Green Day Releases American Idiot

September 20, 2004

In the 1990s, Green Day began to release market-friendly rock songs inspired by ‘70s punk music. In 2004 they released American Idiot, a protest song inspired by 9/11, the Iraq War, Hurricane Katrina, then-president George W. Bush (lead singer Billie Joel Armstrong once performed the song while wearing a Bush mask), and more. Released only a few weeks before the Presidential election of 2004, American Idiot’s lyrics rail against the culture wars, TV news propaganda, and unquestioned patriotism. Like the protest music of Jimi Hendrix and Woody Guthrie, Green Day’s protest critiques naive patriotism and instead advocates for an American identity rooted in inclusivity and honesty rather than idiocy.


Lynskey, Dorian. 33 Revolutions per Minute: A History of Protest Songs from Billie Holiday to Green Day. IBooks ed., Harper-Collins eBooks, 2010.

Green Day American Idiot. U.A.S. United against Sexism,,