Out of all the post-Nirvana American alternative bands to break into the pop mainstream, Green Day was one of the main influencers. At their core, Green Day were simply punk revivalists, recharging the energy of speedy, catchy three-chord punk-pop songs. Though their music wasn't particularly innovative, they brought the sound of late-'70s punk to a new, younger generation of the 90's. Green Day's influence was far-reaching because they opened the doors for a flood of American neo-punk, punk metal, and third wave ska revivalists.
Green Day was formed in northern California, and has consisted of lead vocalist and guitarist Billie Joe Armstrong, bassist and backing vocalist Mike Dirnt, and drummer Tre Cool for the majority of its existence.
Green Day continued to cultivate a cult following, which only gained strength with the release of their second album, 1992's Kerplunk. The underground success of Kerplunk led to a wave of interest from major record labels; the band eventually decided to sign with Reprise. It's major label debut Dookie (1994) became a breakout success and eventually sold over 10 million copies in the U.S. and 15 million worldwide. As a result, Green Day was widely credited with reviving mainstream interest in and popularizing punk rock in the United States. Green Day's three follow-up albums, Insomniac, Nimrod and Warning did not achieve the massive success of Dookie, but they were still successful, reaching double platinum, double platinum, and gold status respectively. Green Day's 2004 rock opera American Idiot reignited the band's popularity with a younger generation, selling five million copies in the U.S. The band's eighth studio album, 21st Century Breakdown, was released on May 15, 2009.
Green Day has sold over 22 million records in the United States. They have won four Grammy Awards; Best Alternative Album for Dookie, Best Rock Album for American Idiot, Record of the Year for "Boulevard of Broken Dreams", and Best Rock Album for the second time for 21st Century Breakdown.