Coronavirus

Billie Joe Armstrong's Cover of 'I Think We're Alone Now' Is the Latest Version to Hit the Charts

Billie Joe Armstrong
Courtesy Photo

Billie Joe Armstrong performs "I Think We're Alone Now" on 'Tonight Show: At Home Edition.'

The Green Day frontman's first solo airplay chart hit enters Adult Pop Songs.

The winding chart road of pop classic "I Think We're Alone Now" adds another turn, as Billie Joe Armstrong's version debuts at No. 28 on Billboard's Adult Pop Songs radio airplay survey (dated April 11).

It also enters the multi-metric Hot Rock Songs chart at No. 50.

The song by the Green Day frontman, being promoted to radio via Crush Music, is an ode to social distancing amid the global COVID-19 pandemic.

"Dear friends, while we've all been in quarantine, I've been reflecting on the things that matter the most in my life: family, friends and, of course, music," Armstrong wrote accompanying the song's video on Green Day's official YouTube channel. "I recorded a cover of 'I Think We're Alone Now' in my bedroom. I figure if we have to spend this time in isolation, at least we can be alone together."

The track, written by Ritchie Cordell, first charted in 1967, when Tommy James and the Shondells' version hit No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 that April.

The Rubinoos returned the song to the Hot 100 in 1977, taking it to No. 45 that May.

In February 1980, Scott Allan's cover of "Alone" reached No. 21 on the Dance Club Songs chart, cleverly woven into a disco medley with another beloved pop hit: "Will You Love Me Tomorrow," written by Gerry Goffin and Carole King; The Shirelles' version of the latter ruled the Hot 100 for two weeks in 1961.

Continuing the pattern of "Alone" experiencing 10-year revivals on the Hot 100, Tiffany sent it all the way to No. 1 for two weeks in November 1987. (Notably, it was replaced at the top by another cover of a Cordell song first made a hit by James and the Shondells: Billy Idol's "Mony Mony." James and the band's original hit No. 3 in 1968.)

Until Armstrong's debut this week, "Alone" most recently appeared on the Adult Contemporary chart, where James' solo acoustic update hit No. 27 last August.

(Shout-out with a smile to "Weird Al" Yankovic's album Even Worse, a No. 27 hit on the Billboard 200 in 1988: It includes his "Alone" parody, "I Think I'm a Clone Now." "I think I'm a clone now," he sings. "There's always two of me just a-hanging around …")

The latest charted cover of the song on Adult Pop Songs also marks Armstrong's first solo entry on an airplay chart, after more than a quarter-century of Green Day accumulating a robust history on rock and pop charts, among others; the trio's current single, "Oh Yeah!," leads Mainstream Rock Songs for a second week.

Armstrong previously charted two songs as a soloist, neither entirely on his own: "I Run NY," by The Lonely Island featuring Armstrong, reached No. 21 on the sales-based Comedy Digital Tracks tally in 2013, while "Foreverly" with Norah Jones, hit No. 4 on the multi-metric Hot Rock Songs ranking in 2014. The latter was released from the pair's album of the same name, which debuted and peaked at No. 19 on the Billboard 200.

Armstrong's résumé also includes Green Day side project Foxboro Hot Tubs, whose Stop Drop and Roll!!! hit No. 5 on Top Rock Albums and No. 21 on the Billboard 200, while single "Mother Mary" reached No. 16 on Alternative Songs, in 2008.

Last year, Tiffany's 1987 take of "Alone" rekindled attention thanks to its synch in Netflix's Umbrella Academy. Plus, she recorded a new, amped-up version. "It's just a great song," she told Billboard. "I'm really lucky to have it in my life."

Meanwhile, Tiffany said that the song's famed "children behave" opening lyric (now seemingly more poignant in Armstrong's version amid calls for so many to self-isolate and help stop the spread of the coronavirus) has long been used in her circle as a playful admonishment.

"When I'm on the road, around a bunch of people, and everybody's getting rowdy, I always go, 'Children behave!' " she said with a laugh. "It's a little funny thing that we say."

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