The Hidden Meaning Of Green Day's 'Wake Me Up When September Ends'

Green Day came out with hits like 21 Guns, Holiday, American Idiot, Boulevard Of Broken Dreams, and Wake Me Up When September Ends. That last entry appeared on their 2004 album American Idiot and reached its peak at Number 7 on Billboard charts this past May for two weeks. According to Loudwire, last September, Wake Me Up When September Ends saw a 135% spike in streams on YouTube compared to the rest of 2019, since people were probably taking advantage of the timely lyrics.

The song's lyrics are definitely sad, what with, "Here comes the rain again falling from the stars. Drenched in my pain again." Many fans thought the song was about war since the music video hinted at that theme. Others speculated the band was making ties to the September 11 attacks. However, the song's real meaning has to do with lead singer Billy Joe Armstrong's father's death.

A touching tribute

Armstrong's father died on September 1, 1982, from cancer when Armstrong was only 10 years old. According to Songfacts, Armstrong locked himself in his room after his father's funeral. When his mother knocked on the door to see if he was OK, Armstrong responded, "Wake me up when September ends."

"I think it's something that just stayed with me; the month of September being that anniversary that always is just, I don't know, kind of a bummer," Armstrong said in a Howard Stern interview last year. The lyrics "Like my father's come to pass, twenty years has gone so fast," refers to the time in between Armstrong's father dying and him writing the song in 2002.

Armstrong added that he still thinks about his late father every time he performs the song. "I think about him every day, really. I kinda avoided writing about him for many years, and then finally having a breakthrough like that felt good. It wasn't like a negative emotion so much, but it was just kind of like honoring him."