February 17 – Happy Birthday, Billie Joe Armstrong

Posted on February 17, 2018

Green Day is probably my favorite band. I just love their sound.

Today is singer / songwriter / frontman Billie Joe Armstrong's birthday. He was born in Oakland, California, on this date in 1972.

Here are some cool things about Billie Joe Armstrong:

  • Billie Joe Armstrong sang at Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg's wedding. That's sort of surprising, but what makes it really cool is that the wedding was fairly small (about 100 guests) and sort of a surprise - not for the bride and groom, of course, but most of the guests thought that they were attending a graduation party for bride Priscilla Chan...

    So imagine their surprise when it turns out that it was a wedding!...

    And imagine their further surprise when Billie Joe was the entertainment! (Armstrong and Zuckerman are friends. It's not like Billie Joe was the paid entertainment, lol.)
  • Billie Joe Armstrong and Mike Dirnt met and bonded in elementary school. They started a band (Sweet Children) when they were 15 years old, and that band, with the new name Green Day and eventually the addition of drummer Tré Cool, has stayed together all these years!

    And Green Day has sold more than 85 million records worldwide, has won five Grammy Awards, created a Broadway show  (which won two Tony Awards), has been ranked as one of the VH1's 100 Greatest Artists of All Time, and was inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

  • Billie Joe Armstrong teamed up with Norah Jones to create a tribute to the Everly Brothers, recording all the songs in the Everly Brothers' album Songs Our Daddy Taught Us. The tribute album is named Foreverly.

    Billie Joe is also a guitarist and vocalist in another punk rock band, participates in Green Day's two side-project bands, and formed with Tim Armstrong (from the group Rancid) a super group called The Armstrongs.

    Billie Joe has written songs for a show put on by the Yale Repertory Theater, has collaborated with a hip hop group, has performed with The Replacements at some live shows, has mentored singers for The Voice, and has done several roles as an actor.

Armstrong's family, back in the day
  • Billie Joe Armstrong is still in his first marriage and has two sons - both of whom are already making and recording music!

    Billie Joe helped found a record label, and he and his wife co-own a clothing line that includes band merchandise, men's, women's, and children's clothing, and accessories. A percentage of the profits are donated to charity, and the web store for the clothing line features a Take Action resource that encourages people to become involved in social justice causes and especially environmental causes.

    Billie Joe has also opened (with partners) a used-guitar shop and a coffee company, and his wife started (with a partner) a eco-friendly clothing and home goods store called Atomic Garden. The two participate in Habitat for Humanity and promote environmental causes on their various websites. 
A more recent photo of Armstrong's family
  • Green Day played a secret show in the punk rock club where they got their start; it was a benefit for publishing houses that were damaged in a building fire.

Of course, Billie Joe Armstrong is not perfect (none of us are), and I am not trying to paint him as a hero. Still, he has had a pretty amazing life, and it's fun to hear some of the surprising aspects of it.

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