The Green Day song stolen from The Beatles

Green Day

A punk band’s attempt to become a rock star is one of the biggest crimes they can commit. The fear of selling out hangs over any budding punk band, as fans question whether they prioritize their music over royalties. Many enter the industry intending to sell millions of records. In every aspect of their career, Green Day was proud of the punk spirit they espoused. However, they were also not above borrowing from the history of rock.

It’s easy to see where Billie Joe Armstrong was drawing inspiration from a listen to the band’s early albums. Armstrong writes catchy songs meant to stick in your head, with albums like Dookie referencing Cheap Trick and Sex Pistols.

The Beatles were the band that had the biggest influence of all the bands that Armstrong mentioned. The band first grew close to their future producer Rob Cavallo because of his familiarity with Beatles songs. Their early discussions revolved around learning specific licks from the Fab Four. This was even before the band secured a proper record deal.

Although primarily punk in the 1990s, Green Day transitioned towards classic rock on albums like Nimrod. The artist injects blues into the progression of “Hitchin A Ride” and channels The Beatles in the sound of “Redundant,” marking a clear shift.

Green Day was set to take a huge step forward with their album Warning, but fans were worried about the direction their favorite punk band was taking. Armstrong wrote songs that critically analyzed society, such as “Deadbeat Holiday” and “Fashion Victim.” The album focused a lot on adding an organic flair to the recording sessions while embracing acoustic guitars.

The song “Hold On” would be one of the band’s most introspective to date, but they could still play aggressive songs when they so desired. The band’s heavy borrowing from a Beatles classic almost prevented the song’s release.
Armstrong wrote the song as a powerful tribute to a friend who had endured severe personal trauma.

The song’s original version was a direct replica of The Beatles’I Should Have Known Better,” right down to the opening acoustic chords and Armstrong’s blaring harmonica. Rather than ruining the song, Armstrong chose to revisit the studio and make minor adjustments to the harmonica section. He knew that he had a hit song on his hands.

It was just too much,” Armstrong said, recognizing the song’s message as more important than plagiarism. There was a lot of significance in that song. I strategically navigated the harmonica’s prominence, ensuring it served the song, not eclipsed it. Despite “Hold On,” Armstrong’s growth as a songwriter continued for the remainder of the album. His song “Macy’s Day Parade” criticized the shallow hole caused by materialism.

This would have been the quiet before the storm before American Idiot, with Armstrong penning hits like “Holiday” and “Wake Me Up When September Ends,” which would go on to become legendary in the Green Day canon, even though fans may not have taken to the record’s sound at the time. Although Armstrong might have been uncomfortable about copying The Beatles, he could write music that connected with listeners in the same way that the Fab Four did only a few albums later.

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