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9 Easiest Green Day Songs to Play on Guitar

Green Day is one of those bands that the world hopes will never go away, going strong 30 years after being formed, so we wanted to see which are some of the easiest Green Day songs to play on guitar.

The American punk rock band was formed back in 1986 by Billie Joe Armstrong and Mike Dirnt, with Tre Cool joining in 1990. Although they had two albums before 1994, it was Dookie that put their name on everyone’s lips. Now, they have a dozen albums out, have toured the world several times over and won numerous awards, including 5 Grammys for Record of the Year and Best Rock Album, to name a few.

Iancu Cristian/Shutterstock.com

Iancu Cristian/Shutterstock.com

It’s impossible to not have heard about Green Day, not to be a fan of at least one of their songs, especially since they have tracks that range from rock ballads to punk bliss. Learning how to play their tracks can be both fun and pleasant and, in the end, you’ll be able to rock out with your friends.

If you’re a guitar player, or just learning the ropes, you might also want to try out these 15 Easiest Famous Songs to Play on Guitar since they are surely going to make you the star of the party.

In order to create our list of the easiest Green Day songs to play on guitar today, we checked out multiple threads dedicated to the topic on Reddit (this one too) and Quora. We jotted down hundreds of answers from dozens of people, trying to figure out just what track they thought was easiest to play. For the record, everyone agrees that playing pretty much any song from the “American Idiot” album is easy. This is also possibly due to the fact that this is one of their most famous albums.

Thankfully, there are plenty of easy Green Day songs to play on acoustic guitar, and enough easy green day songs to play on electric guitar, so all tastes in the instrument should be plentifully covered.

In the end, we did the math, noting how many times various songs were mentioned in the hundreds of answers we checked. That being said, here are the 9 easiest Green Day songs to play on guitar:

9. Basket Case

Mentions: 5

First up on the list is Basket Case, one of the fan-favorites, perhaps because it’s one of the first tracks that made Green Day stand out. The song comes from the band’s first big-label album, “Dookie,” launched in 1994. It was actually the third single released from it, following Longview and Welcome to Paradise.

The song is about Armstrong’s struggle with anxiety, the singer admitted. Writing the song was his way of coping with what was going on inside him.

The track had massive success, peaking at number one on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart, and keeping that spot for over a month. Basket Case even got Green Day nominated for the Grammy’s for the Best Rock Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group. You can also check out this video below and learn how to play Basket Case on acoustic guitar.

8. 21 Guns

Mentions: 5

Launched in 2009, 21 Guns, number 8 on our list of easiest Green Day songs to play on guitar comes from Green Day’s “21st Century Breakdown” record. The track had quite a bit of success, especially since the band hadn’t been in the limelight that much in the previous few years. In fact, it reached number 22 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

The track was even nominated for a Grammy award for the Best Rock Performance by a Duo/Group with Vocals, as well as for Best Rock Song.

21 Guns is a song about patriotism, with the title making a reference to the 21-gun salute given for those that have fallen. In its essence, however, the song is an anti-war ballad, which isn’t surprising considering the band has heavily criticised American politicians and the wars the country is engaged in.

7. Boulevard of Broken Dreams

Mentions: 6

Boulevard of Broken Dream is one of the songs that Green Day has made history with. Part of its highly acclaimed album “American Idiot,” Boulevard of Broken Dreams was released in 2004.

The moderate midtempo song ranked number one on Rolling Stone’s Reader’s Choice, being called the best single of the past decade in a list published in 2009. It also reached the second spot on Billboard’s Hot 100 list, which makes it the band’s most successful track in the United States.

The song also managed to become the only song in history that won both the Grammy Award for Record of the Year and the MTV VMA award for Video of the Year. You can even try to learn how to play Boulevard of Broken Dreams on electric guitar.


6. Good Riddance

Mentions: 7
Also known as “Time of Your Life” the song comes from the band’s fifth album, “Nimrod.” Armstrong actually wrote the track in 1990, but kept it hidden until the trio got into the studio to record songs for “Dookie.” In the end, the track did not make the cut because it is so much more mellow than other songs on the album. When the time for Nimrod came around, they took the song out, dusted it off, added some strings, and it eventually became one of the best-known tracks of the band.

The song reached international fame and it even became one of those tracks that are often played at graduation balls due to its nostalgic feel.

5. Brain Stew

Mentions: 7

Released back in 1996, Brain Stew comes from Green Day’s Insomniac album. Part of the song has made it into pretty much every concert the band has had since the track was launched.

A song about insomnia, Brain Stew has become somewhat of an anthem for those who often find themselves wide awake rather than resting. Its rhythm has also made it quite famous among beginner guitar players who find it particularly easy to learn which is one of the reasos why it’s on the list of easiest Green Day songs to play on guitar. Here’s a video on how to play Brain Stew.

4. Oh Love

Mentions: 8

Released in 2012 and part of the band’s ¡Uno! album, “Oh Love” had actually been in the works for at least a year since the band played it for fans during a secret concert.

While the song received some mixed reviews, it was well-received by fans who helped put it on the US Rock Songs chart straight at number one. In fact, it was only the third song in history to manage the feat of debuting straight on the top position on this particular track.

One thing that was sure about this song was that it was quite far from the politically-inspired tracks of the past, which filled albums like “American Idiot” or “21st Century Breakdown.” It’s also a lot more pop than rock, making it on of the easiest Green Day songs to play on guitar.

3. Holiday

Mentions: 8

Perhaps one of the craziest tracks from Green Day, “Holiday” is extremely fun to play. The upbeat track was released in 2005 and comes from the “American Idiot” album.

Not only did the song reach high places in charts across the world, but it also reached number 19 on the Billboard Hot 100, but managed to climb to number one on the Hot Modern Rock Tracks and Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks charts.It reached 3rd place on our list of easiest Green Day songs to play on guitar.

Armstrong reportedly took two months to finish writing “Holiday” because he felt his lyrics were never good enough. In the end, the track takes aim at the Conservator party in the US, feeling as if they commonly alienate groups of people in order to attract votes from other groups. Here’s your Green Day Holiday guitar lesson, if you want.

2. American Idiot

Mentions: 9

Up next on our list is American Idiot, the track that gives the name to the band’s seventh album. This is by far one of the best-known tracks from Green Day. Not only is the song a fan-favorite, but it brought the band nominations for four Grammy awards – Record of the Year, Best Rock Performance, Best Rock Song, and Best Music Video .

The song is composed of four chords, so it’s pretty easy to pick out by beginner guitar players, following a steady order only to change during the chorus and solo.


1. When I Come Around

Mentions: 10

Finally, at the top of our list we have “When I Come Around” which was part of the “Dookie” album. The song was one of Green Day’s earliest successes, peaking at number 6 on the Billboard Hot 100 Airplay. It was their highest-charting song until “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” hit number 2. It’s by far one of their best tracks, but if you’re a fan of the band all tracks are great. That being said, these have been the 9 easiest Green Day songs to play on guitar.