Dookie is the major label debut and third studio album by American rock band Green Day, released on February 1, 1994 by Reprise Records. The band's first collaboration with producer Rob Cavallo, it was recorded in late 1993 at Fantasy Studios in Berkeley, California. Written mostly by frontman Billie Joe Armstrong, the album is mostly based around his personal experiences, with themes such as boredom, anxiety, relationships, and sexuality. The album was promoted with five singles: "Longview", "Basket Case", a re-recorded version of "Welcome to Paradise", "When I Come Around", and the radio-only "She". “All By Myself” was a hidden track performed by Tré Cool.

Green Day - Dookie cover.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedFebruary 1, 1994 (1994-02-01)
RecordedSeptember–October 1993
StudioFantasy, Berkeley, California
Green Day chronology
Singles from Dookie
  1. "Longview"
    Released: February 1, 1994
  2. "Basket Case"
    Released: August 1994[1]
  3. "Welcome to Paradise"
    Released: October 4, 1994
  4. "When I Come Around"
    Released: January 31, 1995
  5. "She"
    Released: May 5, 1995 (promo)

Dookie received critical acclaim upon its release, and won the band a Grammy Award for Best Alternative Album in 1995. It was also a worldwide success, reaching number two in the United States and the top five in several other countries; it is credited with bringing punk rock to mainstream popularity, and propelling Green Day to worldwide fame. It was later certified diamond by the RIAA, and has sold close to 20 million copies worldwide,[2] making it the band's best-selling album and one of the best-selling albums worldwide. In 2003, Rolling Stone placed Dookie at number 193 on their list of the "500 Greatest Albums of All Time", maintaining the rating in a 2012 revised list. In 2020, Rolling Stone re-ranked the album at number 375 on another revised list.[3]

Background and recordingEdit

Following the underground success of the band's second studio album Kerplunk (1991), a number of major record labels became interested in Green Day.[4] Representatives of these labels attempted to entice the band to sign by inviting them for meals to discuss a deal, with one manager even inviting the group to Disneyland.[5] The band declined these advances until meeting producer and Reprise representative Rob Cavallo. They were impressed by his work with fellow Californian band The Muffs, and later remarked that Cavallo "was the only person we could really talk to and connect with".[5]

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.[6][7] The club has banned Green Day from entering since the major label signing.[5] 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."[8]

Cavallo was chosen as the main producer of the album, with Jerry Finn as the mixer. Green Day originally gave the first demo tape to Cavallo, and after listening to it during the car ride home he sensed that "[he] had stumbled on something big."[4] The band's recording session lasted three weeks and the album was mixed twice.[5] Armstrong claimed that the band wanted to create a dry sound, "similar to the Sex Pistols' album or first Black Sabbath albums."[9] The band felt the original mix to be unsatisfactory. Cavallo agreed, and it was remixed at Fantasy Studios in Berkeley, California.[9] Armstrong later said of their studio experience, "Everything was already written, all we had to do was play it."[5][9]

Writing and compositionEdit

Much of the album's content was written by Armstrong, except "Emenius Sleepus" written by bassist Mike Dirnt, and the hidden track, "All by Myself", which was written by drummer Tré Cool. The album touched upon various experiences of the band members and included subjects like anxiety and panic attacks, masturbation, sexual orientation, boredom, mass murder, divorce, and ex-girlfriends.[5]

Songs 1–7Edit

Armstrong wrote the song "Having a Blast" when he was in Cleveland in June 1992.[10] The single "Longview" had a signature bass line that bassist Dirnt wrote while under the influence of LSD.[11] "Welcome to Paradise", the second single from Dookie, was originally on the band's second studio album, Kerplunk. The song was re-recorded with a less grainy sound for Dookie.[4] 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.[12]

The hit single "Basket Case", which appeared on many singles charts worldwide,[13][14] 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.[9] In the third verse, "Basket Case" references soliciting a male prostitute; Armstrong noted that "I wanted to challenge myself and whoever the listener might be. It's also looking at the world and saying, 'It's not as black and white as you think. This isn't your grandfather's prostitute – or maybe it was.'"[15] The music video was filmed in an abandoned mental institution. It is one of the band's most popular songs.[16]

Songs 8–14Edit

The radio-only single, "She", was written by Armstrong about a former girlfriend who showed him a feminist poem with an identical title.[9] In return, Armstrong wrote the lyrics of "She" and showed them to her.[9] She later moved to Ecuador, prompting Armstrong to put "She" on the album. The same ex-girlfriend is also the topic of the songs "Sassafras Roots" and "Chump".[9]

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.[4] 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 member of Green Day, Jason White, made a cameo in the video with his then-girlfriend.[5] The song was the band's first top ten single at number 6 on the Hot 100 Airplay chart and stayed number 1 on the Modern Rock Tracks chart for 7 weeks (2 weeks longer than "Basket Case"). It also hit number 2 on both the Mainstream Rock Tracks and the Mainstream Top 40 charts. The song "Coming Clean" deals with Armstrong's coming to terms with his bisexuality when he was 16 and 17 years old.[17] In his interview with The Advocate magazine, he stated that although he has never had a relationship with a man, his sexuality has been "something that comes up as a struggle in me". Armstrong wrote the song "In the End" about his mother and her husband. 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."[18]


The name of the album is a reference to the band members often suffering from diarrhea, which they referred to as "liquid dookie", as a result of eating spoiled food while on tour. Initially the band was to name the album Liquid Dookie; however, this was deemed "too gross", and so they settled on the name Dookie.[5][9]

The album artwork by fellow East Bay punk Richie Bucher caused controversy, since it depicted bombs being dropped on people and buildings. The setting is a replica of Berkeley's Telegraph Avenue. In the center, there is an explosion, with the band's name at the top.[19] 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 the Mona Lisa is the woman on the cover of the first Black Sabbath album. AC/DC guitarist 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.[20]

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; however, Canadian and European prints still feature Ernie on the back cover.[5] 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.[4]


Dookie was released on February 1, 1994.[21] The album only sold 9,000 copies in its first week[22] and didn't gain commercial success until the summer of 1994. Dookie charted in seven countries, peaking at number two on the Billboard 200 in the United States,[6] and was a success in several other countries, peaking as high as number one in New Zealand;[23] the lowest peak in any country was in the United Kingdom at number 13.[14] While all the singles from the album charted in a few countries, the hit single "Basket Case" entered the top 10 in the United Kingdom and Sweden. Later in 1995, the album received a Grammy Award for Best Alternative Music Album, with "Longview" and "Basket Case" each being nominated for a Grammy.

Throughout the 1990s, Dookie continued to sell well, eventually receiving diamond certification[24] in 1999; by 2013, Dookie had sold over 20 million copies worldwide and remains the band's best-selling album.[25]


Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic     [21]
Alternative Press     [26]
Billboard     [27]
Chicago Sun-Times    [28]
Chicago Tribune    [29]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide     [32]
Spin Alternative Record Guide8/10[33]
The Village VoiceA−[34]

Dookie was released to critical acclaim. Bill Lamb at regards it as an album that only gets better with time, calling it "one of the landmark albums of the 1990s".[35] Stephen Thomas Erlewine of AllMusic described Dookie as "a stellar piece of modern punk that many tried to emulate but nobody bettered".[21] In 1994, Time claimed Dookie as the third best album of the year, and the best rock album of 1994.[36] Jon Pareles from The New York Times, in early 1995, described the sound of Dookie as, "Punk turns into pop in fast, funny, catchy, high-powered songs about whining and channel-surfing; apathy has rarely sounded so passionate."[37] Rolling Stone's Paul Evans described Green Day as "convincing mainly because they've got punk's snotty anti-values down cold: blame, self-pity, arrogant self-hatred, humor, narcissism, fun".[38]

Neil Strauss of The New York Times, while complimentary of the album's overall quality, noted that Dookie's pop sound only remotely resembled punk music.[39] 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".[5] 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.[5]

Along with The Offspring's Smash,[40][41] Dookie has been credited for helping bring punk rock back into mainstream music culture.[42] Thomas Nassiff at Fuse cited it as the most important pop punk album.[43]

In April 2014, Rolling Stone placed the album at No. 1 on its "1994: The 40 Best Records From Mainstream Alternative's Greatest Year" list.[44] A month later, Loudwire placed Dookie at No. 1 on its "10 Best Hard Rock Albums of 1994" list.[45] Guitar World ranked Dookie at number thirteen in their list "Superunknown: 50 Iconic Albums That Defined 1994".[46]


Since its release, Dookie has been featured heavily in various "must have" lists compiled by the music media. Some of the more prominent of these lists to feature Dookie are shown below; this information is adapted from Acclaimed Music.[47]

Publication Country Accolade Year Rank
Kerrang! United Kingdom The Kerrang! 100 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die[48] 1998 33
Classic Rock & Metal Hammer The 200 Greatest Albums of the 90s[49] 2006 N/A
Robert Dimery United States 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die[50] 2005 N/A
Rolling Stone The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time[51][3] 2020 375
Best Albums of 1994 (Readers Choice)[52] 1994 1
1994: The 40 Best Records From Mainstream Alternative's Greatest Year[44] 2014
Loudwire 10 Best Hard Rock Albums of 1994[45]
Rolling Stone 100 Best Albums of the Nineties[53] 2010 30
Spin 100 Greatest Albums, 1985–2005[54] 2005 44
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame The Definitive 200[55] 50
Kerrang! United Kingdom 51 Greatest Pop Punk Albums Ever[56] 2015 2

Live performancesEdit

Immediately following the release of Dookie, the band embarked on an international tour, beginning in the United States, for which they used a bookmobile belonging to Tré Cool's father to travel between shows.[5] An audience of millions saw Green Day's performance at Woodstock '94 on Pay-per-view, helping the band attract more fans. This event was the location of the infamous[57] mud "fight" between the band and the crowd, which continued beyond the end of Green Day's set.[58] During the fight, Dirnt was mistaken for a fan by a security guard, who tackled him and then threw him against a monitor, causing him to injure his arm and break two of his teeth.[59]

The band also appeared at Lollapalooza and the Z100 Acoustic Christmas at Madison Square Garden, where Armstrong performed the song "She" naked.[60] 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.[5]

In 2013, Dookie was played in its entirety at select European dates as a celebration of the album's upcoming 20th anniversary.[25][61]

Track listingEdit

All lyrics written by Billie Joe Armstrong, except where noted; all music composed by Green Day.[62]

2."Having a Blast"2:44
5."Welcome to Paradise" (new recording)3:44
6."Pulling Teeth"2:31
7."Basket Case"3:01
9."Sassafras Roots"2:37
10."When I Come Around"2:58
11."Coming Clean"1:34
12."Emenius Sleepus" (Mike Dirnt)1:43
13."In the End"1:46
14."F.O.D." (song ends at 2:50, followed by hidden track "All by Myself" written and performed by Tré Cool, which starts at 4:07)5:46
Total length:39:38
Digital Edition
15."All by Myself" (written and performed by Tré Cool)1:40
Total length:38:22


Green Day

Technical personnel[62][63]



Year Song Peak chart positions
US Mod
US Main
1994 "Longview" 1 13 30  —  —  —  —
1994 "Welcome to Paradise" 7  — 20  —  — 21  —
1994 "Basket Case" 1 9 7 12 3 21 35
1995 "When I Come Around" 1 2 27 3 28 4  —
1995 "She" 5 18  —  —  —  —  —


Region Certification Certified units/sales
Argentina (CAPIF)[83] Platinum 60,000^
Australia (ARIA)[84] 5× Platinum 350,000^
Austria (IFPI Austria)[85] Platinum 50,000*
Belgium (BEA)[86] Gold 25,000*
Brazil (Pro-Música Brasil)[87] Gold 100,000*
Canada (Music Canada)[88] Diamond 1,000,000^
Denmark (IFPI Denmark)[89] 4× Platinum 80,000 
Finland (Musiikkituottajat)[90] Gold 35,205[90]
France (SNEP)[91] Gold 100,000*
Germany (BVMI)[92] 3× Gold 750,000^
Ireland (IRMA)[93] 4× Platinum 60,000^
Italy (FIMI)[94]
since 2009
Gold 50,000*
Japan (RIAJ)[95] Platinum 200,000^
Netherlands (NVPI)[96] Gold 50,000^
Poland (ZPAV)[97] Gold 50,000*
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[98] Platinum 100,000^
Sweden (GLF)[99] Gold 50,000^
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)[100] Gold 25,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[101] 3× Platinum 900,000^
United States (RIAA)[102] Diamond 10,000,000^
Europe (IFPI)[103] 2× Platinum 2,000,000*

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone
 sales+streaming figures based on certification alone


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