Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)

"Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)" is a song by the American punk rock band Green Day, released in October 1997 as the second single and from their fifth studio album Nimrod (1997), and also serves as the seventeenth and second to last track on the album.

"Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)"
Green Day - Good Riddance (Time of Your Life) cover.jpg
Single by Green Day
from the album Nimrod
  • "Desensitized"
  • "Rotting"
ReleasedOctober 17, 1997
  • 2:34 (album version)
  • 2:28 (music video)
Green Day singles chronology
"Hitchin' a Ride"
"Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)"
Music video
"Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life)" on YouTube

Although it was not issued as a single at the time of its release in the United States, "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)" sold over 2.6 million copies as a digital download in the country.[4] The song was certified Platinum in the United Kingdom for sales of 600,000.[5] Although different from the band's usual sound, it is one of the band's most popular songs. It has also become a staple of the band's concerts and is usually played as the final song in their live shows.

Background and compositionEdit

Billie Joe Armstrong wrote "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)" in 1993 about his girlfriend named Amanda who moved to Ecuador, with him naming the song "Good Riddance" to show his anger towards her. He did not show the song to his bandmates until the Dookie recording sessions later the same year.[6] During the sessions, however, the song was determined to be too different from the rest of the songs on Dookie, and producer Rob Cavallo was unsure of how to structure the recording.[6].

An early version of the song (in a different key, with a faster tempo and sparer arrangement) simply titled "Good Riddance" appeared as a B-side to the European single for "Brain Stew/Jaded" in 1996.[7]

When the time came to record Nimrod, Armstrong decided to record the song again, and Cavallo suggested they add strings to the track. He sent the band to play foosball in another room while he recorded the strings, which took "like fifteen, twenty minutes, maybe a half an hour at the most."[6] Cavallo reflected on his decision to add the strings "I knew we had done the right thing. It was a hit the second I heard it."[6].

In comparison to previous Green Day material, "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)" features more mellow, contemplative lyrics with acoustic music. Band member Mike Dirnt said that the release of this song was probably the "most punk" thing they could have done.[8] The song is more commonly promoted on the radio as "Time of Your Life", and it became a Billboard Country Rock chart-topper and an international hit, and was the only song from Nimrod that was a crossover success when released in single form.

Album versionEdit

The album version of the song begins with Billie Joe Armstrong messing up the opening chords twice, muttering “fuck” under his voice before starting over and getting it right, thus getting the song underway. This mess up was purposely recorded in order to provide some minor comic relief for an otherwise serious and contemplative song. Radio versions and the music video omitted this.[9]

Music videoEdit

The music video was directed by Mark Kohr based on a concept by Billie Joe Armstrong.[10] The video features Armstrong singing and playing an acoustic guitar in a bedroom (filmed in LA's Ambassador Hotel), intercut with "pull-in" shots of various people involved in mundane activities. All of the subjects are shown seemingly staring into space absent-mindedly. Band members Mike Dirnt and Tré Cool make cameo appearances in the video as a person pumping gas (Dirnt), and an injured bike rider being attended by paramedics (Tré). When the video came out, the name of the song was inverted, hence the video's title is "Time of Your Life (Good Riddance)". This title was also used on the single cover.

In 1998, Green Day won their first MTV Video Music Award for Best Alternative Video for "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)" and they were also nominated for Viewer's Choice.[11]

The video can be found on their music video compilation DVD, International Supervideos!.


To the band's surprise, the song became a hit at prom dances.[12][13][14][15] Because of the song's lyrics, which many graduating seniors interpret as nostalgic and reflective of their time in high school, it has become a staple song at proms. Armstrong remarked that, in retrospect, the lyrics make sense when viewed that way. "The people that you grew up and braved the trials of high school with will always hold a special place. Through all the BS of high school you hope that your friends had the time of their life, and that's what the song is talking about".[13]

In 2008, country singer-songwriter Glen Campbell recorded the song for his album Meet Glen Campbell. On August 18, 2008, he performed the song as part of his special on AOL Sessions.[16]

On May 28, 2015, Rolling Stone named "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)" as one of the 20 Best Graduation Songs of the Past 20 Years (1995–2015).[17]

On March 25, 2016, the Golden State Warriors used Green Day's song to honor David Lee in a tribute video. Lee played with the Warriors from 2010 to 2015 and became part of the 2014–2015 championship squad. [18]

This song has also been used on radio stations as a last song before changing formats. The most recent use of this song as a last song was on WISX in Philadelphia, when it dropped its Hot AC format for Rhythmic AC on June 29, 2017.[19]

Credits and personnelEdit

Additional creditsEdit

Track listingEdit

1."Good Riddance" (album version)2:34
2."Suffocate" (non-LP track)2:47
3."You Lied" (non-LP track)2:25
4."Good Riddance" (clean remix)2:28
5."Desensitized" (non-LP track)2:47
6."Rotting" (non-LP track)2:50
Total length:8:40
European CD
1."Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)" (clean album remix)2:28
2."Desensitized" (non-LP track)2:47
3."Rotting" (non-LP track)2:50
Total length:8:05
Australian CD
2."Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)" (album version)2:34
3."Redundant" (video)3:20
4."Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)" (video)2:29
Total length:11:41

Charts and certificationsEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Acoustic Nation (August 12, 2015). "Best Acoustic Rock Song of All Time Poll: "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)" Vs. "Jack & Diane"". Guitar World. Retrieved July 13, 2019.
  2. ^ Brown, Cy (April 12, 2015). "10 SOFT-ROCK PLAY-DOWN SONGS". Sports on Earth. Retrieved July 13, 2019.
  3. ^ "The 79 Best Alternative Rock Songs of 1997". April 25, 2017. Retrieved July 13, 2019.
  4. ^ Appel, Rich (November 13, 2014). "Revisionist History, Part 4: Queen Scores a Hat Trick, 'Good Riddance' to Three Dog Night". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved November 26, 2014.
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-06-25. Retrieved 2014-06-04.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^ a b c d Spitz, Marc (2006). Nobody Likes You: Inside the Turbulent Life, Times, and Music of Green Day. Hyperion. p. 131. ISBN 978-1401309121.
  7. ^ "Green Day - Brain Stew / Jaded". Discogs.
  8. ^ VH1 Top 100 Songs of the '90's: "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)"
  9. ^ "Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life) by Green Day - Songfacts".
  10. ^ "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life) by Green Day". Song Facts.
  11. ^ "Rock On The Net: 1998 MTV Video Music Awards".
  12. ^ Schwartz, Terri (May 8, 2013). "The Best Prom Songs of the '80s, '90s and '00s". iVillage. Retrieved October 30, 2013.
  13. ^ a b CBS Local (April 30, 2012). "Top 10 Prom Songs". CBS. Archived from the original on November 1, 2013. Retrieved October 30, 2013.
  14. ^ Lamb, Bill (c. 2006). "Top 10 Prom Songs 2006". Top 40 / Pop. Retrieved October 30, 2013.
  15. ^ Atlantic Coast Entertainment. "Popular Prom Songs". Atlantic Coast Entertainment. Retrieved October 30, 2013.
  16. ^ "Glen Campbell – Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life)". August 18, 2008. Retrieved August 2, 2014.
  17. ^ Rolling Stone (May 28, 2015). ""The 20 Best Graduation Songs Of The Past 20 Years". Rolling Stone Magazine. Retrieved May 31, 2015.
  18. ^ Katie Richcreek (March 26, 2016). ""Stephen Curry, Warriors Present David Lee His Ring in Pregame Ceremony". Bleacher Report. Retrieved March 26, 2016.
  19. ^ "WISX Philadelphia Gets Real With Throwbacks". June 29, 2017.
  20. ^ " – Green Day – Time Of Your Life (Good Riddance)". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved November 13, 2016.
  21. ^ " – Green Day – Redundant / Time of Your Life (Good Riddance)". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved November 13, 2016.
  22. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 3469." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved November 13, 2016.
  23. ^ "Top RPM Adult Contemporary: Issue 3473." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved July 27, 2018.
  24. ^ "Top RPM Rock/Alternative Tracks: Issue 3442." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved November 13, 2016.
  25. ^ "Íslenski Listinn Topp 40 (5.2. – 12.2. 1998)". Dagblaðið Vísir (in Icelandic). February 6, 1998. Retrieved October 3, 2019.
  26. ^ " – Green Day – Time Of Your Life (Good Riddance)". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved November 13, 2016.
  27. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved May 12, 2018.
  28. ^ "Green Day: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved November 13, 2016.
  29. ^ "Green Day Chart History (Radio Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved November 13, 2016.
  30. ^ "Green Day Chart History (Adult Pop Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved November 13, 2016.
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  32. ^ "Green Day Chart History (Alternative Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved November 13, 2016.
  33. ^ "Green Day Chart History (Mainstream Rock)". Billboard. Retrieved November 13, 2016.
  34. ^ "Green Day Chart History (Pop Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved November 13, 2016.
  35. ^ "Green Day Chart History (Digital Song Sales)". Billboard. Retrieved May 12, 2018.
  36. ^ "Green Day Chart History (Rock Digital Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved May 12, 2018.
  37. ^ "ARIA Charts – End Of Year Charts – Top 100 Singles 1998". ARIA. Retrieved May 12, 2018.
  38. ^ "RPM's Top 100 Hit Tracks of '98" (PDF). RPM. Vol. 63 no. 12. December 14, 1998. p. 20. Retrieved March 23, 2019.
  39. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 1998 Singles". Australian Recording Industry Association.
  40. ^ "Canadian single certifications – Green Day – Time of Your Life". Music Canada.
  41. ^ "Italian single certifications – Green Day – Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)" (in Italian). Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana. Retrieved August 19, 2017. Select "2017" in the "Anno" drop-down menu. Select "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)" in the "Filtra" field. Select "Singoli online" under "Sezione".
  42. ^ "British single certifications – Green Day – Good Riddance". British Phonographic Industry. Select singles in the Format field. Select Platinum in the Certification field. Type Good Riddance in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  43. ^ "American single certifications – Green Day – Good Riddance". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH.