July 1 is the 182nd day of the year. As such, it is nationally recognized as blink-182 Day.
blink-182 is best known as a band that helped define the pop-punk genre of the 2000s. The band first came together in 1992, comprising a small group of California friends: Guitarist/vocalist Tom DeLonge, drummer Scott Raynor and bassist/vocalist Mark Hoppus. According to Joe Shooman’s book blink-182: The Bands, the Breakdown & the Return, Raynor had to leave a 1998 tour midway through it to deal with what can only be described as a “tragic loss,” opening the door for a last-minute fill-in named Travis Barker. Barker would become the full-time drummer for the band soon after Raynor’s alcoholism got him fired via phone call, as Raynor himself recalls in an interview with AbsolutePunk (now chorus.fm). The band would continue to go through numerous tweaks and reiterations across three decades, but the name blink-182 is most associated with the trio of DeLonge, Hoppus and Barker.
Receiving a cult following in the ’90s, blink-182 quickly found mainstream success at the dawn of the 2000s, paving the road for an iconic career. In honor of blink-182 Day, it’s important to remember the band not only for its impact and evolution but also for the songs that afforded the members their success. These are the biggest songs that attributed to blink-182’s legendary status.
There’s no better place to begin than where it all started. When the original trio first decided to become a band and spent hours playing in DeLonge’s garage, they would exchange lyrics and co-write songs, according to Anne Hoppus (Mark’s sister) in her book, blink-182: Tales From Beneath Your Mom. One of these songs became “Carousel,” the opening record for the band’s debut album, Cheshire Cat.
Its introduction on the debut studio album meant that for a lot of early fans, “Carousel” was the first song they ever heard from blink-182. For a lot of those fans, this is where their affinity for the band began.
For the same reason “Carousel” may have been a lot of people’s first blink-182 song, the same can be said for “Reebok Commercial.” While 1995’s Cheshire Cat was the band’s first studio album and 1994’s Buddha its first demo tape, its first actual project to be released was a self-financed EP in 1993. Recorded in Raynor’s bedroom, the EP was called Flyswatter. The project’s first track is “Reebok Commercial.” While their mainstream popularity is what made blink-182 a household name, the band never would have gotten to that point if not for the small audience who found and supported it through the underground scene.
As the early underground success continued to generate buzz, the band would eventually get on the radar of Cargo Records. Anne Hoppus chronicles in her same book that the band befriended Brahm Goodis, the son of Eric Goodis, who happened to be the president of Cargo Records at the time. Under Cargo Records, blink-182 would release its debut single, “M+Ms.” The song appears on their debut album, Cheshire Cat. The radio play from “M+Ms” helped blink-182 grow its audience, enough to generate a small budget for its music video, another first for the band. This song was released when the band went by the name Blink. The newfound mass attention of the song also garnered unwanted attention from the Irish band known as Blink, who threatened legal action. This forced California’s Blink to become blink-182.
“Apple Shampoo” served as the first single on its second album, Dude Ranch. It’s not often remembered or talked about among its earlier hits, but the 1997 release is more significant than some fans may realize on the surface. Before its inclusion on the album, the song was released exclusively in Australia.
It’s often understated just how big the pop-punk scene was in the ’90s. When the band had its first tour in 1995, one of its stops was Australia. It went so well the band returned the following year, and Australia was overwhelmingly and surprisingly receptive to blink-182. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly why. Maybe it was that their sound perfectly reflected Australia’s own punk scene, or maybe that local audiences took a liking to the band’s outlandish onstage antics. Whatever the reason, “Apple Shampoo” is a reflection of that success, and it’s a no-brainer why blink-182 would decide to capitalize on its newfound demographic by catering to it exclusively with this single.
“What’s My Age Again?”
This is where this list starts to talk extensively about Enema of the State, by far the band’s most successful album. If we wanted to, the remainder of this list could justifiably be capped off by just listing the album’s tracklist. A third of the album alone includes chart-topping hits. The first of which is “What’s My Age Again?” Almost immediately, the song became one of the band’s top sellers and remains heavily played to this day. For a song about failing to emotionally mature with age, “What’s My Age Again?” has aged like fine wine. The song peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks list. Such a massively successful song would prove to be the first step in the band’s achieving mainstream success.
“All the Small Things”
Five months later, the band would produce an even bigger hit. The song peaked at No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 2 on the U.K. Singles Chart. In several other countries across the globe, the song reached that country’s Top 20 or higher. This song helped solidify blink-182’s status as one of the biggest bands of the time, as well as cementing its place in pop culture. The song’s music video (which won best group video at the 2000 MTV Video Music Awards) was frequently played and helped the band become instantly recognizable with the trio of Barker, DeLonge and Hoppus. Today, “All the Small Things” remains the band’s biggest song, and for many fans, it’s easily their top favorite.
“Adam’s Song” was the third and final single off Enema of the State. At the time, the song was seen as a massive departure from the poppy, lighthearted songs that made the band so popular to begin with. The song takes a more somber tone than the previous two singles, but the song still found a way to last 26 weeks on the charts, peaking at No. 2. The song impressed both fans and critics alike in illustrating what kind of versatility the band was capable of. This proved they were far more than the street-streaking hooligans the world was initially introduced to.
“I Miss You”
“I Miss You” was the second single off the band’s fifth album, a self-titled project. The album was supported by the fact that blink-182 still sported the stench of success from Enema of the State. “I Miss You” was always destined to follow suit and become a hit, but few may have imagined just how big the single would have been, officially becoming blink-182’s second-highest-selling song. Much like “Adam’s Song,” it’s drearier in theme. A song about depression isn’t usually the ideal choice for a single, but the lyrics resonated strongly with audiences enough to make it a global hit.
“Bored to Death”
Coming out in 2016 as the lead single for its seventh album, California, “Bored to Death” is the first tune to be released without DeLonge. Barker remained on the drums and Hoppus stayed on the bass, but this song debuted the band’s new vocalist, Matt Skiba. This was a very different iteration of blink-182, but not quite because it featured a new member. Both Barker and Hoppus were in very different places in their lives. As such, “Bored to Death” sparked a much more refined, mature sound compared with what came in the past, all while still evocating the classic spirit of blink-182.
For the first time in a decade, the trio of Barker, DeLonge and Hoppus entered a studio to craft their next and most recent single, “EDGING.” This marked the return of DeLonge to the band after his hiatus seven years prior. The response to the re-formation of the most famous iteration of blink-182 was instantly immense and overwhelmingly positive. The resurgence in popularity and attention kick-started a new tour, with many dates (naturally) happening in Australia, per Rolling Stone.
Thirty-one years after its initial formation, the future of blink-182 remains as bright as ever as it remains a beloved band. No one knows if or when the band plans to release its next single or project. One thing is certain: blink-182’s impact on music culture is undeniable and continues to be felt today. In the meantime, give all of these songs a listen in honor of blink-182 Day!
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