Top 10 Punk Rock Songs of All-Time
In the 1970’s, Rock and Roll needed a change. Rock had become gimmicky, and was seemingly running away from its roots. A genre born on rebellious and eager intuition had sold out, and its fans began to notice. Answering the call for change was the punk rock movement, which came roaring out of garages during the mid 70’s. While it originally came together in the UK, it found a home across the pond and thrived in America. Led by acts like the Ramones, The Clash, and The Sex Pistols, it gave many rebellious youth an outlet to let go and relive rock music as it was originally intended. In its honor, we attempted to put together a Top 10 song list for the genre. So here it is, our Top 10:
10. Bro Hym – Pennywise: Pennywise came out of the gate strong with their debut self titled album. This track was the last on the album, but is the stand out to many. For the band the song has special meaning, as it was written and dedicated to two friends of the band that passed away. It was later rerecorded after the death of long time bassist Jason Thirsk and dedicated to him. The song is a rallying cry for many bros as well as sporting teams, where it is played in NFL, NBA, NHL and MLS arenas.
9. The Decline – NoFX: Coming in at 18 minutes, the song itself was its own EP. NoFX wrote this song in protest to American politics, and the ‘stupid people’ who are following them. The “decline” NoFX speaks of is America and their “fear of change.” This song makes our list as it is a classic look at the anti-establishment culture that Punk embodied, and its some of NoFX’s best work.
8. Six Pack – Black Flag: The intro to this song seems surprisingly tame, as it’s introduced by a humming bass line. Then, as the bass feverishly picks up, the guitar and vocals come crashing in. Black Flag jumps up on our list because they were one of Punk’s realest acts. Anti-establishment and explosive tempo changes were one of the main themes of their work, and it shows in this song.
7. God Save the Queen – The Sex Pistols: The Sex Pistols were one of the original punk acts out of England. While they only released one album, the band set the tone and pace for a generation of punk bands. The band used the song to attack the treatment of the working class of England and it was a hit. The song quickly rose to #1 as it put into song the thoughts of millions of people living under an establishment that didn’t seem to care.
6. I Wanna Be Your Dog – The Stooges: Led by last months Throwback artist Iggy Pop, The Stooges didn’t achieve much commercial (even critical) success early on. Little did they know, they were helping birth a movement with the Punk genre. This song has everything you need in a classic punk song. A heavily distorted guitar rips open the introduction, precluding Iggy’s fired up vocals.
5. The Kids Aren’t Alright – The Offspring: This track is off of the Americana album, the Offspring’s 3rd project. ‘The Kids Aren’t Alright’ is among the most commercially successful punk songs of all time. The song follows the Offspring’s typical fast paced, shrill vocals, but it’s the band at its lyrical best.
4. California Uber Alles – The Dead Kennedys: ‘California’ was the first recorded track for the Dead Kennedys. In typical punk fashion, the song was a pointed attack on the then Governor of California Jerry Brown and his ideals. The song is sung in the perspective of Brown and a ‘hippie-fascist’ future America, where Brown kills of the all the “uncool” people.
3. London Calling – The Clash: The Clash called out the world on their 1979 hit ‘London Calling’ The song is a wakeup call to everybody, as the band felt that we were slowly slipping as a society. The lyrics range from nuclear error, police violence, and drug abuse.
2. Anarchy in the U.K – Sex Pistols: The Sex Pistols were another punk band that was hot out of the gate, as they released this 1976 hit as their debut single. The song has been enshrined in the rock and roll hall of fame, and is touted by many as the best song in Punk history. The song echoes the anger of many people of youth in the 1970’s, with a declining economic state and rock music becoming stagnate.
1. Blitzkrieg Bop – The Ramones: Coming in at #1 is Blitzkrieg Bop by punk legends The Ramones. Once again, this was impressively the bands debut single. The songs music is typical for Punk, with a simple three chord progression driving it on the guitar. While most of the selections call in to question society or the establishment, Blitzkrieg Bop is more of a salute to Punk fans. It’s fun, loud music and epitomized what the Ramones were all about.
(Also, special thanks to Michael Plumridge and Woody and Will Harvey in helping make this list happen)