10 Greatest Punk Albums of All Time


Iggy Pop by Rob Baker Ashton

Iggy Pop has one of the greatest punk albums of all time, according to Audio Ink Radio’s new list – Story by Anne Erickson, photo by Rob Baker Ashton

Here’s Audio Ink Radio’s list of the 10 greatest punk albums of all time

Punk rock has been around for nearly 50 years, but it’s still the genre of the youth. From its anti-establishment lyrics to idealistic themes to bloody, out-of-control live shows, punk will always be there to help the young question their authority figures.

Over the course of its lively life, punk has created numerous great albums. Hence, it’s difficult to narrow the punk rock catalog to just 10 of the best releases. But, we’ve done our best to scour through punk’s glorious catalog and find the 10 albums that the genre couldn’t live without.

Read on for Audio Ink Radio’s list of the 10 greatest punk albums of all time. Reach out to us on social media to offer your picks.

10. AFI, “The Art of Drowning” (2000)

“The Art of Drowning” from AFI is the most recent album on this list, and it makes the cut because of its unique blend of punk with all things dark and gothic. Taking cues from Misfits and Bauhaus, AFI introduced themselves as a gothic band with just the right hint of hardcore and horror. As the years progressed, their sound changed, but those dim aesthetics found on “The Art of Drowning” are still very much a part of their identity.

9. Green Day, “Dookie” (1993)

The mention of Green Day always drums up controversy on a best-of punk list. But, Green Day were the Metallica of punk music, bringing the genre’s sound to the masses. Punk went big, really big, with “Dookie.” Overnight, kids all over America and the world were picking up guitars and strumming three-chord ditties. “Dookie” is a snapshot of suburban punk, with lots of irreverence and dirty rock ‘n’ roll.

8. Misfits, “Walk Among Us” (1982)

Misfits are not-so arguably one of the genre’s finest. The New Jersey goth-punk band broke out with their first album, “Static Age,” in 1978, but that set wasn’t released until years later. Therefore, Misfit’s defining moment is their 1981 release, “Walk Among Us,” where the band really introduced their imaginative horror-punk sound to the scene. Their music was dark, wild and edgy, and it would go on to influence everyone from Metallica to AFI.

7. Black Flag, “Damaged” (1981)

Henry Rollins can do no wrong, and “Damaged” is one of Black Flag’s most revered masterpieces. With Rollins’ apocalyptic lyrics straddled over chugging riffs and relentless rhythms, hardcore finally had a voice with “Damaged.”

6. Rancid, “…And Out Come the Wolves” (1995)

Rancid are one of the few punk bands who went semi-mainstream without totally losing their underground cred. On “…And Out Come the Wolves,” the band really shows off their Clash influence, while still making it their own sound and style. In addition to punk, they threw in reggae, blues, rock and more, offering a different sound than any of their peers.

5. Bad Brains, “Bad Brains” (1982)

Bad Brains are the kings of hardcore, with some very blaring punk rock that transcends the movement. With songs such as “Banned in D.C.” and “Sailin’ On,” Bad Brains’ debut is scorching. It’s a must-have in any classic punk fan’s collection.

4. The Sex Pistols, “Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols” (1977)

Could one create a punk best-of list without The Sex Pistols? Impossible. With “Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols,” the band really helped establish what it meant to be British punk. Johnny Rotten and Steve Jones are a match made in rock ‘n’ roll heaven, as Rotten roars and Jones bashes out distorted guitar riffs. Songs such as “God Save the Queen” and “Anarchy in the U.K.” were absolutely critical to the punk movement.

3. The Stooges, “Raw Power” (1973)

Iggy Pop is the godfather of punk, and boy, did he earn that title. The Michigan-born punk rocker caught the attention of the scene back in the 1960s with his violent blend of punk and hardcore, unpredictable onstage antics and bloody performances. Pop’s third studio album with The Stooges, “Raw Power,” earned him a cult following, and the album is widely considered one of the genre’s greatest moments. Even aside from punk, “Raw Power” is really one of the most influential rock records of all time.

2. The Clash, “The Clash” (1977)

By 1977, music was changing, and the underground punk scene was gaining momentum. The Clash, of course, were a major part of that musical and cultural evolution. The band’s 1977 self-titled album actually didn’t have a home in America at first, as record executives thought it was too lo-fi and politically-driven for the average listener. But, spunky songs such as “London’s Burning” really caught on. The album finally got an alternate release in the U.S. Really, any Clash album could be on this list, but “The Clash” is an essential.

1. The Ramones, “The Ramones” (1976)

Picking a No. 1 greatest punk album of all time wasn’t easy. But, The Ramones’ 1976 self-titled album clearly stood on its town. On it, the legendary punk band brought together a bevy of influences, from straight-ahead, three-chord punk to surf to British Invasion pop. With “The Ramones,” the band defined the punk rock movement. They also influenced countless others in rock and alternative music for years to come. For its innovative nature and pure punk character, “The Ramones” is No. 1 on our list of the greatest punk rock albums of all time.

Read Audio Ink Radio’s list of the 10 best punk bands of all time here.

Anne Erickson
Posted by Anne Erickson | Features, Music, Rock