Top 10 Most Important Albums in Punk Music History

The Top Ten
1 Ramones - Ramones Ramones - Ramones Product Image

I know... Iggy, the dolls, the velvet underground, paved the way. But I was there, this started it, this made punk take off. Now check out all the other albums, we've heard this one enough.

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

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!

2 Never Mind the Bollocks Here's the Sex Pistols - Sex Pistols Never Mind the Bollocks Here's the Sex Pistols - Sex Pistols Product Image

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.

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.

The Punk album! Stands up well today as it did then. In my humble opinion, the only albums that even come close to this are Damned Damned Damned, The Clash (UK original version) and any of the first four Ramones albums. On what planet could Sandinista be regarded as a better album than any of these? (its higher in this poll at time of writing this)

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

3 Raw Power - Iggy & the Stooges Raw Power - Iggy & the Stooges Product Image

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.

4 Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables - Dead Kennedys Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables - Dead Kennedys Product Image

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.

The Dead Kennedys pointed my life down a trajectory that I have yet to recover from. If that's not influential, I don't know what is.

5 The Clash - The Clash The Clash - The Clash Product Image
6 Nervous Breakdown - Black Flag Nervous Breakdown - Black Flag Product Image

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.

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.

Black Flag was one of the punk bands that all the lesser known punk bands looked to for a lot of influence. This EP dropped in 78 I believe and it's killer. Glad I own a vinyl copy.

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.

7 New York Dolls - New York Dolls New York Dolls - New York Dolls Product Image

Were the originals of glam punk

Big influence on punk rock.

8 Rocket to Russia - The Ramones Rocket to Russia - The Ramones Product Image

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

One of their first albums that helped the genre.

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

Unique. Uncomparable

9 Kick Out the Jams - Mc5 Kick Out the Jams - Mc5 Product Image

First punk album (1969).
Sorry for the double, but the first I added didn't have the band's name with it.

10 London Calling - The Clash London Calling - The Clash Product Image

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.

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 album should be in the top five of the all time best albums, so why it's down at #12 below Sandinista! I cannot understand.

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

The Contenders
11 L.A.M.F. - Johnny Thunders & the Heartbreakers L.A.M.F. - Johnny Thunders & the Heartbreakers Product Image
12 Suffer - Bad Religion Suffer - Bad Religion Product Image

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.

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

It brought punk rock back into a sane state back when I was 6 and still is the best album on our rotating ball.

13 Damned Damned Damned - The Damned Damned Damned Damned - The Damned Product Image

The First of the Line.. and still rocking

New Rose, Neat Neat Neat says it all

14 Milo Goes to College - Descendents Milo Goes to College - Descendents Product Image

Influential, but not necessarily for what people in the comments here say. I'd say it was more important in influencing skatepunk and pop-punk, with love songs and themes of angst. It is still a Hardcore album, but it is much less heavy than your typical hardcore album. More melodis. That's what makes it stand out. Also, it's catchy. And great overall.

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

15 Destroy All Music - The Weirdos Destroy All Music - The Weirdos Product Image
16 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.

Should be the 1st

Did you get it?

17 Suicidal Tendencies - Suicidal Tendencies Suicidal Tendencies - Suicidal Tendencies Product Image

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

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

It popularized crossover thrash.

A milestone for punk / hardcore

18 Bad Brains - Bad Brains Bad Brains - Bad Brains Product Image

Absolutely killer. High voltage energy. Sleeve says it all

Influenced lots of hardcore punk bands.

This album changed my life

Opened my eyes to real energy and PMA

19 Energy - Operation Ivy Energy - Operation Ivy Product Image

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

Amazing album still listening to it today.

20 Walk Among Us - Misfits Walk Among Us - Misfits Product Image

To this day the best album I have ever heard!

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

Best ever. My #1

21 Smash - The Offspring Smash - The Offspring Product Image

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

I grew up on The Offspring. Bad Habit, Gotta Get Away, Self Esteem... some of my favourites to this day.

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

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

22 And Out Come the Wolves - Rancid And Out Come the Wolves - Rancid Product Image

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

Classic, relevant, and still fresh!

23 Mommy's Little Monster - Social Distortion Mommy's Little Monster - Social Distortion Product Image

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.

24 Sandinista! - The Clash Sandinista! - The Clash Product Image

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.

"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

My first Clash album then worked my way back

25 Hear Nothing, See Nothing, Say Nothing - Discharge Hear Nothing, See Nothing, Say Nothing - Discharge Product Image

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

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

Punk Rock without Rubbish!

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