Boulevard of Broken Dreams
Writer(s): Billie Joe Armstrong, Mike Dirnt, Tré Cool (see lyrics here)
Released: November 29, 2004
First Charted: October 16, 2004
Peak: 2 US, 14 RR, 30 AC, 111 A40, 18 AA, 114 AR, 116 MR, 5 UK, 1 CN, 5 AU, 1 DF (Click for codes to charts.)
Sales (in millions): 2.0 US, 0.2 UK, 7.0 world (includes US + UK)
Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 0.9 radio, 282.08 video, 581.91 streaming
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About the Song:
Green Day formed in 1987 in East Bay, California. The punk-rock trio broke through in 1994 with Dookie, their major label debut. With 20 million copies sold worldwide, the album set a seemingly impossible standard for the band to follow. However, a decade later, the band experienced another monstrous success with American Idiot. The “surprisingly ambitious punk-rock opera” SS explored “the disillusionment and dissent of a generation that came of age in a period shaped by tumultuous events such as 9/11 and the Iraq War.” WK2 In Time magazine, Josh Tyrangiel said “there is almost no precedent for a band’s putting out six decent albums and then on its seventh delivering a masterpiece.” SS
The title track and lead single spewed the high-octane punk rock that drew the band’s fans in the first place. The follow-up, however, was the softer, “Boulevard of Broken Dreams.” The “sharply focused, intense rock ballad of emotional solitude” SS was “the group’s finest creation.” SS
The song barely missed topping the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at #2. It did, however, top multiple charts, including the Mainstream Rock, Alternative Rock, Adult Top 40, and Adult Album Alternative charts for a total of 49 weeks. The song set a then-record number of weeks on the UK top 100 chart. WK1
As to “Dreams” place in the concept album, it followed the main character from the song “Jesus of Suburbia” as he leaves town, walking around and contemplating whether it is the right decision. Lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong explained he got the idea for the song from the title of a Gottfried Helnwein painting of James Dean walking alone in a trench coat. SF Armstrong had traveled to New York City while working on songs and tapped into the idea about feeling alone. WK1
The video, which MTV gave its Video of the Year award, echoed the “walking” theme by following the band as they start walking down a desert road after their car breaks down. SF The song was voted Best Single of the ‘00s in the Rolling Stone decade-end readers’ poll, American Idiot was named best album, and Green Day were declared Top Artist of the Decade. SF It also won the Grammy for Record of the Year.
Last updated 4/12/2023.