Best British Punk Rock Bands From the '70s and '80s

Here is a list of some of the best Punk Rock to come out of Britain. If you have any more bands to add to this list, feel free to.

The Top TenXW

1Sex PistolsThe Sex Pistols were an English punk rock band formed in London in 1975. Although they initially lasted just two and a half years and produced only four singles and one studio album, Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols, they are considered one of the most influential acts in the history more.

The inspiration for almost every British punk band (including The Clash). They did what punk bands are meant to do - burn up after their first album.

the sex pistols were the real definition of punk rock... everyone else on this list is great, but the sex pistols just took it to a whole other level.

What the hell would we be listening nowadays if the sex pistols never happened, I still listen to never mind the bollocks weekly,
And the live album from their 1996 Finsbury park filthy lucre tour,
If you ain't heard it get yourself a copy quick

Never Mind The Bollocks remains among the best and most influential punk album of all time - all made their money and living lavish lifestyles, good for them!

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2The ClashThe Clash were an English punk rock band that formed in 1976 as part of the original wave of British punk.

These bands are all great but you just can't beat the clash

The clash was revolutionary for punk. They took punk to new places. The clash are the gods of punk. Go the clash you deserve number one!

The Clash are well deserving of this spot, just listen to London Calling album and their debut album. America has Ramones and England has Clash!

The Clash = punk rock, punk rock = The clash

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3Joy DivisionJoy Division were an English rock band formed in 1976 in Salford, Greater Manchester. Originally named Warsaw, the band consisted of singer Ian Curtis, guitarist and keyboardist Bernard Sumner, bassist Peter Hook, and drummer Stephen Morris.

The music is a not anger and energy but mood and expression.

This is not punk! It's post-punk new wave.

Hands down, best punk rock band ever! - ParasN2000

4Siouxsie & The Banshees

Spellbound is a masterpiece and whenever I'm born way after the 80's I'm in love with this band. I sometimes wish I was born in the 80's to see them live and hear them on radio.

After a less than promising start -notably the dismal and amateurish 'Join Hands', from 1980's Kaleidoscope onwards they couldn't put a foot wrong and ended up both punk's longest (original) survivors and one of the most creative outfits the UK has ever produced.

Out off this world thanks to the kings the pistols

'The Scream' remains one of the best debut-albums of all time.

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5Stiff Little Fingers

I'm pretty sure they are Northern Irish. Yeah they started in Belfast.

Inflammable Material still blows me away

Working class people taking control

The best thing to come out of Belfast in the 70's

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6Public Image Ltd.

There not really punk there new wave - Darby_Crash

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They stuck to their punk rocky values!

The clash, the adicts, the damned and crass

Excuse me but you obviously haven't heard Sham 69!

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8The Damned

The Damned brought out the first TRUE punk record, New Rose. Full of energy, full of bite and great beat to pogo to. What more do you want?

Classic versatile group that have proven to inspire many modern groups with there lyrics and still popular today on the goth punk scene.
To top it all the unique voice of Dave Vanian!

So emotional powerful and melodic at the same time. The best!

Crap songs, crap musicians and crap lyrics...all in all utter crap!

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9Sham 69

No question...the best punk band and still doing it in 2015. From the heart and no bull, no other band ever told it from the heart like Sham 69. Always and Forever.

Sham 69 told it as it really was. Still doing it nearly 40 years on! Pursey and Parsons legends. We come from places you don't wanna go! No other band comes close. The greatest band that ever lived!

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10Dead KennedysDead Kennedys are an American hardcore punk band formed in San Francisco, California in 1978. The band was one of the first American hardcore bands to make a significant impact in the United Kingdom.

Dead Kennedy's aren't British, they're American

So punk they sneak onto a british list

They are so great, they would top this list anyways.

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The Contenders


Unique lyrics, catchy beat and just enough anger to quench your rage.

One of the best early punk rock bands and there music actually tells a story not just a bunch of works!

Their combined singles (Singles Going Steady) show their real strength

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Excellent energy and mood they sounded unique

Great band. Great sound brilliant


Glad to see them in the top 20, as they're often terribly overlooked.

One of the few bands whose music has gotten better in recent years, still touring, still Gene!

14The Stranglers

Put their later material to one side for a moment... Anyone who saw The Stranglers in their early years would've witnessed 'punk' at it's very finest.

They were too old to be punks, too outrageous not to be. Brilliant band.

By far and away better than any other punk band

Big girl in a red dress!

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15The Fall
16Abrasive Wheels

Total class band.not enough respect given to this band by the punk scene.

17Peter and the Test Tube Babies

Good, fun, live band. Have done several notably albums in their type. Peter is a proper character while Del is a guitar god!

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The best hardcore punk group bar none - spawned thrash metal


#1. Still together today. Way more integrity than short lived junkies.

Still sound as good now as they did back in the day.

20The Ruts

Babylon's Burning - On of the best ever Punk songs!

Top band - a case of what could have been had the lead singer not OD'd, have all the tunes and were/are exceptional musicians.

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Related Lists

Top Ten Hard Rock Bands from the 70s, 80s, and 90s Top Ten Rock Bands That Were Active During the '70s, '80s, '90s, and '00s Best British Rock Bands of 70s Top Ten Best 80s Punk Rock Bands Best Punk Rock Bands of 70s

List StatsUpdated 26 May 2016

700 votes
71 listings
6 years, 78 days old

Top Remixes

1. Joy Division
2. Siouxsie & The Banshees
3. Sex Pistols
1. The Clash
2. Sex Pistols
3. Stiff Little Fingers



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