What Rock Albums Would the American Idiot Gang Take to a Desert Island?

By Kenneth Jones
20 Apr 2010

Christina Sajous
photo by Paul Kolnik
"Why couldn't the questions on the SATs be this easy?!!" asked Christina Sajous, who plays The Extraordinary Girl in American Idiot. "First of all, I want to warn everyone that I am an old-fashioned gal when it comes to rock or pop music, so please feel free to judge. My first choice of a rock album I would bring to a desert island — besides 'American Idiot' (wink wink) — would be the concept album of 'Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band' by The Beatles. Their genius album is a masterpiece that is greatly enthusiastic, intense and aesthetically ambitious.

"Secondly, I must feed my Jackson hunger with Michael Jackson's 'HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book 1.' This album is not only a compilation of his early work, but the second disc is innovative, rebellious, loud, political, angry, direct and controversial. His lyrical brilliance sends me into a trance and makes everything around me disappear."

Her final choice? "I must entice my ears with the ultimate Queen of Rock & Roll — Tina Turner's 'Greatest Hits.' Her raw, broken, yet powerful voice sends chills down my spine with every honest word she sings."

We even asked American Idiot director Michael Mayer — whose taste is eclectic — to weigh in. Mayer's repeated listenings of Green Day's 2004 album "American Idiot" got his imagination spinning about the possibility of a musical theatre piece based on the punk songs. So, for a desert island pick, he named "American Idiot," adding, "Obviously!"

Michael Mayer
photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN
Being put on the spot to name titles seemed a frustration for the Tony winner. Why must there be limitations?

"I would bring, probably, [Elton John's] 'Goodbye, Yellow Brick Road.' I would bring — God, I'm just so, like, obsessed with Jack White at the moment. I'd probably bring everything he ever did… I would bring — oh, that's so hard! I would probably bring 'The Crane Wife' by The Decemberists. Honestly, I'd probably bring Carole King's 'Tapestry' or Joni Mitchell's 'Hejira,' one of those two. Or 'The Best of Laura Nyro,' maybe. Maybe that's what I would bring, 'cause that's a double album! Can I do that? And 'Judy at Carnegie Hall,' because I have to. Because it's the best live recording ever in the history of anything, and I'm committed to that!"

A few days later, Mayer amended his list in an email: "'Sgt. Pepper' would be on my list for sure!"

When he heard that Mayer got to amend, Gallagher said, "I'm already going over the ones I said, and I'm like, 'No, I should have said something different!'"

(Kenneth Jones is managing editor of Playbill.com. His pop picks for a desert island are "John Denver: The Wildlife Concert," "Joni Mitchell: Hits," k.d. lang's "Ingenue" and anything by Cheryl Wheeler. But his true heart belongs to John McGlinn's three-disc studio recording of Show Boat. Now you know.)