Top 10 Best Punk Rock BandsBorn in the gritty '70s, punk rock has been flipping the bird to mainstream music for decades, and it's still as rebellious as ever. With its DIY spirit, it's inspired hordes of artists to pick up a guitar or drumsticks and say "screw you" to the man.
So what makes a punk band legendary? Is it the raw energy that turns a gig into a sweaty mosh pit? Or is it the earworm hooks that you can't get outta your head? No matter what you're into, there's no shortage of kickass punk bands that have shredded stages and left their mark on the scene.
Uh, I don't really understand how anyone who is a true fan of punk rock could place a lot of these bands on any type of list that has anything to do with punk rock. Ask Billy Joe who he thinks is the best punk rock band ever. He might put his band in the top 25, definitely not number 1 though. Come on, people, do some research. Papa Roach, All-American Rejects, Simple Plan, etc., are not punk rock bands by any standard. Punk rock bands should not be judged or rated according to record sales either. That defeats the purpose of what punk rock stands for. I suggest some type of screening process before people can vote, because without education there is ignorance. Thank you, Bad Religion, Ramones, Sex Pistols, Dead Kennedys, Op Ivy, Rancid, Guttermouth, Strung Out, The Misfits, etc. Most are on this list, just not where they deserve to be. Live long, punk rock. Pop rock should not be on this list.
Their music is so meaningful. It delves into topics like government, politics, and religion. Billie Joe Armstrong has a great voice that has remained consistent over the years. When it comes to bassists, I believe Mike Dirnt is the best bass player in the history of punk rock. Tre Cool is also the best drummer in the history of punk rock, as confirmed by Billie Joe Armstrong during their Bullet in a Bible concert.
Green Day is unquestionably the best punk rock band out there. Billie Joe Armstrong has influenced many people in how they write music. He has inspired others to take up the guitar, and even has a signature model with Gibson Guitars.
Mike Dirnt is renowned for his bass guitar riffs, licks, and techniques. It's no surprise that he has been nominated for the title of the world's best bassist of all time. He even has a signature bass made by Fender.
As for Tre Cool, where do you even begin? He's incredibly funny and highly skilled on the drums. Who would have thought that a German kid, raised in a hippie environment, would grow up to play American punk rock drums?
Okay, here is the point. We have to go back in time and consider the context. The Sex Pistols had one official album and three official years of existence, probably the shortest career of a punk band. But what they did was pure honesty. And if you put it in the period and political state of England, they were the first band that ever did it with such a "straight-in-your-face" approach as the Pistols did. After 30 years, they are known all over the world. Keep in mind, they never went mainstream or radio-friendly like all those new poser bands did: Offspring, Green Day, Good Charlotte. They all sold out and use punk only for its attractive side. They are nothing more than rich kids making money with major record labels. Pistols rule. It's as simple as that.
The Sex Pistols were not the most technically proficient musicians. There's no arguing that. And they only had one album. But they had everything else that mattered. They had the look, the attitude, and the bad hygiene, as well as smoking, drugs, and alcohol. Out of all the punk bands I can think of, the Sex Pistols were the most iconic. When you think of punk, you think of Sid Vicious and Johnny Rotten. "Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols" is one of the most important albums in rock history, and "God Save the Queen" and "Anarchy in the U.K." are essential songs. They brought punk to the press, and they are everything your parents didn't want you to become. That's why they were perfect.
Their music is so iconic and still feels so fresh and clear! I respect the Sex Pistols for their role in the creation of the punk industry, but many people forget the impact of The Clash. To be honest, the Sex Pistols sounded a bit off-tune in some of their songs. For Vicious's sake, they only had one album! The Ramones are good, but their songs are a little bit too repetitive. Green Day is good, but they are not the best band on this list. In my opinion, The Clash should at least be at the top. Green Day should be in 4th or 3rd place, Ramones 2nd, and Sex Pistols 4th or 3rd. The battle for 3rd should be between impact on the industry and quality.
To me, The Clash isn't just the best punk band ever. They are the most ambitious, most versatile, and overall best band of all time. Take, for instance, their third album London Calling. In my opinion, you can take almost any song on that album, put it on 75-80% of albums ever made, and it would be the best song on the album. Their fourth album, Sandinista!, despite not being my favorite album ever, earns my respect for covering many different styles, including rap, which wasn't popular yet. Their first two albums are awesome too. Their last two albums weren't too great, but they had some good songs on them.
Undoubtedly, the most intelligent and meaningful punk rock band out there is Bad Religion. Their lyrics put all others to shame, never dumbing them down despite knowing that intelligent music is not popular. This is evident from the popularity of bands such as Sum 41, The Offspring, and Green Day. They are also some of the most influential, inspiring artists like Green Day, the Offspring, and Rise Against. The Offspring and Rise Against deserve a top 10 slot. I'm only 19, but I've been listening to punk my entire life. If any band deserves the title of Best Punk Rock Band, it would be Bad Religion.
If I were picking the top ten punk bands, it would be:
1. The Ramones
2. The Offspring
3. Bad Religion
4. Dead Kennedys
5. The Descendents
The Ramones are first because they created the genre. The Offspring was one of the bands that kept punk alive. Bad Religion inspired many of the bands on this list. Dead Kennedys are the best hardcore punk band. The Descendents are one of the punk bands that inspired a lot of different bands.
6. Bad Brains
9. Social Distortion
10. Green Day
There are still a lot of great punk bands that are not getting the recognition they deserve.
Punk is really dead because I see all those girly love song bands at the top of the list, and Dead Kennedys are at Number 13? Jello Biafra is one of the best inspirational figures of punk rock. I could call him the best person in the entire world. He's 54 now but has not yet abandoned his ideals.
Look at all those "hardcore punk" band members from the '80s. They are probably sitting behind a table doing a lame-ass job. Jello is trying to get his message out to the world as a spoken word artist. He aims to help people free themselves from the chains society has placed around them. He's promoting free speech and free thought.
If you've never listened to Dead Kennedys before, you should. But don't listen to the Dead Kennedys of 2012. For Jello, songs were never about money. He left the band not because he fought with his band members, but because people coming to their concerts were dumb metalheads with no brains, and he couldn't get his message out.
The "New Dead Kennedys" suck. They actually changed the "MTV Get Off the Air" song to "MP3 Get Off the Web." Jello is a supporter of music piracy and would have never allowed that to happen. The song "MTV Get Off the Air" is intended to make people aware of the crap that is promoted on TV.
I've been blabbing on and on about how amazing his message is, but I should also say what an amazing voice he has. East Bay Ray and all the other band members were also awesome. Jello was never good at guitar, and he hummed out the riffs to the others so they could make music. His voice is so amazing, with a really great warble in it. Just listen to "California Uber Alles". His pitch changes so amazingly.
Once more, remember, "Dead Kennedys" a.k.a. Jello Biafra left the band a long time ago. The ones who dare call themselves Dead Kennedys right now are supporting the exact thing that Jello wanted to stand up against, and wanted others to stand up against. They actually sued him for not letting them... more
Rise Against has been my favorite band since I was eight years old. I have a deep passion for punk, and Green Day simply isn't punk anymore. While many love the overwhelming political statements that Green Day projects in its songs, I don't want to be listening to something that is going to make me mad. Green Day is almost like Anti-Flag, with ridiculous anarchist messages in their songs.
I do understand The Ramones being ranked higher than Rise Against because The Ramones were really the first good punk band. I also get why Blink-182 is ahead, as they were the first in pop-punk. However, the idea of Sum-41 even being in the top ten is absurd. Bad Religion not being in the top ten is also absurd. Class dismissed.
One of the only punk bands even listed, Green Day is nothing now. Blink was never punk, just poppy teen "punk." As for My Chemical Romance, I don't even know why it's included. This list was made by someone with no knowledge of punk rock. Hell, Bad Religion isn't even in the top 10, and they set the standard for punk post-1980!
In all honesty, Bad Religion should have the #1 spot. Blink and My Chemical Romance have no place on the list at all. I selected Rise Against because they are more likely to receive attention, so maybe some people with knowledge of true punk can set the list straight. No true punk rocker would list three-fourths of these bands. The Descendents, Black Flag, RATM, Social Distortion, The Misfits, and countless others are disgustingly low. This list has no grounding whatsoever. It doesn't distinguish between manufactured punk and the real deal.
Rise Against's early work is a powerful mixture of hardcore and punk. They've drifted toward melodic hardcore, but their message remains the same. Political awareness is the crux of all punk rock. They are doing well in this aspect. Blink hasn't made a single song about social woes. Green Day has failed us as of late. Out of the top 10 on this list, Rise Against is the closest to the current standard. They may be equatable to a modern-day Bad Religion, but nothing beats the original, of course.
How in the world are Blink-182, Sum 41, The Offspring, and Green Day on this list? Don't get me wrong. I love those bands, especially Offspring, but dude, they aren't real punk. They barely sound like real punk bands. I've heard them called pop-punk, and I think that's the best term for them. Whatever they are, they shouldn't be here. Misfits are punk. Black Flag is punk. The Sex Pistols are punk. I used to think that the pop-punk bands were true punk, but now I know.
My favorite band of all time.
By the way, since when are a bunch of emos, sellouts, and pop-rock bands considered punk? Back in the '90s, those bands wouldn't even have been considered punk by the biggest musical noob in the world. I really don't like that nowadays there are almost no real punks anymore. Nowadays, it's just a bunch of posers. It's a shame.
Well, I should have expected that there would mostly be non-punk bands here. Punk is represented by bands like the Ramones, Black Flag, Dead Kennedys, Sex Pistols, the Misfits, Bad Brains, and more. Blink 182 and Green Day are pop-punk. Rise Against is kind of punk-influenced hardcore. My Chemical Romance is post-hardcore alternative rock. Why can't we have a single top 10 on this site where only bands that fit the genre are in the top 20?
I'm mentioning these guys only because of their self-titled album: The Offspring, and Ignition, Smash, and Ixnay. After that, I don't think The Offspring qualify as punk rock from Americana onwards. I don't think this band should be number one, but definitely top three. I've listened to so much punk rock, and "The Offspring" and Ignition are extremely good albums.
In fact, despite The Offspring not actually being my favorite punk band, their self-titled album is by far my favorite. I've been told that Dexter's voice isn't for everyone, but they did produce some amazing horror punk and hardcore punk. I do find it a shame how they turned out. Now they get categorized with Green Day, Blink-182, and Sum-41, which is sad really.
Best Punk Rock band from the '90s, in my opinion. They even won the Best Punk Award from the OC Awards in 2013. Apparently, the band is considering releasing their next album independently, which means they can do whatever they want now that they've left Columbia Records.
There's still hope for a return to their roots, since they have been playing 20th Anniversary Ignition shows for the past two years. I have a funny feeling, which a lot of people might not agree with, but I think they are going back to Epitaph to make another SMASH Vol. 2, like a movie sequel. But that's maybe just me daydreaming. Given how unpredictable the band can be at times, and with Pete having a lot of similarities to Ron Welty, who knows?
This list cannot be left out of the top 10 on any true punk rock list. This list is making me feel very angry and punk rock. Maybe it's a trap! Such a shame that these millionaire boy bands found a way to steal the name "punk" and convince millions of unsuspecting jocks and rich kids that being "punk" was cool. There's no better way to crush the revolution than to brand it and make it cool.
My God, does anyone know what punk is? Bands like Simple Plan and Fall Out Boy are not punk. Black Flag is a real punk band. They started the hardcore scene that all these kids, who don't even know who Black Flag is, are mimicking. Henry Rollins is a legend.
Green Day, Blink 182, Simple Plan! Are you kidding me? This is a list of punk bands, not a list of emo bands. The Clash, Dead Kennedys, Ramones, Sex Pistols, Misfits, Black Flag, Bad Religion, and Social Distortion all should be way closer to the front than any of those crappy pop bands.
Blink-182 and My Chemical Romance? Seriously? I've been listening to punk rock since I was about 9, and they are not punk. Maybe alternative rock. Social Distortion, The Ramones, and The Clash are my all-time favorites. They should be the top bands. Punk pretty much died after 2003.
The best punk rock band in history, with rockabilly influence, is Social Distortion. Story of My Life is one of the best songs I've ever heard in my whole life. It makes me think about the good times from the past. They are just so great.
I do love The Misfits, The Ramones, The Clash, and The Sex Pistols, but Social Distortion is my ultimate favorite punk rock band. To me, Mike Ness is the Johnny Cash of punk rock. "Ball and Chain" is one of my all-time favorite songs.
Thank God, a real punk rock band! Listen to their song "The Separation of Church and Skate." Look up the lyrics, read them, and you'll know why I don't like bands like Simple Plan anymore. They're another lame, soft, and whiny sub-genre of punk rock. People mistake this as being punk rock. Listen to the song, and you'll hear the difference. The lyrics mean something, as opposed to that song "I'm Just a Kid" by Simple Plan, which is just a guy (who has definitely outgrown his teens) whining about what a hard life he has with his parents and school. Seriously, who cares? I sure don't.
Half of these bands aren't real punk. Most are variations of pop. Bands like Bad Religion, NOFX, Social Distortion, Rancid, early Offspring (songs before their 2003 album), The Ramones, Sex Pistols, Nirvana, The Clash, Misfits, Bad Brains, and Papa Roach are examples of real punk. Rise Against can be considered punk. Sum 41 and My Chemical Romance depend on the song. Otherwise, it's pop-punk or post-hardcore. Blink-182 and Simple Plan are pop-punk. Green Day started off somewhat punk, then went pop-punk, and are now alternative. Bands like All Time Low, All American Rejects, and Good Charlotte are pop and alternative.
Greatest punk band of all time, for sure. Okay, they didn't write songs about rebelling against the powers that be as often as other, more high-profile punk bands (e.g., The Sex Pistols, The Clash, The Ramones, etc.), but no other band wrote about the smaller pains and problems of life like they did. Note the use of the word "did": unfortunately, like The Stones, Descendents are still active, even though they passed both their studio and live prime about thirty years ago, but what a glorious prime it was. Albums like "Milo Goes to College" and "All" have stood the test of time.
Can't believe whoever put them on this list couldn't even spell the name right - DESCENDENTS, no "The." Punk rockers in my day were smart. Half the bands on here are pop. Green Day themselves admit that they are not punk, yet they are number one here. Sickening. Anyway, not number one, but they definitely deserve top 10 for creating a style of punk rock that would later become emo. Great live band.
These guys not only defined punk/hardcore long before GD, etc., they were/are incredibly talented musicians! I saw Fugazi in a small venue, and they blew the top off the place. Crazy!
I do really like these. Why are bands like My Chemical Romance and Paramore on the list? Just because they talk about politics or whatever doesn't make them punk. They aren't part of the genre. They are just alternative/popular rock.
Pioneers of the Straight Edge movement, this band was raw and unadulterated while delivering a positive, get-your-stuff-together message. I had the opportunity to see them later on as Fugazi, and it was the craziest mosh pit I've ever seen.
A bunch of posers must be voting on this. How are those preppy little pop-punk bands ahead of Bad Brains and Black Flag, who are both great bands? Good Charlotte is not punk rock! It's corporate pop, and so are Simple Plan, Blink-182, Sum 41, Boys Like Girls, Yellowcard, Taking Back Sunday, and the majority of these bands ahead of Bad Brains. I don't think they're the best, but they're top 25 hands down. All those bands I mentioned are just a bunch of 20-year-old millionaires whining about their make-believe problems and that girl who didn't go to the prom with them because she thought they were dorks. Get over it, you losers. How is Good Charlotte even on here? Britney Spears is more punk than them.
This band is insanely good. I remember when I bought their first record. It left me breathless. The songs were hard and fast. This band is better than other, more famous hardcore punk bands like Black Flag.
The Stooges should be number one. They were punk without even trying and couldn't care less! They never bothered to sell out, and their music just has that great sound. And besides, what other punk band had a frontman that could compare to Iggy Pop? Then you get such a calm-looking but fierce-sounding guitarist, Ron Asheton. Then there's Dave Alexander, a great bassist who played for a short time, but if you listen to his bass lines in Fun House and T.V. Eye, few can beat those drums as loud as Scott Asheton (Rock Action). Their three original albums were a source of inspiration for The Ramones and The Clash. Their music sounded like no other during their great time (1967-1974).
I think it's obvious why the Stooges are this low on the list. Almost all the voters are people who have only listened to pop music that's been thrust in front of them. The Stooges were the heaviest and still are. No contest.
They are the most creative punk band out there. They definitely should be up there in the top tens. So many punk bands just sound cookie-cutter, but these guys have so much character to their music. THIS is what punk music should sound like.
Dropkick Murphys is definitely my favorite punk rock band. Go Irish boys! (Ok, my roots are Irish, so it helps.) People, if you put Green Day in first place and Dropkick Murphys only at 21st, there is a real problem!
Behind Blink-182 are the Murphys, my absolutely favorite band, because they make the best Irish-folk sound in the world. They should be in the top ten! P.S. The best songs are, in my opinion, "Shipping up to Boston," "Which Side Are You On," and "Rose Tattoo."
Best punk band. Many great songs - punk, hardcore punk, melodic hardcore, and pop-punk. The songs are really melodic. I really like it. They have fast songs (hardcore punk) and slow ones (from pop-punk to alternative rock), as well as some acoustic songs too. Justin Sane and Chris Head are great guitarists, and Justin Sane and Chris #2 provide impressive, wonderful vocals.
It was hard to choose, but come on, Anti-Flag is REAL punk. Most people don't know what punk is. They're so retarded. Simple Plan? Panic! At the Disco? Paramore? That's so NOT punk. I mean, I love My Chemical Romance and maybe some of their songs are kinda punk, but none of them are really political, and it's NOT real punk though.
Anti-Flag is one of the only bands to go out and say how dumb it is to be a proud citizen of any country. Especially one that elected a president like Bush and now Trump.
Okay, okay, okay, I know it's a little high, but bear with me. A ton of bands could be right here. But after careful deliberation, I decided that, hey, I don't want to leave Pennywise off the top ten because, quite frankly, they rule!
Personally, no top 10 punk bands list is complete without Pennywise. They are a band who know how to interact with society and clearly explain their views.
Love this band. Their sound is good and loud, and the music kicks ass. My favorite song by them is As Long As We Can from their album Reason to Believe.
They are among the best ever for Punk and Ska. This band was the motivation and inspiration for Green Day. Green Day saw OI numerous times and hung out with them when they rehearsed. OI should be before Green Day on this list! If you like the old-school sound of garage-style West Coast Punk Rock and haven't done so yet, check out Operation Ivy. They are a great band to hear, and I very much wish they'd go on tour again!
It was really hard to leave these guys off the list. Even to this day, whenever I listen to "Artificial Lie," "Room Without a Window," or "Missionary," it just puts a smile on my face.
They are arguably the inventors of ska punk. Even with only one album, they are one of the most impactful punk bands of all time. They are one of the biggest influences on Green Day.
This list makes me sick! It was obviously concocted by teenagers with no real sense of what authentic punk music is. When I see here that Circle Jerks is #40 on the list, under "boy bands with guitars," i.e., Fall Out Boy, Good Charlotte, Sum 41, etc., it makes me cringe. Circle Jerks meet all the criteria for a true punk band: political and social defiance, fast grinding guitar, speedy beats. And as the first lead singer of the notorious band Black Flag, Keith Morris delivers vocals that are not as polished as some of the corporate-controlled "punk puppets" of today.
So, here's my top 10 list, whether anyone likes it or not:
1. Dead Kennedys
2. Sex Pistols
3. Black Flag
4. Circle Jerks
6. Minor Threat
8. New York Dolls (I'll bet you teenagers have NEVER heard of them. Do your research!)
10. Social Distortion.
The Damned at No. 60 is an absolute crap rating. I'm looking for Buzzcocks, Stranglers, and SLF, among plenty of others. Lame poll. Green Day at number 1? LMFAO! Is this an American poll by any chance? If anyone suggests that none of these bands were punk, then they were not around at gigs in the 70s and 80s.
I've never been a big fan of The Damned (being a punk myself), but their recent live shows convinced me otherwise. The Captain & Co. still totally have it.
The only American punk band in the top 10 should be the Ramones. All the other 9 should be British: Clash, Damned, Jam, etc. I am surprised this American poll didn't include Britney Spears.
Based only on their first album, a masterpiece from beginning to end, this is the best for me. I appreciate the pioneering work of the Sex Pistols and Ramones, but ST's first album takes the cake.
I'm pretty sure they're crossover thrash, not exactly 100% a punk band, but still pretty good.
The best band ever. I got my guitar signed by them.
The Germs had a three-year career and one album. That album ended up being one of the greatest punk albums ever released and was a major influence on the underground music community, influencing countless punk and hardcore bands.
Darby Crash was incredible. I love the band and Pat is awesome.
The fact that The Germs aren't even in the top 20 is quite sad.
Last time I checked, bands like Rancid, Sex Pistols, the Circle Jerks, and the Exploited were punk. Guys like Simple Plan and Good Charlotte are just writing songs reminiscent of the popular kids in high school who pick on nerds. Punk isn't about being cool, doing drugs, or failing school. It's about doing whatever you want to do.
RANCID for sure! Come on, people. They have done and continue to do what they want. Their legacy and music will stand the test of time. I have never heard one RANCID song that is bad. Think about it. They are the definition of punk, and they are still going strong.
Rancid was the first punk band I heard. This band changed my life. Tim Armstrong and Lars Frederiksen are by far my favorite people on this Earth. Rancid is, and always will be, my favorite band. I'm about to punch someone just seeing some of these pop bands on here. That is total BS.