Basket Case (song)

"Basket Case"

One of artworks used for commercial overseas releases
Single by Green Day
from the album Dookie
Released November 29, 1994
Length 3:01
Label Reprise
Green Day singles chronology
"Welcome to Paradise"
"Basket Case"
"When I Come Around"
Music sample
Green Day – "Basket Case"

"Basket Case" is a song by the American punk rock band Green Day. It is the seventh track and third single from their third studio album, Dookie (1994). The song spent five weeks at the top of the Modern Rock Tracks chart.

Origin and recording

Green Day vocalist/guitarist Billie Joe Armstrong said "Basket Case" is about his struggle with anxiety; before he was diagnosed with a panic disorder years afterward, he thought he was going crazy. Armstrong commented that at the time, "The only way I could know what the hell was going on was to write a song about it."[3]

"Basket Case" was one of the songs producer Rob Cavallo heard when he received Green Day's demo tape. He ended up signing the band to Reprise Records in mid-1993.[4] Green Day and Cavallo recorded the version of "Basket Case" released on the trio's major label debut Dookie between September and October 1993 at Fantasy Studios in Berkeley, California.[5]


"Basket Case", like the other songs on Dookie, was performed on instruments tuned down to the pitch of E-flat.[5] The introductory verse features only Armstrong and his guitar. During the middle of the first chorus the rest of the band joins in, with Tré Cool adding fast tom fills and explosive transitions and Mike Dirnt adding a bass line that is reminiscent of the vocal melody. 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.'"[6]

Release and reception

"Basket Case" was the third single released from Dookie, following "Longview" and "Welcome to Paradise". "Basket Case" peaked at number one on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart, a position it maintained for five weeks.[5] In 1995, "Basket Case" garnered a Grammy Award nomination in the Best Rock Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group category.[7]

In 2006, on Mike Davies and Zane Lowe's Lock Up Special on BBC Radio 1, the listeners voted "Basket Case" the Greatest Punk Song of All Time.[8] In 2009, it was named the 33rd best hard rock song of all time by VH1.[9]

The song is certified Silver in the United Kingdom for sales of 200,000 [10]

Music video

The "Basket Case" video was directed by Mark Kohr.[11] The video was filmed in an actual mental institution called Agnews Developmental Center in Santa Clara County, California, at the request of the band members. The mental institution had been abandoned, but most of the structure remained in a broken-down state. The band members found old patient files, deep scratches in the walls and dental molds scattered around.[12] The video frequently references the film One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. The music video was originally filmed in black and white and the color was added in later by Mike Dirnt (Tré Cool confessed it on a Green Day video special at Dailymotion presented by himself), contributing to the surreal effect of the video.

The video was nominated for nine MTV Video Music Awards in 1995: Video of the Year, Best Group Video, Best Metal/Hard Rock Video, Best Alternative Video, Breakthrough Video, Best Direction, Best Editing, Best Cinematography, and Viewer's Choice Award. The video did not win in any of the categories it was nominated for.[13]

Track listing

Initial pressing

  1. "Basket Case" – 3:01
  2. "On the Wagon"  – 2:48
  3. "Tired of Waiting for You" – 2:30
  4. "409 in Your Coffeemaker" [Unmixed]  – 2:49

Alternate pressing/Limited edition pressing

  1. "Basket Case" – 3:01
  2. "Longview" (live) – 3:30
  3. "Burnout" (live) – 2:11
  4. "2,000 Light Years Away" (live) – 2:49

These tracks are also available on the live EP Live Tracks

Japanese version

  1. "Basket Case" – 3:01
  2. "She" – 2:14
  3. "Emenius Sleepus" – 1:43

7" vinyl singles box set

  1. "Basket Case" – 3:01
  2. "When I Come Around" – 2:58
  3. "Having a Blast" – 2:44
  4. "When I Come Around" (Live from Stockholm, Sweden)

Charts and certifications

Weekly charts

Chart (1994–1995) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[14] 85
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[15] 49
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Wallonia)[16] 21
Canada (Canadian Hot 100)[17] 12
France (SNEP)[18] 35
Germany (Official German Charts)[19] 18
Ireland (IRMA)[20] 11
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[21] 39
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[22] 21
Norway (VG-lista)[23] 2
Scotland (Official Charts Company)[24] 9
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[25] 3
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[26] 7
US Radio Songs (Billboard)[27] 26
US Mainstream Top 40 (Billboard)[28] 16
US Mainstream Rock (Billboard)[29] 9
US Alternative Songs (Billboard)[30] 1


Region Certification
Italy (FIMI)[31] Gold
United Kingdom (BPI)[32] Silver

Preceded by
"Einstein on the Beach (For an Eggman)" by Counting Crows
Billboard Modern Rock Tracks number-one single
20 August 1994 – 17 September 1994 (5 weeks)
Succeeded by
"What's the Frequency, Kenneth?" by R.E.M.

Cover versions

Year Artist Album Notes
1995 Mino Reitano Translation in Italian as Mino Dove Vai? ("Mino Where Are You Going?")
1996 The Moog Cookbook The Moog Cookbook (album)
2003 Avril Lavigne My World Live
2006 The Business Under the Influence
2007 Fall Out Boy Live
2008 Elvis Costello MTV:With Billie Joe Armstrong
2010 John Craigie Leave the Fire Behind
2011 Gnarwolves Fun Club
2012 Alanis Morissette Live at Jimmy Kimmel Live!
2013 Bruno Mars Saturday Night Live Parody
2014 The Swellers Kerrang! Does Green Day's American Idiot
2015 All Time Low Live



  1. "Green Day". PopMatters. Retrieved July 9, 2015.
  2. Andrew Winistorfer Inactive Contributor (July 30, 2009). "The Thermals: 'Basket Case' (Green Day Cover) and 'Now We Can See' | Prefix". Retrieved May 17, 2013.
  3. "Green Day: Dookie". Ultimate Albums [documentary series]. VH1, 2002.
  4. Spitz, p. 83-86
  5. 1 2 3 Buskin, Richard. "Green Day: Basket Case". Sound On Sound. February 2011. Retrieved on February 3, 2013.
  6. Fricke, David (February 3, 2014). "'Dookie' at 20: Billie Joe Armstrong on Green Day's Punk Blockbuster". Rolling Stone. Retrieved January 29, 2015.
  7. Strauss, Neil. "'94 Grammy Nominations: Not Just the Familiar". The New York Times. January 6, 1995.
  8. "BBC Radio 1- The Lock Up Top 30 Punk Songs". Archived from the original on January 22, 2009. Retrieved February 8, 2009.
  9. " music". Archived from the original on February 12, 2009. Retrieved February 7, 2009.
  10. "Certified Awards". Archived from the original on October 27, 2015.
  11. Marks, Craig. "An American Family". Spin. December 1995.
  12. "Billie Joe Armstrong Interview on MTV". MTV. Retrieved 2009-05-14.
  13. MTV Video Music Awards | 1995. MTV. Retrieved on February 4, 2013.
  14. Ryan, Gavin (2011). Australia's Music Charts 1988-2010. Mt. Martha, VIC, Australia: Moonlight Publishing.
  15. " – Green Day – Basket Case" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  16. " – Green Day – Basket Case" (in French). Ultratop 50.
  17. "Green Day – Chart history" Canadian Hot 100 for Green Day.
  18. " – Green Day – Basket Case" (in French). Les classement single.
  19. " – Green Day Single-Chartverfolgung" (in German). Media Control Charts. PhonoNet GmbH.
  20. "Chart Track: Week 34, 1994". Irish Singles Chart.
  21. " – Green Day – Basket Case" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  22. " – Green Day – Basket Case". Top 40 Singles.
  23. " – Green Day – Basket Case". VG-lista.
  24. "Archive Chart: 1995-02-04". Scottish Singles Top 40. Retrieved November 12, 2016.
  25. " – Green Day – Basket Case". Singles Top 100.
  26. "Green Day: Artist Chart History" Official Charts Company.
  27. "Green Day – Chart history" Billboard Radio Songs for Green Day. Retrieved November 12, 2016.
  28. "Green Day – Chart history" Billboard Pop Songs for Green Day. Retrieved November 12, 2016.
  29. "Green Day – Chart history" Billboard Mainstream Rock Songs for Green Day. Retrieved November 12, 2016.
  30. "Green Day – Chart history" Billboard Alternative Songs for Green Day. Retrieved November 12, 2016.
  31. "Italian single certifications – Green Day – Basket Case" (in Italian). Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana. Retrieved January 9, 2015. Select Online in the field Sezione. Enter Green Day in the field Filtra. The certification will load automatically
  32. "British single certifications – Green Day – Basket Case". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved January 9, 2015. Enter Basket Case in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Select single in the field By Format. Select Silver in the field By Award. Click Search

External links

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