Wake Me Up When September Ends

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Wake Me Up When September Ends
Written by: Billie Joe Armstrong
Song length: 4:45
Album: American Idiot
Mixed by: Chris Lord-Alge
Produced by: Rob Cavallo
Single chronology
Album chronology

"Wake Me Up When September Ends" is the 11th track on American Idiot, and the fourth single of the album. It comes after "Letterbomb" and is followed by "Homecoming".

Song meaning[edit | edit source]

There once was much debate about what the song was about, one of the most common initial beliefs being that it is about the events of 9/11; in the liner notes, the song is dated September 10, and it is Track 11 on the album. However, Billie Joe Armstrong has confirmed to the public that the song was written as a memorial anthem about his father, a jazz musician/minor league baseball catcher, who died of esophageal cancer when Armstrong was only 10 years old. When his mother got home that day and knocked on the door to Billie Joe's room, Billie Joe simply said, "Wake me up when September ends", hence the title.

In this melancholy ballad, Armstrong revisits his painful childhood and thinks about the day he lost his innocence when his father died. Like many faced with such a traumatic event, he never truly recovered, and he can't believe that 20 years have passed since that September day. As Armstrong associates pain with the month September, he would rather not deal with anything related to the month, prompting him to sing, "As my memory rests / But never forgets what I lost / Wake me up when September ends."

The song eventually became a tribute to the victims of Hurricane Katrina, and sound bytes were added from various news coverage to the tune. A live version of the song, recorded on September 3, 2005 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts was released soon after and dedicated to the hurricane's victims.

This is the second time Jason White has appeared in a Green Day video, the first time being "When I Come Around".

Lyrics[edit | edit source]

Main article: Wake Me Up When September Ends/lyrics

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • This song was nominated for "Favorite Song" at the 2006 Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards and won; Green Day also won "Favorite Music Group".
  • Since 2012, in live performances, Billie has changed the line "20 years has gone so fast" to "30 years has gone so fast", to acknowledge the years since his father's death getting higher.