Suggest a Songfact / Artistfact
Album: DookieReleased: 1994Charted:
This song is about being bored, lonely, and feeling like a complete loser. In an interview with VH1, lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong said: "I was just in a creative rut. I was in-between houses sleeping on people's couches. It's a song about trying not to feel pathetic and lonely. I didn't think that masturbation was really seen from the point of view that I was looking at it. In songs like 'Turning Japanese
' it always seemed more about people pulling a pud or something. I was coming from a lonely guy's perspective: No girlfriend, no life, complete loser."
The lyrics refer to masturbation as means of escape: "Take me away to paradise." Lead singer Billy Joe describes his masturbation habits at the time as "chronic."
This was the first Green Day single released on a major label: Reprise Records. This was not a hit, but their next single, "Basket Case
," launched them to popularity. Before Dookie
came out, Green Day released two albums on a small label.
In a 1995 Rolling Stone
magazine interview, bassist Mike Dirnt revealed that he initially wrote the unique bass riff to this song while on an acid trip. The next day a sober Mike, along with Billie Joe, had a hard time remembering the riff they liked so much the night before. What became the song's bassline was what they could remember to the best of their ability.
Most radio stations aired the edited version with the line "I smell like sh-t" mumbled at the end.
True to the Punk style, most of Green Day's songs to this point were very short. This was one of their longest at 3:59.
Green Day recorded the Dookie album at Fantasy Studios in Berkeley, California. Their first attempts at recording "Longview" during these sessions didn't take, but they then went on tour with Bad Religion and performed the song every night, which helped them refine it. When the tour ended, they went back to Fantasy and recorded the proper version of the song.
A lot of consideration went into how this song would flow on the album. The open, which contrary to most Green Day tracks is built with a slow fade up, was designed to follow the previous Dookie track, "Chump
," which gradually fades out after a brazen climax.