite Band, in November 2017. Green Day had sold more than 85 million records across the globe, a figure that is sure to continue rising as long as the band releases music.