Top 10 Most Influential Punk Rock Records

By Stevil, September 30th, 2016


The Clash, 'London Calling', 1979


We've all heard the saying "Opinions are like assholess: everybody has one.". That absolutely applies here, and the comparative noun in this beloved expression should be used as an adjective for the author and any commenters who happen to disagree (or agree).

With that out of the way, let's take a look at mine (eh, opinions) in no particular order, despite numbering them:


  1. Ramones, 'Ramones'. This was the band that made punk rock an official entity. Their first album is in every credible musician's collection.
  2. The Jam, 'In the City'. Some will argue that the 'Pistols were more influential, but they certainly didn't influence anyone with talent, or an IQ over 70, so enter The Jam as a far better role model.
  3. Iggy and the Stooges, 'Raw Power'. Before the name punk was applied to our favorite genre, The Stooges were creating the blueprint of what punk rock would come to be. 
  4. The Clash, 'London Calling'. There's an argument that their first album was a better record, but this one reached a lot of young ears and fingers, leading to a lot of blisters and out-of-the-box thinking.
  5. Bad Brains, 'Bad Brains'. Like all of the bands on this list, you could draw straws to determine which album in their discography should make the cut. In this particular case, the first album is the choice. The energy and electricity is as powerful as-is possible for an LP. Good luck finding any musician under 50 who has done anything worth a shit that wasn't motivated by DC's Fab-Four. 
  6. The Damned, 'Machine Gun Etiquette'. Damned Damned Damned undoubtedly inspired many, but the more diverse album by these creepy kids from London was this cut. 
  7. Descendents, 'Milo Goes to College'. The Descendents never played my town until the mid '90's, unfortunately. But when they did, I never heard a word from Milo. The 600+ mix of humanoids overpowered the PA system and stage monitors. If that doesn't say it all for you, well, read what I wrote repeatedly until it does. 
  8. Minor Threat, 'Out of Step'. Whether or not you like Hardcore Staight Edge, there's no denying that Minor Threat was the architect of this much-needed strain of punk rock in the early '80's, and their stamp has only grown since then. 
  9. Misfits, 'Walk Among Us'. Horror-Rock in it's raw and purest form started here. Robert Smith may have looked like death itself in a comical kind of way, but Danzig and company actually acted-out and sold the part. Their music mutated the minds of musicians beyond their immediate circle.
  10. Buzzcocks, 'Singles Going Steady'. Ever wonder where bands like Green Day came from? The Buzzcocks were/are arguably the first true pop-punk band, hence their listing here, rather than the aforementioned which are being ignored on this list. 
Many of you will surely want to complain and express yourselves violently--and crudely--over my suggestions and shunning of your favorite bands not on this list. Keep in mind, these are albums that I feel were the most influential, hence my choice of wording in the title containing "...Most Influential...". No disrespect is intended to any bands not listed here, though it should be understood that anyone offended by this list would be rewarding me by telling me as much.

Ironically, many of the most influential punk rock bands for me personally are not on this list (Dag Nasty, Down By Law, Black Flag, Agent Orange, Doughboys, Circle Jerks, Bad Religion, Big Drill Car, etc.), so I could pick a bone with myself if I chose to do so. Instead, I'll end this here and feel good about the work I've done.

With that said, do yourselves a favor and go put one of these records on (CD's and mp3's are acceptable; cassettes be damned). Then go do something good for someone else in true Strummer-fashion.

 

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