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.

UK punk, all down to these, end of.

Yes you got this one right although they should have got number 1 all time punk bands as well

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.

Best concert ever at Red Rocks, Denver in 1996.
'You must have lungs like moskitos'

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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.

Way better than the Sex Pistols

The Pistols may smash your head against the wall, but the clash will give you the reason.

Should I stay or should I go

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

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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.

Reaally good

4 Siouxsie & The Banshees Siouxsie & The Banshees Siouxsie and the Banshees were an English rock band, formed in London in 1976 by vocalist Siouxsie Sioux and bass guitarist Steven Severin. They have been widely influential, both over their contemporaries and with later acts.

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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5 Stiff Little Fingers

As good today as they were way back then

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

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

Best punk band of all time.

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6 Public Image Ltd.

John lydon is the king of punk.

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

7 The Damned

Saw them in 1976, better than the pistols and clash at that time, closer to the Detroit sound than the rest

Best group of any generation gigs are still amazing

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?

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

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8 Crass

Most woke punk band

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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9 Sham 69

Not in top 10 where are the likes of ruts skids undertones!

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!

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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

Holiday in Cambodia, all day, every day.

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

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The Contenders

11 Buzzcocks Buzzcocks Buzzcocks are an English punk rock band formed in Bolton, England in 1976 by singer-songwriter-guitarist Pete Shelley and singer-songwriter Howard Devoto.

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!

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12 Magazine

Fantastic + original

Great band. Great sound brilliant

Excellent energy and mood they sounded unique

13 The Stranglers

Best band from the punk era fact very talented

Love them since 1977

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

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14 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!

15 The Fall The Fall The Fall were an English post-punk band, formed in 1976 in Prestwich, Greater Manchester. They underwent many line up changes, with vocalist and founder Mark E.

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

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

Why tf is Crass nb 7 and Subhumans 18? They deserve way better!

#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 The Jam were an English mod revival/punk rock band during the 1970s and early 1980s, which formed in 1972 at Sheerwater Secondary School in Woking, in the county of Surrey.

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.

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20 Discharge Discharge Discharge are a British musical group formed in 1977 by Terence "Tezz" Roberts and Royston "Rainy" Wainwright.

The best hardcore punk group bar none - spawned thrash metal

Best band ever

21 U.K. Subs

Gave me the punk injection 35 years ago and they burnt down the house tonight in innsbruck!

Second best punk band evet

Punk still, punk forever! Charlie Harper rules!

Should have been no1

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22 X-Ray Spex

If more people heard her voice, listened to their music and listened to her lyrics, then Poly would be recognised ad the tragic punk genius she was. She made punk beautiful and intelligent. Listen to her the vote for her

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

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23 The Ruts

Fine band with great lyrics

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!

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24 Havana 3am
25 Cock Sparrer

The best.

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

The great band

Best ever skinhead band # oioioi

26 Adicts

It's a pity that this band languishes so low on this list...

Best punk band ever!

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

The adicts should be way higher up the list dude!

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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

Love them

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.

Should be way higher, love the earlier stuff.

29 The Anti-Nowhere League

So what...anthem.

'I Hate People' surely one of the most underrated punk tracks of all time!

So they are 41 on the list, SO WHAT?

Animal and co made some classics
We are the league one of the best punk albums made

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30 The Undertones

"You got my number" - One of the greatest punk songs of all time!

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

In my top 10 - so many brilliant songs.

Great band

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31 999


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.

32 Cockney Rejects

Definitely should be in top 10.. great band

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

33 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

34 Rezillos

A pure fun machine and awesome bass playing.

35 The Slits

The slits are amazing and should be right up there next to the clash, they were very similar bands just people didn't like the slits as much because they were women. In the 70s they could get their heads, rebellious dangerous male bands, but not dangerous women.

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

36 The Partisans

Great band! Deserve a higher spot on the list!

37 The Vibrators


Great stuff! Many many fine punk pieces!

38 Ad-nauseam

Top band

Awesome uk 82 punk what a vocalist

Portsmouth based punk band
Album.. Greatesy show on earth
Single.. Brain strom E. P

39 Madness

Madness is not punk, more ska

Not to mention the specials are a better ska band.

40 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.

A punk influence, but not punk.

Where is The Cure? ?

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

41 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.

42 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.

43 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.

Love the adverts the first album is a must T.V. Smith is still great live

44 Wire

Wire's first album 'Pink Flag' 1977 on the Harvest label is one of the best albums I have ever heard, the tracks and productions are just raw. They are up there with Sex Pistols Anarchy in the UK. Future albums not up to scratch though too refined and not true raw punk.

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

The Fly! LOVE it!

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

45 Blitz

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

46 Argy Bargy
47 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.

He did it his way

Remember climbing the rigging what a weird song man

Just a tad overrated...

48 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.

49 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...

Best punk band ever Jobson was awesome doing the kick. Strength Through Joy

50 The Lurkers

Awesome grung

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List Stats

1,000 votes
73 listings
9 years, 190 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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