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What is the meaning behind Green Day’s song ‘Wake me up when September ends’?

Let’s explore the profound meaning behind the renowned Green Day song and uncover the underlying sadness within its lyrics

Billie Joe Armstrong de Green Day es captado en bar y su presentación se vuelve viral

In 2004, Green Day released their eighth studio album titled “American Idiot.” This concept album tells the story of “Jesus of Suburbia,” a working-class anti-hero who represents the disillusionment of a generation marked by turbulent events like 9/11 and the Iraq War. Each song in the album serves as a chapter in this character’s journey as he becomes a symbol of a new wave of anti-establishment punk culture.

One of the tracks on the album is the poignant song “Wake Me Up When September Ends,” written by the band’s frontman, Billie Joe Armstrong, as a tribute to his late father. The song achieved global chart-topping success as a single and has become a signature song for the band.

The song has been used in various contexts, including as a statement in the anti-war movement and as a tribute to survivors of Hurricane Katrina. Let’s delve deeper into the song’s meaning and explore the lyrics.

‘Wake me up when September ends’ lyrics

Armstrong composed the lyrics to this song following the death of his father on September 10, 1982. At his father’s funeral, Armstrong was overwhelmed with grief. He went home, locked himself in his room, and when his mother knocked on the door to check on him, he simply said, “Wake me up when September ends.” This moment reportedly inspired the song’s title and its heartfelt lyrics.

Like my fathers come to pass

Seven years has gone so fast

Wake me up when September ends

Related: Why did Earth, Wind & Fire sing about 21st night of September?

The initial lines of the song make mention of his deceased father and the elapsed time since his passing. During an interview on the Howard Stern Show, Armstrong disclosed that the lyrics draw inspiration from the sorrow he experiences each time that particular month arrives.

“I think it’s something that just stayed with me, the month of September being that anniversary that always is just, I don’t know, kind of a bummer,” Armstrong told Stern. “I think about him every day, really. I kinda avoided writing about him for many years, and then finally having a breakthrough like that felt good. It wasn’t like a negative emotion so much, but it was just kind of like honoring him.”

As my memory rests

But never forget what I lost

Wake me up when September ends

Even though the song had been written sometime earlier, nearly two decades had passed since Arsmtrong’s father left when the band finally decided to record the track. Armstrong explained that it took him quite some time to reach an emotional readiness to sing this profoundly personal song.

Like my father’s come to pass

Twenty years has gone so fast

Wake me up when September ends


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