Top 10 Punk Bands of all Time

This year sees 40 years since the fantastic Punk movement hit Britain. There have been many, many punk bands putting their stamp on the spikey-haired, aggressive genre.Who stood the test of time? Who were one-hit wonders? This is a list of who we think are the best 10 Punk bands of all time.

  1. Green Day

Green Day formed 30 years ago in 1986 making this year their 30th birthday. Happy Birthday guys! Billie Joe Armstrong, Tre Cool and Mike Dirnt have made Green Day a household name over the years. They have created an unmistakeable pop-punk sound that really hit its peak in the early 00s with albums Warning and American Idiot. However, make no mistake, this band had already released hit after hit before the 00s including Welcome to Paradise, Good Riddance (Time of your life) and the fantastically timeless Basket Case. Green Day have been nominated for 19 Grammys of which they won five, they have also racked up six American Music Awards and seven Billboard Music Awards.

  1. Minor Threat

1980 saw the start of many nostalgic trends that are still loved today and with them came Minor Threat. Unfortunately, the band split after only three years however achieved a lot in a little time. Their song Straight Edge was responsible for the ‘straight edge movement’. The track became a base for the movement and Minor Threat preached their own ‘straight edge’ ideals. These guys were part of the band cult that paved the way for modern day hard-core punk and their music still has a place in today’s punk music scene. They have one studio album, two compilation albums and three EPs in total.

  1. Dead Kennedys

Dead Kennedys formed way back in 1978 and released four albums over the course of eight years before disbanding. They are known for their epic riffs and passionate musical ability. To our luck, Dead Kennedys got back together in 2001. However, after disputes with the other members, vocalist Jello Biafra is not in the new line-up. The band saw two new vocalists come and go until Ron Greer joined the band in 2008 and is now still going strong. Dead Kennedys are keeping punks roots alive with their raw and authentic sound.

  1. The Exploited

Edinburgh’s answer to punk The Exploited are the legends behind the album Punk’s Not Dead. The band have maintained a cult following made up of mainly working class hard-core punk fans. The Exploited have gone through many line-up changes, however, vocalist Wattie Buchan has remained since they first formed in 1979. The technical music ability that comes from this band is undeniable and the fact that they have been together for all this time is testament to that. The Exploited have moved between music sounds and genres over the years but have always held onto the core punk elements.


  1. Sham 69

Come on! Come on! Hurry up Harry come on.
If you haven’t heard of this band, go and raid your parents record collection now. Although not as heavy as the previous bands, Sham 69 are certainly one of punks most successful bands. They formed in Hersham, Surrey in 1976 and released three albums which all reached the top 30 of the UK music chart. Sham 69 broke up in 1979 due to vocalist Jimmy Pursey going on to persue a solo career. Pursey and guitarist David Parsons reformed the band to a welcoming audience in 1987. Sham 69 are another victim of several line-up changes, nevertheless, they are still presently together and performing live shows.

  1. The Clash

Another band that formed in 1976, The Clash joined the original group of British Punk legends. You will have undoubtedly heard their biggest hit London Calling from their third album of the same name. London Calling (Album) gained the band success in the US and has been declared the ‘best album of the 80s’ by Rolling Stone magazine. The Clash gave punk fans a decade of solid and (literally) hair raising knockout tracks. Should I Stay or Should I Go, Rock the Casbah and I Fought the Law to name a few. Their music will forever encapsulate British 80s punk music.

  1. Ramones

New York’s offering to the punk scene were the Ramones – and what an offering they were. A typical case of a band before their time, Ramones achieved limited success in the late 70s. However are now recognised as a huge name in punk. Since forming in 1974 the band performed lives shows constantly for 22 years. They played a farewell concert in 1996 and disbanded with 2,263 concerts under their belts. Sadly, there is no chance for a reformation as all four original members have now died. 2011 saw the Ramones achieve the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Grammys.

  1. Blondie

Call Me, Heart of Glass and Atomic – is anymore needed to be said? Blondie have flawlessly added a mix of disco, pop and reggae to a predominantly punk base. This distinctive concoction that plays with the punk genre has firmly placed these guys in the top three. Blondie split in 1982 and re-formed in 1997 going on the achieve even more top 10 hits in the UK. They have sold 40 million records worldwide and are still touring and performing today. A truly eternal band.

  1. Buzzcocks

Buzz – ‘an atmosphere of excitement and activity’
Cock – ‘Generic term of endearment in Manchester – mate or dear’
The Buzzcocks need no introduction after forming in Manchester in 1976. They have shaped the Manchester music scene, if not, the entire northern music scene. There are nine studio albums available for the Buzzcocks to this day.

  1. Sex Pistols

Of course our number one is the Sex Pistols, who else would it be? The band formed in London in 1975 making them the oldest punk band on the list. Although the band only lasted two and a half years and released only two studio albums, they are the most influential punk band of our time. With many saying they were the reason for the punk movement in the United Kingdom. The Sex Pistols reunited on several occasions over the decades, however, have not been active since 2008.