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“While My Guitar Gently Weeps” is one of The Beatles‘ most famous hard rock songs. During an interview, Billie Joe Armstrong said one of Green Day‘s songs almost sounds like “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” Armstrong explained the song in question was about an “evil drug.”

The Beatles' Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, John Lennon, and George Harrison standing in a row
The Beatles’ Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, John Lennon, and George Harrison | John Pratt/Keystone/Getty Images

How Billie Joe Armstrong reacted to the success of Green Day’s album ‘Dookie’

Green Day became famous thanks to the album Dookie. Dookie includes famous alternative rock hits such as “Basket Case” and “When I Come Around.” The band’s follow-up album was called Insomniac. During a 2020 interview with Rolling Stone, Armstrong explained the idea behind Insomniac.

“Things were getting really scary,” Armstrong recalled. “I’m such a dedicated songwriter and musician, and when Dookie got so big — it was on par with becoming one of the biggest pop records of all time — I really wanted to be like, ‘I’m a rocker. I’m a punk rocker. That’s what matters to me more than being some kind of pop star.’ That sort of fueled that record.”

Billie Joe Armstrong liked his band’s song that ‘almost’ sounds like The Beatles’ ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’

Armstrong said “Brain Stew,” one of the songs from Insomniac, was one of the songs that defined his life. “This song is such a dark horse,” he opined. “I had just gotten some recording equipment, and I came up with the riff when I was experimenting with it for the first time: ‘Oh, this is cool. It almost sounds like a harder Beatles song, like ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps.'”

Armstrong explained the meaning of “Brain Stew.” “The song is about methamphetamine, not being able to sleep, and staying up all night,” he revealed. “It was something that was creeping into our punk scene at the time, and I definitely did my experimenting with it. It’s just such an evil drug.”


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The way the world reacted to The Beatles’ ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’ and Green Day’s ‘Brain Stew’

“While My Guitar Gently Weeps” wasn’t released as a single, so it didn’t chart on the Billboard Hot 100. The Beatles released the track on The White Album. For nine weeks, The White Album was No. 1 on the Billboard 200. It spent 215 weeks on the chart in total. 

While Green Day released “Brain Stew” as a single, it didn’t chart on the Billboard Hot 100 either. Despite this, Insomniac was a hit. It reached No. 2 on the Billboard 200, lasting on the chart for 40 weeks.

“Brain Stew” had an impact on pop culture. Weezer covered the track. “Brain Stew” appeared in the video game Green Day: Rock Band. “Brain Stew” remains a classic Green Day song — even if it sounds a tad like “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.”