Top 10 Most Important Albums in Punk Music History

The Top Ten

1 Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables - Dead Kennedys

Can't get my head 'round this list. "most important" in what context? Influentially, artistically, commercially, politically, historically,...? I can honestly say, I like the entire Top 20 albums for various reasons, but can't understand in what way 'Sandinista' could be more important than 'Never mind the Bollocks' or even 'London Calling', while 'The Clash' (debut) isn't even in the Top 20. How can 'Nervous Breakdown' (excellent album) be #1? I haven't looked further than this page yet, but voted for this album, as I understand the importance in the way of influential, great musicianship, lyrics, innovative,... Maybe, you should make it clearer what importance stands for.

Great album. Was introduced to it as an angry 14 year old, being bullied at school and ostracised for my weird tastes in music and clothing. Blazing riffs, humour searing social commentary. In my opinion, the best punk band ever.

Weird mix of hardcore, surf, horror, American apple pie, left wing politics and buddy Holly... One of the greatest records of all time.

Left wing politics? LOL! More like NO wing politics. They criticize both sides. Most punk is non partisan. Sucks people slap political labels on EVERYTHING nowadays. - THC13

SUMmed up my early 80s angst about government and bcoming an adult.

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2 Nervous Breakdown - Black Flag

I have a Black Flag tattoo, and I have been to different countries and found people with the same tattoo all over the place. Sure, Ramones started this, the Sex Pistols added the craziness but Black Flag brought the power, rawness, and completely took it to a whole new level.

Original member Keith Morris was the lead singer on this. Glad he is finally back with the current incarnation of the band after almost 40 years.

Listen to everything else that was out at the time. Most punk bands still sounded like Television, Talking Heads, Modern Lovers etc. which are great bands, but this was the first release to really crank up the volume and aggression that we all associate with punk today.

A classic ep. Not really a full length album but the influence of this damn thing is massive! "I was so wasted! "

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3 Never Mind the Bollocks Here's the Sex Pistols - Sex Pistols

It's very easy to make the claim that the Sex Pistols were nothing more than a calculated way to sell a specific image to a targeted demographic because, well... it's kind of true. However, whether the Pistols were posing or not is almost irrelevant when it comes to the importance of Never Mind the Bollocks and the influence it had on punk bands to come. Even if the Sex Pistols weren't as big on anarchy as they claimed to be (although who says that they couldn't be disaffected with the government while also making money playing music? ), that doesn't change the very real anger and sense of danger that took a hold of future punk bands.

There's no getting around what you're saying here, except for myself, I would emphasize that anyone's insinuation that the Pistols were posers is completely irrelevant. If the album had the profound effect on later punk bands as you state, and with which I totally agree, then it becomes a moot point. I just listen to and enjoy the album man, all the conjecture about their level of commitment to Anarchy I will leave to the real posers. - Ned964

Not number one? Bollocks. Not a bad track on it, hasn't dated, still defiant, still daunting, still influential. If you don't remember the context of the time you can be forgiven for misunderstanding how crucial this album was - it was this album which altered the context. 40 years later and all other bands are still running to catch up. Number one in a league this band invented.

One of the greatest rock albums of all time. A game changer and cultural turning point.

The best

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4 Suffer - Bad Religion

This album reignited the punk sound during a time when the genre was in a bit of a slump (not to say nothing awesome was happening but...). It influenced so many bands after it, in sound and style. This album is as important today as it was when it was released.Bad Religion are a consistent and always relevant band. Amazing album by arguably the best punk band of all time.

Redefined Punk... how is this not number one?

While I consider "Against the Grain" and "Generator" to be superior albums as a whole, as far as importance in the history of punk rock here you have it.

The first punk album I bought. I don't know what about this classic album drew me to it but when I was 13 it was my most prized possession

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5 Rocket to Russia - The Ramones

One of their first albums that helped the genre.

Black Flag!? come on, without the ramones no boyfriend at all...but he, I miss The Stooges in this a billboard-poll or what!?

Unique. Uncomparable

If it wasn’t for the Ramones most of these bands wouldn’t even be here.

6 London Calling - The Clash

Best distillation of music, lyrics, thought and voice in all of punk. The Clash made an album for the ages. It resonates with both American punk and European.

This record marks the point where punk rock shed its limits. Before this, punk was a limited range of sounds, but after this, punk was an idea about expression.

A bedrock of punk rock, as relevant now as then and still hugely influential.

Sandinista is a fine album, but London Calling is like the gold standard.

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7 Milo Goes to College - Descendents

Obviously the kids here have not heard this, mystifying green day is listed however

This album should be top 5. From start to finish this album is a masterpiece. No!, ALL!

Love this album

This is the definition of Hardcore Punk. As punk as it gets. So punk in fact that there’s a song called “I’m Not A Punk”. That’s punk rock.

8 Ramones - Ramones

They shaped the entire genre. All the other bands on this list wouldn't exist without them.

Yep. I just ask myself where this would rank on a list voted on by only Punk bands of the late 70's and early 80's, it's the only way I can make sense of it - Ned964

Only because I couldn't vote for Bedtime for Democracy. Still, a very great album

Half of the others on this list would not even exist were it not for The Ramones!

Many of it starts right here and everything will end with Blitzkrieg Bop.

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9 In My Eyes - Minor Threat

Basically, If most punk albums changed the political view on their fans and made them wear different cloths, what Ian McKay did by singing the song "Straight Edge" is change their whole perception of what life is, in anthropological therms one could say that he ripped apart the the whole value system of punk kids and placed there the "Straight Edge" seed. The most important album in Punk history is this one.

Not as important as other albums so it's not as high.

Did you get it?

The best!

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10 Suicidal Tendencies - Suicidal Tendencies

Important because Suicidal is one of the creators of the genre crossover thrash.

Great crossover album/band

Important because of the song "Institutionalized" aka "All I Wanted Was A Pepsi".

It popularized crossover thrash.

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The Contenders

11 Bad Brains - Bad Brains

Influenced lots of hardcore punk bands.

This album changed my life

Absolutely killer. High voltage energy. Sleeve says it all

Opened my eyes to real energy and PMA

12 Energy - Operation Ivy

My favorite album of all time. Start to finish perfection.

Amazing album still listening to it today.

Great stuff.

13 Walk Among Us - Misfits

To this day the best album I have ever heard!

Best ever. My #1

Its amazing how one green day album was more influential than any of the misfits...smh that's just sad.

Lol. And a total insult to any ground floor punk sensibilities. - Ned964

14 Smash - The Offspring

Like "Dookie", this album was responsible for the 90's punk revival scene.

Post Nirvana... This album literally blew everyone away!

Smash opened a new world of music to me back in the days. So I consider it most important.

Great album, period!

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15 And Out Come the Wolves - Rancid

Classic, relevant, and still fresh!

No one does it better than Rancid, and Out Come the Wolves is their all-time best!

16 Mommy's Little Monster - Social Distortion

How this is below the offspring and green day is beyond me.

I lived this when it happened...real

In the top 20 for me so yeah.

Easily top 5...

17 Sandinista! - The Clash

A great album, but I still like London Calling better. I this is about pure punk albums, then the green album The Clash should be here.

Somewhat important to the genre.

"In the bay of pigs on 1961 - havana fought the Playboy in cuba sun"

Not like their other records content wise. Just not top 10

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18 Hear Nothing, See Nothing, Say Nothing - Discharge

An ear splitting album that many either Love or hate. I believe that this band and a few others kicked on the punk scene when in decline

Punk Rock without Rubbish!

Heaviest music back in the '82. Extremely infulential for extreme metal.

19 Dookie - Green Day

Popularized pop punk but didn't invent anything still felt like including it.

20 The Idiot - Iggy Pop

Very influential for the genre.

21 Group Sex - Circle Jerks

Important to a extent but not as important as other albums.

Solid all the way through. Keith kicking some more ass!


22 Damned Damned Damned - The Damned

The First of the Line.. and still rocking

New Rose, Neat Neat Neat says it all

23 Zen Arcade - Hüsker Dü Zen Arcade - Hüsker Dü

An astonishing record sonically, especially at the time.

24 Damaged - Black Flag
25 Inflammable Material - Stiff Little Fingers

The first album I ever bought! And still one of the best punk-bands ever!

This is the one

One of the albums I still listen to reguarly

SLF - without doubt one of the best bands out there

26 No Control - Bad Religion

Hearing this album never gets old. Just as fresh as it was in '89.

One of the albums that changed my life!

One of the best of Bad Religion!

27 The Clash - The Clash
28 (Gi) - Germs

Their only album, loud, raw, in your face and is very hard to believe it was in the late 70s. Darby Crash was punk!

Leaderless, Lordless, Loud

29 How to Clean Everything - Propagandhi

Snotty, political, and sometimes quite funny. My favorite albumn on the list, even though Bad Religion is my favorite band.

30 Punk in Drublic - Nofx

Quite catchy and fast. Manage to make the songs really different. Kind of timeless and still confuses people that have never heard people drum that fast.

One of the best album from the best punk band today

31 The Offspring - Offspring

Obviously important to early Offspring fans who had heard of them way before they even became famous with "Smash".

The Offspring sounded somewhat different in '89, but their self-titled debut album is actually great.

If you wanna talk about the real Offspring, it's this album!

Great opening track: "Jennifer Lost The War"

32 Raw Power - Iggy & the Stooges

Essential to everything that came after. Put the rage back in garage.

The first punk album, no questions asked.

This is the real father of punk.

I don't understand why this isn't no. 1 to be honest. It still rocks harder than any subsequent bands.

33 Double Nickels on the Dime - Minutemen

This CD (yes kids... Compact Disc) never leaves my car

34 Marquee Moon - Television

This album isn't really the sound we associate with punk today, and that is the thing that I absolutely love about it. So many kids in bands these days have a very strict understanding of what punk is weather its hardcore or pop-punk. Television is evidence that punk can be diverse and dare is say complicated.

I like for top 20

35 The Record - Fear

Best punk record ever! So many great songs and no misses

36 Out of Step - Minor Threat
37 Los Angeles - X

As the self acclaimed last American band I think X deserve their place on this list

I don’t see how X isn’t considered in the top 10. One of the most influential bands of the LA punk scene with longevity that counts.

38 Minor Threat - Minor Threat
39 Punks Not Dead - The Exploited
40 Don't Turn Away - Face to Face
41 New York Dolls - New York Dolls

Big influence on punk rock.

Were the originals of glam punk

42 The Adolescents - The Adolescents
43 Blondie - Blondie
44 The Age of Quarrel - Cro-Mags
45 Against the Grain - Bad Religion
46 S&M Airlines - Nofx

Late 80s NOFX will always be 10/10. Even if Fat Mike is somehow worse at singing than he is now lol

47 The Art of Drowning - Afi


48 Back from Samoa - Angry Samoans
49 Another Wasted Night - Gang Green
50 Boogadaboogadaboogada! - Screeching Weasel
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