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Boulevard of Broken Dreams – Green Day

green-dayIn 1987, 14 year old friends Billie Joe Armstrong and Mike Dirnt formed a band called Sweet Children. The first Sweet Children show took place on October 17, 1987, at Rod’s Hickory Pit in Vallejo, California where Armstrong’s mother was working. In 1988, Armstrong and Dirnt began working with former Isocracy drummer, John Kiffmeyer (also known as Al Sobrante). Kiffmeyer served as both the bands drummer and business manager, handling the booking of shows and helping the band establish a fan base.

Larry Livermore, owner of Lookout! Records, saw the band play an early show and signed them to his label. In 1989 they recorded their first EP, 1,000 Hours. Before 1,000 Hours was released, the band dropped the name Sweet Children, according to Livermore this was done in order to avoid confusion with another local band Sweet Baby. The band adopted the name Green Day, allegedly due to their fondness of marijuana.

Boulevard of Broken Dreams

Boulevard of Broken Dreams” is a song by American punk rock band Green Day, recorded for their seventh studio album American Idiot (2004). Reprise Records released “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” as the second single from American Idiot. The song’s lyrics were written by lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong, and composed by the band. Production was handled by Rob Cavallo and Green Day. “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” remains one of Green Day’s signature songs.

The song speaks from the point of view of American Idiot‍ ’​s main character, Jesus of Suburbia, and is a moderate midtempo song characterized by somber and bleak lyrics. This is in contrast to the previous track on the album, “Holiday”, which illustrates Jesus of Suburbia’s high of being in The City. MTV’s Green Day Makes a Video described “Holiday” as a party, and “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” as the subsequent hangover.

It was ranked the number one on Rolling Stone‍ ’​s Reader’s Choice: Singles of the Decade list in 2009 and number 65 on the 100 Best Songs of the Decade list in the same year. As of 2010, it has sold 2,084,000 copies in the United States,.  The single peaked at number two in the United States, making it Green Day’s most successful song. The song was the ninth biggest selling single of the 2000-2009 decade with worldwide sales exceeding 5 million copies. “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” won the Grammy Award for Record of the Year.

“Boulevard of Broken Dreams” was written during a respite from pre-production on what would become the band’s seventh album, American Idiot. Hoping to clear his head and develop new ideas for songs, Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong traveled to New York City alone for a few weeks, renting a small loft in the East Village of Manhattan. He spent much of this time taking long walks and participating in jam sessions in the basement of Hi-Fi, a bar in Manhattan. He began socializing with songwriters Ryan Adams and Jesse Malin.

Armstrong wrote the song about his time in New York City, about “feeling alone” and trying to take power from that fact. Armstrong felt the song fit nicely with the album’s storyline, which is about “going away and getting the hell out, while at the same time fighting their own inner demons.”  The song’s title is from a James Dean poster in which he is walking through New York with an overcoat on.

Boulevard of Broken Dreams – Armstrong

I walk a lonely road
The only one that I have ever known
Don’t know where it goes
But it’s home to me and I walk alone

I walk this empty street
On the Boulevard of Broken Dreams
Where the city sleeps
and I’m the only one and I walk alone

I walk alone
I walk alone

I walk alone
I walk a…

My shadow’s the only one that walks beside me
My shallow heart’s the only thing that’s beating
Sometimes I wish someone out there will find me
‘Til then I walk alone

Ah-ah, Ah-ah, Ah-ah, Aaah-ah,
Ah-ah, Ah-ah, Ah-ah

I’m walking down the line
That divides me somewhere in my mind
On the border line
Of the edge and where I walk alone

Read between the lines
What’s fucked up and everything’s alright
Check my vital signs
To know I’m still alive and I walk alone

I walk alone
I walk alone

I walk alone
I walk a…

My shadow’s the only one that walks beside me
My shallow heart’s the only thing that’s beating
Sometimes I wish someone out there will find me
‘Til then I walk alone

Ah-ah, Ah-ah, Ah-ah, Aaah-ah
Ah-ah, Ah-ah

I walk alone
I walk a…

I walk this empty street
On the Boulevard of Broken Dreams
Where the city sleeps
And I’m the only one and I walk a…

My shadow’s the only one that walks beside me
My shallow heart’s the only thing that’s beating
Sometimes I wish someone out there will find me
‘Til then I walk alone…

  • Audio from the 2004 album, American Idiot:

American-Idiot-GreenDay

Play Boulevard of Broken Dreams - by Green Day