Tom: The story behind that is Mark read a letter someone sent him as an email, that a kid wrote to his parents before he committed suicide. "We kind of got together and wrote this sad, slow song. It came out sadder than we ever thought it would, which is good too. Any song that moves you is good. Some people listen to it and go 'Wow, that's a real bum-out of a song.' But it's one of those things, a story of a kid not being happy in his life, crossed with us being really lonely on tour. At the end of it there's a better way out, there are better things to do than killing yourself." -Mark Hoppus
"Adam's Song" is commonly referred to as the song when Blink-182 got "serious", being their first well-known slow-paced baker. The song is placed in between the catchy and fast-paced songs "Dysentery Gary" and "All the Small Things".
The song makes a reference to "Come as You Are" by Nirvana, which includes the lyric "Take your time, hurry up, the choice is yours, don't be late." "Adam's Song," in turn, includes the lyric "I took my time, I hurried up, The choice was mine, I didn't think enough."
The music video is a melancholic montage of the band's past, showing childhood photos of the band, while playing in a large warehouse room. It was later self-parodied in Man Overboard.
It was once thought that the website AdamsLetter.com featured the inspiration behind the song, though this was later revealed as a fictitious story, and any "resemblance between the characters, places, and events to any real people is purely coincidental." Tom joked on German TV that the Adam in a question "was an old cowboy war hero who got his nuts shot off, but came through". The title is actually an homage to a Mr. Show with Bob and David sketch, featuring a boy who attempts suicide after listening to his favorite band.
The song caused a stir in 2000 when it was set to replay indefinitely on a nearby stereo as 17-year-old Greg Barnes, a survivor of the Columbine High School massacre, hanged himself in the garage of his family's home.
During their 2009 summer tour, after the passing of DJ AM, whose real name is Adam Goldstein, Blink-182 stopped playing "Adam's Song" for the remainder of the tour, and have so far refused to play it at any of their shows. In 2012 during a Reddit AMA (ask me anything) Hoppus stated that the song may be "permanently retired" from their setlist because of the history attached to it.