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Anarchy On The Airwaves #2 - The Most Influential Punk Albums

Updated on April 8, 2016

No Feelings

Previously I wrote about the albums that were my personal favorites of punk. In this one, I will be detailing the albums that I feel were the most important to the development of punk as we know it. For better or for worse, these are the ones I feel were the most influential on what we all know as punk today.



The Stooges - Raw Power

The basic punk format was officially laid down in 1973 when this album dropped. Raw Power could not be a more perfect description of the music you will hear when you put this album on. The music was not as simple, the lyrics not as political, and they as a band were not quite as controversial as the bands that would spring up in their wake, but it is very safe to say the sound of punk would have been nowhere near the same without them.

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Green Day - Dookie; The Buzzcocks - Singles Going Steady

Whether you like the music or not, the pop-punk movement that sprung up in the late 90s and early 2000s has done a lot to shape the sound of punk as we know it today, and those bands owe more of their sound to these two albums than many of them will ever know. Both albums retained all of the young angst and aggression that was already par for the course, but added very catchy melodies to their music, making it much more acceptable to the general consumer and helping punk reach a wider audience in general.

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The Misfits - Walk Among Us

Another common feature of early punk rock was Sci-Fi and B-Horror movie themed lyrics, thanks to the likes of the Ramones and the Cramps. This fascination got a major upgrade when the Misfits finally got their first album released ("Static Age" was recorded first but was not released until 1997). Another case where many of you may not be happy with it, but a lot of what we call punk imagery stemmed from these guys, and while their influence to the casual observer may be more visual, the list of bands in multiple genres that have been inspired by them could take up multiple lists.



Minor Threat - Complete Discography

Not since the Sex Pistols has a band that recorded so little influence so much. Hardcore punk would not have been anywhere near what it is without them, to this day every punk band owes them a huge debt of gratitude, and all with only an album's worth of recordings to their name. Short and crushing songs with all of the political and social spite delivered in maniacal screams from main man Ian MacKaye, what more needs to be said?

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The Ruts - The Crack

One of the most influential bands on the DC punk scene and a big part of the melding of reggae and punk that many early punk bands were known for, another band that had another sadly short time of creativity but left an enormous impact.

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Bad Brains - Bad Brains

More reggae infused punk rock from a group of former jazz musicians, the Bad Brains were initially one of the hottest acts of the DC punk scene, but became so influential to the New York Hardcore movement that they are often included as part of it. A blistering offering of punk that left an impact still felt to this day.

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Black Flag - Damaged

Hardcore punk was born with the first full length album by the already legendary Black Flag, as well as their first recording with future punk icon Henry Rollins. Lyrics covering everything from depression to corrupt police to a bunch of youngsters watching TV and drinking beer, in the words of Rollins himself "Black Flag had created the ultimate soundtrack for a full scale riot" and Damaged was no exception.

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The Clash - London Calling

A new musical direction for one of the most legendary bands in punk. What had started as standard British punk had evolved into an eclectic mix of punk, reggae, jazz, rockabilly, and many other styles. And yet this is the album that is still most associated with the Clash and had the most lasting influence on the development of punk in the long run. Aside from establishing just how diverse punk could be, the title track still manages to inspire controversy in the modern age (a man was even detained in 2006 for suspected terrorist intent after singing the lyrics to himself in a cab).

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The Ramones - Ramones

On April 23rd, 1976, punk rock officially began when four guys from Queens, New York City, stripped the bloated, pretentious rock that had sprung up in prior years down to the basic simple chord structure that had been rock n' roll in previous generations. Adding lyrics about depression, social awkwardness, and beating up the local brat with a piece of sporting equipment, everything that punk ever is, was, or ever would be is shown to be beginning it's genesis with this album.

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The Sex Pistols - Never Mind The Bollocks, Here's The Sex Pistols

I've tried not to repeat myself in the articles I've written, but in this case it's unavoidable. I genuinely feel that this is the most important album to punk rock ever recorded. The Ramones may have started punk, but the Sex Pistols perfected it, adding controversial statements that caused them to be perceived as a genuine threat in their home country to the simple aggressive music. I've already written about them in my last article so I will just say if you ever have to choose one punk album to listen to, this is the one.

...For Anybody Else

As always, I hope you enjoyed this article and maybe even found some new listening material out of it. Expect at least one more "Anarchy on the Airwaves" in the near future.


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