Wake Me Up When September Ends (4:45)

Cover of American Idiot

From American Idiot and 14 other releases

Wake Me Up When September Ends” is the fourth single from Green Day’s seventh studio album, American Idiot. Released on June 13, 2005, the single peaked at number six in the United States, becoming Green Day’s second Top 10 single. It also peaked at number eight in Canada and the UK, while making number thirteen in Australia. The song is well known for its music video, which paints an intimate portrait of a wartime situation. It is the only song on the album that doesn’t have any story connection to the overall rock opera.

There once was much debate about what the song was about, one of the most common initial beliefs being that it is about the events of 9/11. In the liner notes, the song is dated September 10, and it is track 11 on the album. However, Billie Joe Armstrong has confirmed to the public that the song was written as a memorial anthem about his father, a jazz musician and minor league baseball catcher, who died of esophageal cancer when Armstrong was only ten years old.

In this ballad, Armstrong revisits his painful childhood and thinks about the day he lost his innocence when his father died. Like many faced with such a traumatic event, he never truly recovered, and he can’t believe that twenty years have passed since that September day. As Armstrong associates pain with the month September, he would rather not deal with anything related to the month, prompting him to sing, As my memory rests/but never forgets what I lost/Wake me up when September ends.


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