Dookie is the third studio album and the major label debut by American punk rock band Green Day. The album was the band's first collaboration with producer Rob Cavallo. Released on February 1, 1994 through Reprise Records, Dookie became a worldwide commercial success, reaching number two on the U.S. Billboard 200 and charting in seven countries. The album helped to propel Green Day into mainstream popularity, amid claims from the punk rock community that the band had "sold out".
Dookie produced five hit singles for the band: "Longview", the re-recorded "Welcome to Paradise", "Basket Case", the radio-only single "She" and "When I Come Around". As of 2008, Dookie is the band's best-selling album, with over 15 million copies sold worldwide. It is Green Day's only diamond album. Dookie won the Grammy Award for Best Alternative Music Album in 1995.
Eventually, the band left their independent record label Lookout! Records on friendly terms, and signed to Reprise. Signing to a major label caused many of the band's original fans from the independent music club 924 Gilman Street to regard Green Day as sell-outs. The club has banned Green Day from entering since the major label signing. Reflecting back on the period, lead vocalist Billie Joe Armstrong told Spin magazine in 1999, "I couldn't go back to the punk scene, whether we were the biggest success in the world or the biggest failure [...] The only thing I could do was get on my bike and go forward.
The single "Longview" had a signature bass line that bass player Dirnt wrote while under the influence of acid. He originally forgot much of it, but the remembered portions were included in the song. Armstrong stated that the song was mainly about boredom, masturbation, and smoking cannabis, as evident in some of the lyrics, "When masturbation's lost its fun/You're fucking lazy."
"Welcome to Paradise", the second single from Dookie, was originally on the second studio album by the band, Kerplunk. The song was re-recorded, with a less grainy sound for Dookie. The song never had an official music video, however, a certain live performance of the song is often associated as a music video. The video is located on Green Day's official website.
The radio-only single, "She", was written by Armstrong about a former girlfriend who showed him a feminist poem with an identical title. In return, Armstrong wrote the lyrics of "She" and showed them to her. She later moved to Ecuador, prompting Armstrong to put "She" on the album. The same ex-girlfriend is the topic of the songs "Sassafras Roots" and "Chump".
Another song, "Coming Clean", deals with Armstrong's coming to terms with his bisexuality when he was 16 and 17 years old. In his interview with The Advocate magazine, he says that although he has never had a relationship with a man, his sexuality has been "something that comes up as a struggle in me".
The hit single "Basket Case", which appeared on many singles charts worldwide, was also inspired by Armstrong's personal experiences. The song deals with Armstrong's anxiety attacks and feelings of "going crazy" prior to being diagnosed with a panic disorder. The music video was filmed in an abandoned mental institution.
The final single, "When I Come Around", was again inspired by a woman, though this time being about Armstrong's wife, then former girlfriend, Adrienne. Following a dispute between the couple, Armstrong left Adrienne to spend some time alone. The video featured the three band members walking around Berkeley and San Francisco at night, eventually ending up back at the original location. Future touring back up guitarist, Jason White, made a cameo in the video with his then-girlfriend.
Billie Joe Armstrong wrote the song "In The End" about his mother and her boyfriend (similar to Why Do You Want Him). He is quoted saying: "That song is about my mother's husband, it's not really about a girl, or like anyone directly related to me in a relationship. In the End's about my mother.
The cover art is an illustration by Richie Bucher, which depicts bombs being dropped on people and buildings. In the center, there is an explosion, with the band's name at the top. Armstrong has since explained the meaning of the artwork:
I wanted the art work to look really different. I wanted it to represent the East Bay and where we come from, because there's a lot of artists in the East Bay scene that are just as important as the music. So we talked to Richie Bucher. He did a 7-inch cover for this band called Raooul that I really liked. He's also been playing in bands in the East Bay for years. There's pieces of us buried on the album cover. There's one guy with his camera up in the air taking a picture with a beard. He took pictures of bands every weekend at Gilman's. The robed character that looks like Ozzy Osbourne is the woman on the cover of the first Ozzy album. Angus Young is in there somewhere too. The graffiti reading "Twisted Dog Sisters" refers to these two girls from Berkeley. I think the guy saying "The fritter, fat boy" was a reference to a local cop.
The back cover on early prints of the CD featured a plush toy of Ernie from Sesame Street, which was airbrushed out of later prints for fear of litigation. Some rumors suggest that it was removed because it led parents to think that Dookie was a child's lullaby album or that the creators of Sesame Street had sued Green Day.
Throughout the 1990s, Dookie continued to sell well, eventually receiving diamond certification in 1999; To date, Dookie has sold over 15 million copies worldwide and remains the band's best-selling album.
However, many other music critics, and even some other mainstream bands, claimed the band had sold out for signing to a major label, and called them "watered down punk imposters". The New York Times, while complementary on the album's overall quality, noted that Dookie's pop sound only remotely resembled punk music. The band did not respond initially to these comments, but later claimed that they were "just trying to be themselves" and that "it's our band, we can do whatever we want". Dirnt claimed that the follow up album, Insomniac, one of the band's hardest albums lyrically and musically, was the band releasing their anger at all the criticism from critics and former fans.
|Kerrang!||United Kingdom||The Kerrang! 100 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die||1998||33|
|Classic Rock & Metal Hammer||United Kingdom||The 200 Greatest Albums of the 90s||2006||*|
|Robert Dimery||United States||1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die||2005||*|
|Rolling Stone||United States||Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time||2003||193|
|Spin Magazine||United States||100 Greatest Albums, 1985–2005||2005||44|
|Rock and Roll Hall of Fame||United States||The Definitive 200||2005||50|
* denotes an unordered list
The band also appeared at Lollapalooza and the Madison Square Garden charity event, where Armstrong performed the song "She" naked. Having toured throughout the United States and Canada, the band played a few shows in Europe before beginning the recording sessions for the subsequent album, Insomniac. During the tour, Armstrong was quite homesick. His wife, Adrienne Armstrong, whom he had married shortly after the release of Dookie, was pregnant during most of the tour, and Armstrong was upset about being unable to help and care for her. Being away from his family during the Dookie tour, and the following tours for the next few albums, eventually caused the band to temporarily break up.
|UK Top 40||13|
|Swedish Top 60||3|
|Year||Song||Peak chart positions|
| US Mod|| US Main|| UK|| SWE|| NZ|| FRA|
|1994||"Welcome to Paradise"||7||20||21|
|1995||"When I Come Around"||1||2||27||28||4|