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 Ten

1 Sex Pistols Sex Pistols The 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


V 17 Comments
2 The Clash The Clash The 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!

Loved everything about the band. cetera.

V 16 Comments
3 Joy Division Joy Division Joy 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.

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

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

4 Siouxsie & The Banshees Siouxsie & 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.

Out off this world thanks to the kings the pistols

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.

Masters of the bizarre

V 5 Comments
5 Stiff Little Fingers

Inflammable Material still blows me away

Inflammable material is still one of the best albums of all time, still mind blowing to any generation

Best punk band of all time.

Stiff little fingers music makes me feel angry and full of Irish Pride! Matt Kneas-

V 11 Comments
6 Public Image Ltd.

There not really punk there new wave - Darby_Crash

I reckon they're way more far out there and much darker than your average new wave band... - Erucu

V 1 Comment
7 Crass

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!

The best bar none

8 The 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!

I don't understand why Clash is above this band... Clash is more post punk than punk rock, but this band... 100% punk rock! - somekindofaguy

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

V 4 Comments
9 Sham 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.

"If the kids are united...", nothing else to say!

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!

Excellent band.

V 1 Comment
10 Dead Kennedys Dead Kennedys Dead 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.

Dead Kennedys? hell yeah!

The Contenders

11 Buzzcocks

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

The Punk Beatles! Absolute classics were made by these guys. Even better than the Clash in my opinion!

V 2 Comments
12 Magazine

Great band. Great sound brilliant

Excellent energy and mood they sounded unique

13 Chelsea

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!

14 The Fall

Mark E Smith is the longest touring punk of all time. The Fall originally forming in 1976 have toured every year around the world, bringing out at least one album a year to this day. While all other bands on this list have either gone or split and reformed Mark E Smith's The Fall have not! Good to see they made this list, but hell 14th! And The Stranglers and Buzzcocks glam new romantic bands The Damned, Siouxsie & The Banshees and below skinhead band Sham 69?

big smiles

15 The 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.

By far and away better than any other punk band

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

Easily the best group on this list.

V 8 Comments
16 Abrasive Wheels

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

Punk at its finest, always overlooked!

17 Peter 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!

They play hard and hateful.

Simply the best

18 Subhumans

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

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

19 The Jam The Jam

This band mixed beat lyrics teenage angst and style to deliver social and political relevance in hard hitting 3 minute hits. not punk but still important but still impact. Red Cow.

Their punk stuff, which is on their first couple albums, is not their best work, but it is still damn good and better than some of the stuff above them on this list. -James Richards

The Jam 28th? What? Listen to the "In The City" album from '77

More Mod than Punk, but Mod with a hard edge and fantastic lyrics. Saw them in much energy.

V 3 Comments
20 Discharge

The best hardcore punk group bar none - spawned thrash metal

Best band ever

21 U.K. Subs

Should have been no1

Best live act out still rocks

Best punk band ever what a guitarist.

Brill band live saw them 79 at aylesbury friars

V 5 Comments
22 The Ruts

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

Cruelly cut short by Malcolm Owen's heroin addiction, but The Crack is probably the best punk album, end to end, especially those searing first four songs.

Babylon's burning is an absolute classic! Love it so much!

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.

23 Havana 3am
24 Adicts

The longest surviving punk band with the original line up! Should be way higher!

The adicts should be way higher up the list dude!

Needs to be way higher up

Best punk band ever!

V 1 Comment
25 Cock Sparrer

Better than any band on this list. Shock Troops for the win.

The great band

Best ever skinhead band # oioioi

26 X-Ray Spex

X-Ray Spex represent the punk ethos, their sound, Image and attitude. Poly Styrene is a role model for young women.

What an amazing and complex woman Poly was. Germ free adolescent is years ahead of its time and identity is a feminist roar against stereotyping and sung with such raw passion. Pure punk genius

Yeah they only have one album but that one album is great polystyrenes voice

Nothing to say but OH BONDAGE UP YOURS!

V 1 Comment
27 The Exploited

What? The Exploited not even in there?! Troops of Tomorrow, enough said and the band are still going strong, better, heavier and with more attitude than ever before. OK so the rawness of the true punk sound is long gone but I challenge anyone to find fault in creating anarchy. Wattie you are THE ANTI-HERO!

Punks not dead, super heavy weight champion of the world punk album ever! FACT!

By far the best hard core band for venting some rage!

Best band ever

28 The Only Ones

Should be way higher, love the earlier stuff.

Very Underrated, most people only know the brilliant another girl another planet but so. Many other great songs. Peter Perret is a genius. Listen to the even serpents shine album.

29 999

Saw them 4 times this year and Nick Cash proudly keeps reminding everybody "40 years of being a true punk-band", rightfully so. They're still amazing and songs like 'Homicide', 'Emergency' and 'Nasty, Nasty' are timeless classics.


30 The Partisans

Great band! Deserve a higher spot on the list!

31 Cockney Rejects

Far and away the best Punk band / any band of all time, and still going more than 25 years later... awesome...

32 The Vibrators

Great stuff! Many many fine punk pieces!

33 The Adverts

Not the greatest musicians but interesting songs played to the best of their abilities with witty lyrics from the heart.

Songs that mattered to a teen in the late 70s still sound good now

Just watch the documentary 'We who wait', to realize that T.V. smith is the true punk legend, living and breathing the real spirit of punk every day, And, he's also a great guitarist.

V 1 Comment
34 The Drones

Only had one album released called Further Temptations. Included great songs like City Drones, Sad So Sad, and Lookalikes. On my Top 5 list for Best UK Punk Lp.

35 Ad-nauseam
36 Madness

Madness is not punk, more ska

Not to mention the specials are a better ska band.

37 Rezillos

A pure fun machine and awesome bass playing.

38 The Undertones

Good melodic songwriting and catchy riffs. Great punk pop band.

In my top 10 - so many brilliant songs.

Great band

Should be at least in the top five 😜

39 Angelic Upstarts

Can't believe Angelic Upstarts, 999 and The Lurkers are not in the Top 20. Hard to imagine the British Punk-Scene of the 70's without Nick Cash or Mensi.

Should be top 5

40 Conflict

I am shocked to the core that Conflict and their seminal album the ungovernable force isn't anywhere in the list considering they influenced a lot of bands included. The most influential Anarcho punk band after Crass. If you don't know you weren't there.

41 Richard Hell & the Voidoids

Richard Hell was not British he is a yank.

42 Ian Dury and The Blockheads

One of my all time favorites! Wore out the album, New boots and panties.

Blockheads still touring 2104 amazing live band - without Ian of course.

Blockheads...What a Tune.

43 Skids

How madness and the pogues make the list and the Skids be omitted is beyond me...

The first two albums are classics.

The Skids 39th?! This gets crazier. BELOW say Madness in a PUNK list. Skids should be Top 10 - Stuart Adamson influenced SO many groups - eg U2, Manics...

V 1 Comment
44 Wire

Wire, Chelsea, The Stranglers, The Jam...all in the top ten!

Three immaculate punk through to post-punk albums in the 70s - and they still refuse to confirm as they've reformed and kept producing off the wall stuff.

Seriously, these guys were / are amazing

V 1 Comment
45 The Cure The Cure The Cure are an English rock band formed in Crawley, West Sussex, in 1976. The band has experienced several line-up changes, with vocalist, guitarist and principal songwriter Robert Smith being the only constant member.

Where is The Cure? ?

A punk influence, but not punk.

Since when is " The Cure " concidered as punk rock? This is cold wave, not punk!

46 Blitz

Voice Of A Generation, one of the 80's best punk albums.

47 Chron Gen

I'm so glad they've reformed and touring again. Gonna see them at Leeds Punk Xmas (b4 Angelic Upstarts) and also have been confirmed to play Rebellion 2016 (in Blackpool).

Outlaw; best 80's punk single

Yeah, Outlaw is a great single!

48 Argy Bargy
49 Sid Vicious Sid Vicious John Beverly, born John Simon Ritchie, later named Sid Vicious, was an English musician, most famous as the bass guitarist of the influential punk rock band the Sex Pistols, and notorious for his arrest for the alleged murder of his girlfriend, Nancy Spungen.

Just a tad overrated...

He did it his way

Remember climbing the rigging what a weird song man

50 The Slits

The Slits were vital for all girl bands with attitude that came out afterwards.

PSearch List

Recommended Lists