Green Day – Boulevard Of Broken Dreams

The guitar tremolo effect in the intro hooked me. This one was truly a great single, arguably their best. The first song I remember from them was “When I Come Around” and I liked it immediately. I never thought of them as purely punk but more of a power pop/punk with a little sheen.

Green Day wanted to get away from their punk sound with this one with a Beatle-type vibe. The band’s first idea was an outro like The Beatles Day In The Life using circus music and other things. Producer Rob Cavallo talked them into doing it with just guitars.

The song was on the American Idiot album released in 2004. It peaked at #2 in the Billboard 100, #1 in the Canada Rock Top 30 charts, #5 in New Zealand, and #5 in the UK in 2004. The album was massive… it peaked at #1 in the Billboard 100, Canada, The UK, and #2 in New Zealand.

Noel Gallagher accused Green Day of stealing the chord progression from the song Wonderwall.  “They should have the decency to wait until I am dead [before stealing my songs]. I, at least, pay the people I steal from that courtesy”

This also won Video of the Year at the 2005 MTV Video Music Awards and also took home the prizes for Best Group Video, Best Rock Video, Best Direction, Best Editing, and Best Cinematography.

Billy Joe Armstrong said he saw a photo of James Dean with Boulevard of Broken Dreams underneath and he lifted the title from that…Gottfried Helnwein created it.

AFTER HELNWEIN, James Dean 'Boulevard of Broken Dreams', 87.5cm x 120cm,  framed and glazed.

Billy Joe Armstrong: “There’s an old James Dean photo where he’s walking in New York and underneath it says ‘Boulevard of Broken Dreams.’ It’s a great photo of him, so that’s where I sort of nicked the title from,” 

In Rolling Stone’s Decade End Readers’ Poll, this was voted the Best Single of the ’00s. This song also won the Grammy for Record Of The Year at the 2006 ceremony. The previous year, American Idiot won for Best Rock Album.

Samuel Bayer, whose first gig was directing the video for Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” directed this video.

Samuel Bayer director of the video: “If you think about our country and the specter of war and the problems we’re having, then ‘Boulevard of Broken Dreams’ is the state of the union – and ‘Holiday’ is the wild trip that got us here. It was about living your life and partying as if there’s no tomorrow. But ‘Boulevard’ is the tomorrow. And it’s a really dark, gray, desolate landscape. It’s a graveyard.

“It wasn’t like it was a great linear story between the two videos, but ‘Holiday’ was brightly colored and you’re driving 100 miles an hour and you don’t care what happens, but then the car breaks down,” he explained. “And then with ‘Boulevard,’ you start walking, and that journey goes on forever.”

“A lot of people don’t understand that on ‘Boulevard of Broken Dreams,’ every image was shot on a soundstage, they’re never outside. Even when they’re walking, they’re on treadmills on a soundstage, and everything’s projected behind them from exterior footage I shot separately. A lot of videos I see now work so hard to make everything look seamless, and I wasn’t going for that. I spent a week hand-scratching the negative with razor blades and cigarettes. I threw a couple rolls of it in my shower and left it for a few days.”

Boulevard Of Broken Dreams

I walk a lonely road
The only one that I have ever known
Don’t know where it goes
But it’s only me, and I walk alone

I walk this empty street
On the boulevard of broken dreams
Where the city sleeps
And I’m the only one, and I walk alone

I walk alone, I walk alone
I walk alone and I walk a

My shadow’s the only one that walks beside me
My shallow heart’s the only thing that’s beating
Sometimes I wish someone out there will find me
Till then I walk alone

Ah ah ah ah ah
Ah ah ah ah ah

I’m walking down the line
That divides me somewhere in my mind
On the border line of the edge
And where I walk alone

Read between the lines
What’s fucked up and every thing’s all right
Check my vital signs to know I’m still alive
And I walk alone

I walk alone, I walk alone
I walk alone and I walk a

My shadow’s the only one that walks beside me
My shallow heart’s the only thing that’s beating
Sometimes I wish someone out there will find me
Till then I walk alone

Ah ah ah ah ah
Ah ah ah ah ah

I walk alone, I walk a

I walk this empty street
On the boulevard of broken dreams
Where the city sleeps
And I’m the only one, and I walk alone

My shadow’s the only one that walks beside me
My shallow heart’s the only thing that’s beating
Sometimes I wish someone out there will find me
Till then I walk alone

….

Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

21 thoughts on “Green Day – Boulevard Of Broken Dreams”

  1. Fine song, the last Green Day album I paid attention to (whether fairly or not, I just don’t seem to have heard anything off the more recent ones and haven’t been curious enough to dig into them) . I think that coke really messed up Gallagher’s ears… I don’t hear much resemblance at all between it and “Wonderwall”. Both very good songs, but not alike.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I feel like a few other songs must have used that chord progression before Noel Gallagher – it’s nothing outrageous. Googling, people have suggested ‘Pictures of Matchstick Men’ and New Order’s ‘True Faith’

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is one of the Green Day songs I really like. I like quite a few of theirs, so I am unable to explain why I don’t have any of their albums. Maybe it’s time. I can only roll my eyes at Gallagher’s assertion. What he lacks in substance he makes up with bitter foolishness.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yea I like them until the political stuff starts but usually I try to separate the art from the artists…no matter which side. But yes…I do like them. They have a great combination of punk/pop.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Great song that brought Green Day on my radar screen. Really goes to show that grunge and pop can go together very well.

    As to the alleged similarity to the Oasis tune, I really have a hard time hearing that. This is not a “Taurus” – “Starway to Heaven” situation, where it’s obvious Zep borrowed from Spirit.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Exactly….they just don’t sound like each other. I don’t know where he got that…it might have some of the same chords but that is it.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Sad song verses to discern in my opinion.

    The verses need a more upbeat message.

    For example, something about until I found you, a gift from God, who I believe is always, same as a shadow, dwells alongside His Creations/

    Regards and goodwill blogging

    Liked by 1 person

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