Throughout the early '90s, 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. Dookie, Green Day's major label debut, was released in the spring of 1994. Thanks to MTV support for the initial single "Longview," Dookie became a major hit. The album continued to gain momentum throughout the summer, with the second single "Basket Case" spending five weeks on the top of the American modern rock charts. At the end of the summer, the band stole the show at Woodstock '94, which helped the sales of Dookie increase. By the time the fourth single "When I Come Around" began its seven-week stay at number one in the modern rock charts in early 1995, Dookie had sold over five million copies in the US alone; it would eventually top eight million in America, selling over eleven million copies internationally. Dookie also won the 1994 Grammy for Best Alternative Music Performance.
Green Day quickly followed Dookie with Insomniac in the fall of 1995; during the summer, they hit number one again on the modern rock charts with "J.A.R.," their contribution to the Angus soundtrack. Insomniac performed well initially, entering the US charts at number two, and selling over two million copies by the spring of 1996, yet none of its singles -- including the radio favorite "Brain Stew/Jaded" -- were as popular as those from Dookie. In the spring of 1996, Green Day abruptly cancelled a European tour, claiming exhaustion. Following the cancellation, the band spent the rest of the year resting and writing new material. The end result is what is called by many, the best album of their career, Nimrod.
Nimrod was well recieved by most critics and fans. The album sold 80,000 copies in it's first week to land at #10 on the Billboard charts. The first single from Nimrod was "Hitchin' A Ride". The single made it to #5 on the modern rock charts and was in heavy rotation on MuchMusic and MTV. The next single the band released would not make it to number one (it's highest position was #2), but it is now probably the most well known songs Green Day ever wrote. Featuring Billie Joe on accoustic guitar and vocals, "Time Of Your Life" became the song to play in any remotely sad situation. The song was even used on the last ever episode of the hit TV show Seinfeld (it was also the most watched finale in the history of TV). Along with Seinfeld, the song was also played on E.R on two different shows. Nimrod has sold about two million copies, the lowest sales total out of their three major label albums, but it probably garnered the band more respect than they could have expected with another Dookie or Insomniac. The band also vastly improved their live show and even one "Best Live Performance" at the Kerrang awards.
After nearly two years with barely any mention of the
band, Green Day returned in late 1999 to play Neil Young's "Bridge School
Benefit Concert", their first live accoustic performance. Green Day began
recording their follow-up to "Nimrod" shortly after, which would
eventually become "Warning:". Early in the recording process, the band
decided to fire their new producer, Scott Litt, and produce the album
themselves, marking the first time since "Kerplunk" that anyone but
Rob Cavallo produced the bands recording. After they finished recording, Green
Day decided to do something else they hadn't done before headline the 2000 Vans
Warped Tour. Green Day played an amazing set and brought more fans to the tour
than any other year in Warped's history (their Toronto performance alone
attracted 7,000 more fans than they had any other year).
In September of 2004 Green Day released "American Idiot", an album which lashes out against the American government and the media. "American Idiot" was the first Green Day record ever to debut at #1 on the Billboard Charts, and other music charts around the world. The album's title track, was an instant success. The follow up single, "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" experienced a must greater success. "American Idiot" was nominated for seven Grammy awards, and took home one, "Best Rock Album". In August of 2005, Green Day took home 7 Video Music Awards from MTV.