"Basket Case"
One of artworks used for commercial overseas releases
Single by Green Day
from the album Dookie
ReleasedAugust 1, 1994 (1994-08-01)
RecordedSeptember–October 1993
StudioFantasy (Berkeley, California)
Genre
Length3:01
LabelReprise
Composer(s)Green Day
Lyricist(s)Billie Joe Armstrong
Producer(s)
Green Day singles chronology
"Longview"
(1994)
"Basket Case"
(1994)
"Welcome to Paradise"
(1994)
Music video
"Basket Case" on YouTube

"Basket Case" is a song by rock band Green Day, released in August 1994 by Reprise Records as the second single from the band's third studio album, Dookie (1994). The song spent five weeks at the top of the US Billboard Alternative Songs chart and garnered a Grammy Award nomination in the category for Best Rock Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group.[1] Its music video was directed by Mark Kohr and filmed in an abandoned mental institution in California. In 2001, the song appeared on their greatest hits album International Superhits!. In 2021, "Basket Case" was ranked number 150 in Rolling Stone's "500 Greatest Songs of All Time".[2] As of March 2023, "Basket Case" is the most streamed song by the band on Spotify (exempting remixes and alternate versions), with over 926 million streams.

Origin and recording

Green Day vocalist/guitarist Billie Joe Armstrong said "Basket Case" is about his struggle with anxiety; before he was diagnosed with a panic disorder years afterward, he thought he was going crazy. Armstrong commented that at the time, "The only way I could know what the hell was going on was to write a song about it."[3]

"Basket Case" was one of the songs producer Rob Cavallo heard when he received Green Day's demo tape. He ended up signing the band to Reprise Records in mid-1993.[4] Green Day and Cavallo recorded the version of "Basket Case" released on the trio's major label debut Dookie between September and October 1993 at Fantasy Studios in Berkeley, California.[5]

In April 2021, Armstrong revealed in his book Welcome to My Panic that he wrote the song whilst on speed.[6]

Composition

"Basket Case", is a punk rock[7][8][9][10][11][12][13] and pop-punk song,[14][15][16][17][18][19] performed in the key of E-flat.[5] The introductory verse features only Armstrong and his guitar. Towards the end of the first chorus, the rest of the band joins in, with Tré Cool adding fast tom fills and explosive transitions and Mike Dirnt adding a bass line that is reminiscent of the vocal melody. In the second verse, "Basket Case" references soliciting a male prostitute; Armstrong noted that "I wanted to challenge myself and whoever the listener might be. It's also looking at the world and saying, 'It's not as black and white as you think. This isn't your grandfather's prostitute – or maybe it was.'"[20] The song's chord progression closely mirrors that of Pachelbel's Canon.[21]

Release and reception

"Basket Case" was the second single released from Dookie, following "Longview". It peaked at number one on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart, a position it maintained for five weeks.[5] In 1995, the song garnered a Grammy Award nomination in the Best Rock Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group category.[22]

In his weekly UK chart commentary, James Masterton wrote, "Something of an instant classic [...] it is certainly one of the most alternative Top 10 smash since Radiohead's "Creep". As to where it goes next it is hard to tell but it could potentially open the door for a flood of the post-Nirvana young American rock bands who are currently making waves on the other side of the Atlantic."[23] Andrew Mueller from Melody Maker commented, "Green Day themselves are an enthusiastically rockin' kind of act who've learnt a neat trick or two from The Buzzcocks and The Ramones and are the sort of band I'm regrettably likely to think are the future of rock'n'roll if I've drunk enough to stun an ox."[24] A reviewer from Music Week gave the song three out of five, describing it as "the Generation X-flag-wavers' splenetic slice of Bay Area punk".[25] John Mulvey from NME wrote, "Long-time heroes of the US skatepunk scene. Green Day are These Animal Men without the crap Brit-mod trappings and with slightly better songs. Bouncy, a bit fraggly and a bit annoying, but there are worse things in the world. Like 'Speed King', for starters."[26] Upon the re-release, another NME editor, Andy Richardson, praised it as "an irresistible punk snort, a ripping three-minute blast or the ultimate good mood record to play before you go out, depending which way you look at it."[27] Paul Evans from Rolling Stone declared it as a "rave-up", noting that Green Day's lyrics "score graffiti hits".[28] Charles Aaron from Spin ranked "Basket Case" number 19 in his list of the "Top 20 Singles of the Year" in December 1994.[29] Troy J. Augusto from Variety called it "psycho-rave".[30]

Music video

The accompanying music video for "Basket Case" was directed by Mark Kohr.[31] It was filmed in an actual mental institution called Agnews Developmental Center in Santa Clara County, California, at the request of the band members. The mental institution had been abandoned, but most of the structure remained in a broken-down state. The band members found old patient files, deep scratches in the walls and dental molds scattered around.[32] The video frequently references the films One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and Brazil.

The video was nominated for nine MTV Video Music Awards in 1995: Video of the Year, Best Group Video, Best Metal/Hard Rock Video, Best Alternative Video, Breakthrough Video, Best Direction, Best Editing, Best Cinematography, and Viewer's Choice Award. The video did not win in any of the categories it was nominated for.[33]

The video for "Basket Case" was later published on Green Day's official YouTube channel in October 2009. It has amassed more than 339 million views as of January 2024.[34]

Impact and legacy

In 2006, on Mike Davies and Zane Lowe's Lock Up Special on BBC Radio 1, the listeners voted "Basket Case" the Greatest Punk Song of All Time.[35] In 2009, it was named the 33rd best hard rock song of all time by VH1.[36] In 2021, Kerrang ranked the song number three on their list of the 20 greatest Green Day songs,[37] while it was ranked number 150 in Rolling Stone's "500 Greatest Songs of All Time" that same year.[2] In 2022, American Songwriter ranked "Basket Case" number two on their list of the 10 greatest Green Day songs.[38] As of March 2023, it is the most streamed song by the band on Spotify (exempting remixes and alternate versions), with over 926 million streams.

In popular culture

"Weird Al" Yankovic featured "Basket Case" in his 1996 polka medley "Alternative Polka" from Bad Hair Day.[39]

In August 2017, the English band Bastille released a version of the song for the Peter Serafinowicz series The Tick.[40]

The song has also been covered and released as a promotional single by Avril Lavigne, who performed the song during her first headlining tour, the Try to Shut Me Up Tour.[41]

Track listings

Credits and personnel

Charts

Certifications

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Canada (Music Canada)[71] 6× Platinum 480,000
Denmark (IFPI Danmark)[72] Gold 45,000
Italy (FIMI)[73] Platinum 50,000
Japan (RIAJ)[74] Gold 100,000*
United Kingdom (BPI)[75] 2× Platinum 1,200,000

* Sales figures based on certification alone.
Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

Release history

Region Date Format(s) Label(s) Ref.
United States 1994 Radio Reprise
United Kingdom August 1, 1994
  • 7-inch vinyl
  • CD
  • cassette
[76]
United Kingdom (re-release) January 16, 1995 [77]
Japan June 25, 1995 CD [78]

References

  1. ^ Strauss, Neil. "'94 Grammy Nominations: Not Just the Familiar". The New York Times. January 6, 1995.
  2. ^ a b "The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time". Rolling Stone. September 15, 2021. Retrieved September 19, 2021.
  3. ^ "Green Day: Dookie". Ultimate Albums [documentary series]. VH1, 2002.
  4. ^ Spitz, p. 83-86
  5. ^ a b c Buskin, Richard. "Green Day: Basket Case" Archived November 1, 2013, at the Wayback Machine. Sound On Sound. February 2011. Retrieved on February 3, 2013.
  6. ^ Archived at Ghostarchive and the Wayback Machine: "Billie Joe Armstrong - Welcome to My Panic (04.22.2021)". YouTube.
  7. ^ "Reviews: Singles" (PDF). Music Week. January 7, 1995. p. 7. Retrieved May 4, 2021.
  8. ^ "BBC Radio 1- The Lock Up Top 30 Punk Songs". Archived from the original on January 22, 2009. Retrieved February 8, 2009.
  9. ^ "Green Day". PopMatters. Archived from the original on July 10, 2015. Retrieved July 9, 2015.
  10. ^ Buskin, Richard. "Green Day: 'Basket Case'". Sound on Sound. Retrieved April 1, 2022.
  11. ^ Punknews Staff. "Green Day - Dookie". Punknews. Retrieved February 19, 2022. "Basketcase" and "When I Come Around" were the "Smells Like Teen Spirit" of the punk genre
  12. ^ "Green Day - Fantasy Studios" (PDF). Fantasy Studios. Archived from the original (PDF) on June 24, 2011. Issued in February 1994, Dookie would spawn five hit singles — 'Longview', 'Welcome To Paradise' (a re‐recording of a track on Kerplunk), 'Basket Case', 'When I Come Around' and 'She' — and, with worldwide sales of over 16 million units, would prove to be the group's most popular work, while establishing them at the forefront of the neo-punk scene.
  13. ^ Fricke, David (February 3, 2014). "Dookie at 20: Billie Joe Armstrong on Green Day's Punk Blockbuster". Rolling Stone. Retrieved April 1, 2022.
  14. ^ Andrew Winistorfer (July 30, 2009). "The Thermals: 'Basket Case' (Green Day Cover) and 'Now We Can See' | Prefix". Prefixmag.com. Archived from the original on July 10, 2015. Retrieved May 17, 2013.
  15. ^ Robinson, Joe (January 23, 2013). "10 Best Pop-Punk Songs". Diffuser. Retrieved March 9, 2022.
  16. ^ Smith, Troy (March 7, 2022). "The 100 greatest pop punk songs of all time". cleveland.com. Retrieved March 9, 2022.
  17. ^ "Green Day: 20 Years of Dookie". Consequence of Sound. January 31, 2014. Retrieved April 12, 2022.
  18. ^ Shutler, Ali (March 13, 2022). "Watch Toyah Willcox and Robert Fripp cover Green Day's 'Basket Case'". NME. Retrieved April 12, 2022.
  19. ^ Yates, Henry (January 31, 2021). "Green Day's Basket Case: the story behind the song". Louder. Retrieved April 12, 2022.
  20. ^ Fricke, David (February 3, 2014). "'Dookie' at 20: Billie Joe Armstrong on Green Day's Punk Blockbuster". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on February 9, 2015. Retrieved January 29, 2015.
  21. ^ Chamings, Andrew (April 30, 2013). "Canon in the 1990s: From Spiritualized to Coolio, Regurgitating Pachelbel's Canon". Drowned In Sound. Archived from the original on August 11, 2017. Retrieved July 27, 2017.
  22. ^ Strauss, Neil. "'94 Grammy Nominations: Not Just the Familiar". The New York Times. January 6, 1995.
  23. ^ Masterton, James (January 22, 1995). "Week Ending January 28th 1995". Chart Watch UK. Retrieved September 17, 2021.
  24. ^ Mueller, Andrew (August 6, 1994). "Singles". Melody Maker. p. 31. Retrieved October 1, 2023.
  25. ^ "Reviews: Singles" (PDF). Music Week. January 7, 1995. p. 7. Retrieved May 4, 2021.
  26. ^ Mulvey, John (August 6, 1994). "Singles". NME. p. 40. Retrieved October 1, 2023.
  27. ^ Richardson, Andy (January 7, 1995). "Singles". NME. p. 37. Retrieved November 28, 2023.
  28. ^ Evans, Paul (December 29, 1994-January 12, 1995). "The year in recordings". Rolling Stone. Issue 698/699.
  29. ^ Aaron, Charles (December 1994). "Top 20 Singles of the Year". Spin. p. 77. Retrieved January 27, 2023.
  30. ^ Augusto, Troy J. (November 13, 1994). "Green Day". Variety. Retrieved March 2, 2022.
  31. ^ Marks, Craig. "An American Family". Spin. December 1995.
  32. ^ "Billie Joe Armstrong Interview on MTV". MTV. Archived from the original on July 2, 2016. Retrieved May 14, 2009.
  33. ^ MTV Video Music Awards | 1995 Archived May 10, 2016, at the Wayback Machine. MTV. Retrieved on February 4, 2013.
  34. ^ "Green Day - Basket Case [Official Music Video]". YouTube. October 27, 2009. Retrieved June 8, 2023.
  35. ^ "BBC Radio 1- The Lock Up Top 30 Punk Songs". Archived from the original on January 22, 2009. Retrieved February 8, 2009.
  36. ^ "VH1's 100 Greatest Hard Rock Songs". Stereogum. January 5, 2009. Retrieved October 15, 2019.
  37. ^ Law, Sam (April 4, 2021). "The 20 greatest Green Day songs – ranked". Kerrang. Retrieved April 2, 2022.
  38. ^ Uitti, Jacob (February 17, 2022). "Top 10 Green Day Songs". American Songwriter. Retrieved April 2, 2022.
  39. ^ Yankovic, Weird Al. "Parodies & Polkas". "Weird Al" Yankovic. Retrieved April 14, 2023.
  40. ^ "Bastille have covered Green Day's 'Basket Case'". DIY. August 18, 2017. Retrieved August 20, 2017.
  41. ^ Sullivan, James (May 2, 2003). "She's talkin' 'bout her generation / Lavigne's energetic show and young fans are all about the music". San Francisco Chronicle. Archived from the original on September 19, 2011. Retrieved June 2, 2010.
  42. ^ "The ARIA Australian Top 100 Singles Chart – Week Ending 20 Nov 1994". ARIA. Retrieved June 26, 2021 – via Imgur.
  43. ^ "Green Day – Basket Case" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  44. ^ "Green Day – Basket Case" (in French). Ultratop 50.
  45. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 2655." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved July 2, 2019.
  46. ^ Schlüter, Johan (October 3, 1995). "Official Danish Singles Chart". IFPI Report. No. Week 10. IFPI Danmark.
  47. ^ "Eurochart Hot 100 Singles" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 11, no. 5. February 4, 1995. p. 38. Retrieved June 26, 2021.
  48. ^ "Green Day – Basket Case" (in French). Les classement single.
  49. ^ "Green Day – Basket Case" (in German). GfK Entertainment charts.
  50. ^ "Íslenski Listinn Topp 40 (18.2 '95 – 25.2 '95)". Dagblaðið Vísir (in Icelandic). February 18, 1995. p. 24. Retrieved October 1, 2019.
  51. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Basket Case". Irish Singles Chart.
  52. ^ "Tipparade-lijst van week 49, 1994" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40. Retrieved March 25, 2023.
  53. ^ "Green Day – Basket Case" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  54. ^ "Green Day – Basket Case". Top 40 Singles.
  55. ^ "Green Day – Basket Case". VG-lista.
  56. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved November 12, 2016.
  57. ^ "Green Day – Basket Case". Singles Top 100.
  58. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved November 15, 2022.
  59. ^ "Green Day Chart History (Radio Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved November 12, 2016.
  60. ^ "Green Day Chart History (Alternative Airplay)". Billboard. Retrieved November 12, 2016.
  61. ^ "Green Day Chart History (Mainstream Rock)". Billboard. Retrieved November 12, 2016.
  62. ^ "Green Day Chart History (Pop Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved November 12, 2016.
  63. ^ "Billboard Japan Hot Overseas – Week of September 6, 2023". Billboard Japan (in Japanese). September 6, 2023. Retrieved September 7, 2023.
  64. ^ "RPM Top 100 Hit Tracks of 1994". RPM. July 17, 2013. Retrieved July 2, 2019 – via Library and Archives Canada.
  65. ^ "Årslista Singlar, 1994" (in Swedish). Sverigetopplistan. Retrieved March 23, 2023.
  66. ^ "Rapports annuels 1995" (in French). Ultratop. Retrieved July 2, 2019.
  67. ^ "Year End Sales Charts – European Top 100 Albums 1995" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 12, no. 51/52. December 23, 1995. p. 14. Retrieved July 29, 2018.
  68. ^ "Top 100 Singles – Jahrescharts 1995" (in German). GfK Entertainment. Retrieved July 2, 2019.
  69. ^ "Topp 20 Single Vinter 1995" (in Norwegian). VG-lista. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved May 16, 2021.
  70. ^ "Årslista Singlar, 1995" (in Swedish). Sverigetopplistan. Retrieved March 23, 2023.
  71. ^ "Canadian single certifications – Green Day – Basket Case". Music Canada. Retrieved October 18, 2023.
  72. ^ "Danish single certifications – Green Day – Basket Case". IFPI Danmark. Retrieved November 29, 2019.
  73. ^ "Italian single certifications – Green Day – Basket Case" (in Italian). Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana. Retrieved February 10, 2017. Select "2017" in the "Anno" drop-down menu. Select "Basket Case" in the "Filtra" field. Select "Singoli" under "Sezione".
  74. ^ "Japanese digital single certifications – Green Day – Basket Case" (in Japanese). Recording Industry Association of Japan. Retrieved May 20, 2021. Select 2015年7月 on the drop-down menu
  75. ^ "British single certifications – Green Day – Basket Case". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved January 27, 2023.
  76. ^ "Single Releases". Music Week. July 30, 1994. p. 25.
  77. ^ "New Releases: Singles". Music Week. January 14, 1995. p. 31.
  78. ^ "バスケット・ケース | グリーン・デイ" [Basket Case | Green Day] (in Japanese). Oricon. Retrieved September 22, 2023.
  • Spitz, Mark (2006). Nobody Likes You: Inside the Turbulent Life, Times, and Music of Green Day. Hyperion. ISBN 1-4013-0274-2