Green Day spent most of 2002 recording material for what was meant to be the successor to Warning, Cigarettes and Valentines. About twenty songs were recorded at Studio 880 in Oakland, California for the album, but the rough demo tapes were stolen in November. The band recovered the tapes in 2016 and used them for ideas, most likely for Revolution Radio. It is thought that the band's side project, The Network re-recorded the demos for their album, Money Money 2020, but Green Day has denied this.
The loss of Cigarettes and Valentines and an occasion when each individual band member would create their own thirty-second songs, is what created American Idiot. These thirty-second bits created the tracks Homecoming and Jesus of Suburbia. The band then decided to turn their album into a punk rock opera.
Rob Cavallo encouraged the idea of a concept album and was invited to by Billie Joe Armstrong to help guide the band through the writing process. The group worked at Studio 880 and would stay up late writing songs, drinking and discussing music. During their time in the studio they demoed the album so that it would be completely written and sequenced before recording. Afterwards, Armstrong traveled to New York City for a few weeks by himself to clear his head and find ideas for new songs. He spent much of his time in Manhattan, which inspired many songs from the album such as Boulevard of Broken Dreams and Are We the Waiting. He also managed to much of the album's story line.
Green Day relocated to Los Angeles to continue working on the album. The group recorded at Ocean Way Recording and Capitol Studios. For five months the group stayed at a hotel in Hollywood during recording sessions, where they would get complaints for playing very loud music at night. The band would also party during the Los Angeles sessions, having to schedule recording around their hangovers. After ten months, American Idiot was complete.
Upon its release, American Idiot became Green Day's first number one album in the United States. It sold 267,000 copies within its first week, becoming their biggest opening sales week. The album became the fourth-highest seller of 2005, selling 3.4 million copies. The album stayed on the Billboard Hot 200 chart for 101 weeks. It was certified six times platinum in the United States. The album has an estimated 16 million copies sold worldwide.
|1.||"American Idiot"||Billie Joe Armstrong||Rob Cavallo||2:54|
|2.||"Jesus of Suburbia"||Billie Joe Armstrong||Rob Cavallo||9:08|
|3.||"Holiday"||Billie Joe Armstrong||Rob Cavallo||3:52|
|4.||"Boulevard of Broken Dreams"||Billie Joe Armstrong||Rob Cavallo||4:20|
|5.||"Are We the Waiting"||Billie Joe Armstrong||Rob Cavallo||2:56|
|6.||"St. Jimmy"||Billie Joe Armstrong||Rob Cavallo||2:56|
|7.||"Give Me Novacaine"||Billie Joe Armstrong||Rob Cavallo||3:25|
|8.||"She's a Rebel"||Billie Joe Armstrong||Rob Cavallo||2:00|
|9.||"Extraordinary Girl"||Billie Joe Armstrong||Rob Cavallo||3:33|
|10.||"Letterbomb"||Billie Joe Armstrong||Rob Cavallo||4:05|
|11.||"Wake Me Up When September Ends"||Billie Joe Armstrong||Rob Cavallo||4:45|
|12.||"Homecoming"||Billie Joe Armstrong||Rob Cavallo||9:18|
|13.||"Whatsername"||Billie Joe Armstrong||Rob Cavallo||4:14|
|Bonus track on Japanese release|
|14.||"Favorite Son"||Billie Joe Armstrong||Rob Cavallo||2:06|
|Japanese bonus disc (live in Tokyo)|
|1.||"American Idiot"||Billie Joe Armstrong||Rob Cavallo||4:17|
|2.||"Jesus of Suburbia"||Billie Joe Armstrong||Rob Cavallo||9:22|
|3.||"Holiday"||Billie Joe Armstrong||Rob Cavallo||4:33|
|4.||"Are We the Waiting"||Billie Joe Armstrong||Rob Cavallo||3:18|
|5.||"St. Jimmy"||Billie Joe Armstrong||Rob Cavallo||2:57|
|6.||"Boulevard of Broken Dreams"||Billie Joe Armstrong||Rob Cavallo||4:41|
|Special edition bonus DVD|
|1.||"The Making of 'Boulevard of Broken Dreams' & 'Holiday'"||21:01|
|2.||"Boulevard of Broken Dreams" (music video)||4:48|
|3.||"Holiday" (music video)||4:42|