A brief guide to Green Day

Before Green Day won over Broadway with an ambitious anti-war album, it was a simple-minded punk trio from Berkeley with an album called "Dookie" and song titles such as "Geek Stink Breath" and "Words I Might Have Ate."

While the band's sound has evolved greatly since forming in 1987, Green Day has maintained a knack for writing songs with lasting appeal. Here are five that still hold up well.

"Who Wrote Holden Caulfield?" (from 1992's "Kerplunk!")

This isn't the best song for name-checking the protagonist of "The Catcher in the Rye" (that honor belongs to Piebald), but like many of the songs from "Kerplunk," this track exemplified singer Billie Joe Armstrong's ability to write a catchy hook.

"Longview" (from 1994's "Dookie")

The video was an MTV staple and for good reason: Nothing from the '90s captured suburban malaise, and the angst that comes with it, like "Longview." Also, that bassline.

"86" (from 1995's "Insomniac")

A punk band goes mainstream and can't go home again (in this case, "home" was the Gilman Street punk scene in Berkeley). Never a band to apologize for its success, Green Day used "86" to come to terms with its rising profile.

"Brain Stew" ("Insomniac")

Straightforward and all the better for it, "Brain Stew" sounds like it could have been written in any garage in America. For an act that had just made millions of new fans with a breakthrough album from the previous year, it was a welcome return to basics.

"Redundant" (from 1997's "Nimrod")

The chorus is arena-ready, and it hints at the pop-minded heights Armstrong would eventually reach.


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