Top Ten Punk Artists that Should Be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

I’ll start by saying I think The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is a pathetic joke. I don’t see it as legit and it is hard for me to take seriously. If they called themselves “The Music Hall of Fame” I wouldn’t be as bitter towards them. As of right now The Stooges, The Ramones, The Clash and The Sex Pistols are the only true legit punk bands in the HOF. You also have arguable bands like Blondie, Talking Heads and Green Day. A few on this list, like New York Dolls, Devo, and MC5, have been nominated but never inducted.

If you choose to participate on this list, keep in mind what the (supposed) criteria for The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is : “Performers become eligible for induction 25 years after the release of their first record. Criteria include the influence and significance of the artists’ contribution to the development and perpetuation of rock and roll.”
The Top Ten
1 Johnny Thunders John Anthony Genzale Jr. (July 15, 1952 – April 23, 1991), better known by his stage name Johnny Thunders, was an American rock and roll/punk rock guitarist, singer and songwriter. He came to prominence in the early 1970s as a member of the New York Dolls. He later played with The Heartbreakers and ...read more.

Great list with really great choices. I've always been aware of how shifty the lineup choices for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame have always been, especially since metalheads and progressive rock fans have always been unhappy with their lack of representation. However, it never really occurred to me until reading this list that punk rock also doesn't really receive a lot of representation in the Hall of Fame. When they pick their nominees, a lot of it comes down to what will sell them tickets at the induction ceremony, so a lot of the safer/more mainstream acts are going to get inducted. Unfortunately, I'm just not convinced that they're going to delve any further into inducting the pioneers of punk, at least not for the most part.

Sorry if that was a little long-winded. I just get frustrated at the Hall of Fame's desire to stick so firmly to the middle of the road.

I agree with your description the Rock and Roll hall of fame should really be called the music hall of fame or maybe the modern (as opposed to classical) music hall of fame.

They way this dude banged out his guitar...man. One of rock and roll’s greatest guitarist but also a talented singer/songwriter. To quote user Gg2000’s comment he left on my list “Top Ten Songs From Johnny Thunders & The Heartbrakers’ L.A.M.F.” Gg stated, “Johnny Thunders May have been one of the pioneers of punk rock, but he was one of the best straight up rock and rollers ever. R.I.P. Johnny; you should have stuck around for at least a little while longer.” Well put Gg. It’s absurd to me something titled The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame would not have Johnny Thunders as a member.

2 Black Flag Black Flag was an American punk rock band formed in 1976 in Hermosa Beach, California. Initially called Panic, the band was established by Greg Ginn, the guitarist, primary songwriter, and sole continuous member through multiple personnel changes in the band. They are widely considered to be one of ...read more.

Co-creators of the hardcore punk genre along with Middle Class. Even though Middle Class was first to release their EP “Out Of Vague”, I believe Black Flag had a stronger influence and catalogue of music. Great musicians like drummers Bill Stevenson and Chuck Biscuits, bassist Kira Roessler. Legendary frontmen Keith Morris and Henry Rollins. On top of that, band founder Greg Ginn is widely considered to be one of, if not the best guitarist in hardcore punk.

3 MC5 MC5 was an American rock band from Lincoln Park, Michigan, formed in 1964. The original band line-up consisted of vocalist Rob Tyner, guitarists Wayne Kramer and Fred "Sonic" Smith, bassist Michael Davis, and drummer Dennis Thompson.

One of the innovators of American punk rock but also a very important band to rock music. They pushed boundaries, especially for the times, and were known for great live performances. Their first three albums are regarded as “classics” by many. “Kick Out The Jams” is an icon for American rock and roll. Was nominated in 2003, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 but has yet to be inducted.

4 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.

One of my personal favorites. The people who really turned me onto punk in the early 90's, were also aware of the Rock and Roll hall of fames dissing of punk bands, even way back then, and had already developed a sour opinion of that whole mess the hall has become. This is a great list to me, as it echoes many of my thoughts on the matter. I just would add that personally I think that some bands that clearly deserve inclusion, will never be inducted, and in a sense, maybe that's ok. As for these great punk bands, and more, the whole movement within rock and roll was born out of breaking free from the established, and a last ditch effort to keep that aspect of the genre alive. I think its fairly clear that attempt failed in the broader sense, but the spirit of that movement lives on in people like you. And given all that, maybe it's not terribly important for true punk rock bands to be included in that farce, indeed, I suspect many of the band's we"re talking about rather like it on ...more

One of, if not the first, hardcore punk bands out of San Francisco California. Iconic name, logo and sound, the band has been named as a major inspiration and influence to many punk, metal, alternative and even hip hop groups and bands. Probably the first hardcore punk band to get popular without being or going mainstream. I bet most people 60 years old and under have at least heard of the Dead Kennedys. They basically are the first hardcore punk bands that were on the minds or heard of by the general public.

My all-time favorite punk band

5 The Cramps

Creators of the psychobilly genre. Long career spanning 33 years (1976 - 2009) releasing 9 studio albums, 2 live albums and 24 singles. One of punk’s best live bands. Husband and wife core with Lux Interior (R.I.P.) being one of punk’s greatest frontman and Poison Ivy one of rock music best female guitarist. Not just obviously influential to the psychobilly genre but legendary punk’s like Henry Rollins, Ian MacKaye and the band Bad Brains have named them as a major influence and inspiration.

6 New York Dolls

Important band in rock music history who style, musically and fashionably, was an influence to many band from many genres. Their first two albums are among the most popular cult records in rock and roll history. The band also spawned, in my opinion, the greatest punk guitarist ever in Johnny Thunders. The band was nominated in 2001 but not inducted.

7 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.

Great band, great music. One of the first bands to get the attention of the “mainstream’ and help the spread of punk music. A major influence on not only punk but new wave and, along with The Undertones, power pop. So all you “pop-punk” fans (which is power pop re-packaged and re-labeled to sell,sell,sell $ and to water down punk so it’s not so “dangerous”) should checkout and thank the Buzzcocks (and The Undertones).

8 Discharge Discharge are a British musical group formed in 1977 by Terence "Tezz" Roberts and Royston "Rainy" Wainwright. While the band has had substantial line-up changes over its history, the classic line-up from the early 1980s featured bassist Wainwright, drummer Gary Maloney, Anthony "Bones" Roberts playing ...read more.

Originators of “D-Beat” style of hardcore punk which lead to the creation of the crust punk and grindcore sub-genres. Also named by many metal bands, such as Metallica, as a major influence being that their style paved the way for thrash and black metal. I think a lot of people don’t realize the influence this band has on multiple scenes and genres.

9 The Damned

A band that was robbed of history. As a punk it kinda annoys me to keep hearing The Sex Pistol are the first punk band. They're not. Despite what that pretentious ego-maniac Johnny Rotten tries to tell you, The Pistols are not even the first punk band from the U.K. In 1976, The Damned "New Rose" single was released over a month before The Pistols "Anarchy in the U.K." Now I'm not saying The Pistols aren't important to punk rock cause they absolutely are. They brought a "bigger attitude" to the lyrics, vocals and sound to punk rock but they're not the first punk band, just the first to really "break out". Mostly due to all the media attention. Back to The Damned, who are one U.K.'s first punk bands and majorly influential to many genres (punk, goth, alternative, new wave). Long career with a deep catalogue of music of many genres and definitely one of the most important punk bands ever.

10 Devo Devo is an American rock band from Akron, Ohio formed in 1973. Their classic lineup consisted of two sets of brothers, the Mothersbaughs and the Casales, along with Alan Myers. The band had a No. 14 Billboard chart hit in 1980 with the single "Whip It", the song that gave the band mainstream popularity. ...read more.

Was lucky enough to see these cats in the "7th Street Entry" at the famous "First Avenue" in Minneapolis. The "Entry" is a small side room that attracts some surprisingly big acts, and its not for the payday, as the room will only hold roughly 100 folks. I'd venture to guess that bands play the room strictly for the love of performing, and to be in a more intimate setting with their fans. It was a great show, and I was there for the stage set-up, and found it amusing that their crew wrapped roll upon roll of saran wrap in front of the stage so that you could see the band members come out, but you couldn't quite make them out. They slowly removed the saran wrap over the course of the first few songs, and they opened with "Mongoloid", perhaps my favorite jam by the band, so on a personal level, it was a kick ass show... Does Devo belong in the Hall? Given the highly original and important message from the band, and the tight jams both live and in studio, I'd say Hell yah! From that ...more

Widely successful synth-punk/post-punk/new wave band from Akron Ohio. Culturally significant with a career spanning 42 active years and still going. Reached the Billboard charts on many occasions peaking in the album chart at no.22 with “Freedom Of Choice” and the single from that album “Whip It” peaking at no.8. Was nominated in 2019 but not inducted.

The Contenders
11 Subhumans

One of the great UK punk bands, Saw them last September (9/9/19) one of the best punk show's I've been to.

12 The Modern Lovers

Legit one of the most important Boston punk bands.

13 Minor Threat Minor Threat was an American hardcore punk band, formed in 1980 in Washington, D.C. by vocalist Ian MacKaye and drummer Jeff Nelson.

100% should be in the hall of fame. Four releases and still end up as one of the most influential bands in the punk scene.

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