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What is the story behind the song “Wake Me Up When September Ends "?

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Written by   85
3 months ago

The song "Wake Me Up When September Ends "of the Green Day band was written by its lead vocalist Billie Joe Armstrong. Released in August 2005 for their album "American Idiot", offered by Armstrong this song for his father passed away in September 1982 because of cancer.

According to the story, from the funeral, he runs to the house and locked himself in his room. when the mother knocked on his door, he said is "Wake me up when September ends ", which is the origin of the title of the song.

At the end of September, various memes circulated on social media about the song "Wake Me Up When September Ends" by the American rock band Green Day.

Released in August 2005 on Green Day, the song "Wake Me Up When September Ends" is the band's fourth single and eleventh track on their studio album "American Idiot".

It was written by Billie Joe Armstrong, the lead vocalist band. According to the story, Armstrong wrote it for his father Andrew Marciano Armstrong, who passed away in September 1982 due to esophageal cancer. At his father's funeral, then-ten-year-old Armstrong cried, ran home, and locked himself in his room. When his mother returned to their home, she knocked on the son's door but Armstrong said, "Wake me up when September ends," which is the origin of the song's title.

The line of the song "seven years has gone so fast" refers to the formation of the band Green Day (then Sweet Children) by Armstrong and Mike Dirnt, seven years since Armstrong's father passed away. The line "20 years has gone so fast" refers to the time the song was written, twenty years after the death of Armstrong's father.

Armstrong admits he finds it difficult to sing this song. According to him, "If there's a song on there that veers away from the story for the album, it's that one. It's a personal thing. I've never tackled an issue about that - about singing about my father." "It's hard to sing, but definitely therapeutic, because it deals with the passing of someone that you love," the vocalist added.

According to Armstrong in an interview, “I think about him (father) 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.

This song became symbolic because it was associated with the tragic 9/11 attacks that occurred in September 2001, as well as the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in August 2005.


For further reading, please check these websites:

[1] Clarke, Patrick (October 17, 2019), Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong opens up about how his father’s death influenced ‘Wake Me Up When September Ends’

[2] Montgomery, James (April 19, 2005), IT'S A DARK DAY FOR GREEN DAY IN SOMBER 'SEPTEMBER' VIDEO

[3] Trzcinski, Matthew (June 20, 2020), Green Day: Why Some Fans Misinterpret 'Wake Me Up When September Ends'

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Written by   85
3 months ago
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