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Classic Punk Rock Videos

Updated on January 25, 2014

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12 Classic Punk Rock Music Videos

Watching home video recordings can be a good way to nostalgically look back on fond memories. It can also be a means of charting the development of yourself and your family. You can look back at how much your children have grown. You can also bemoan the fact that you have more wrinkles or less hair.

Right now we are going to be doing something similar by considering 12 classic punk rock videos. Depending on your musical taste this could be a nostalgic look back at fond musical memories. The following videos also helps chart the development and evolution of punk rock.

Just as a note many older punk videos tend to be either a live performance video or somewhat lo-fi. That being said they display the attitude and spirit of punk in spades.

Also all of the videos featured here are from the 70s & 80s. It is not that there has not been any notable punk music since then, but the videos and acts featured here were the evolutionary basis for the punk music that was to follow.

Of course this list is not exhaustive and it barely scratches the surface in chronicling the historical development of punk. That being said it hopefully will be a jump off point for reliving fond memories or for personal musical discovery. Also the list is presented in chronological order, not numeric.

The Damned - New Rose

The Damned has the distinction of being the first UK punk band to release a single (New Rose) and an album (Damned Damned Damned). They also recorded a promo video for their 1976 single, "New Rose".

The video does a nice job of capturing the essence and energy of The Damned. It also displays the Gothic aspects of the band which ended up being influential within the Goth rock movement as well.

The Damned - New Rose

Sex Pistols - God Save The Queen

"God Save The Queen" and the album it was from, Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols truly helped define punk rock. The song definitely had a strong anti-establishment tone which was a prominent feature of many punk rock bands to follow. The Sex Pistols helped establish punk as a form of protest.

The video for the 1977 single highlights the bands rebellious and antagonistic nature.

Sex Pistols - God Save The Queen

Sham 69 - If The Kids Are United

Sham 69 were somewhat overlooked when compared to their UK punk counterparts (such as Sex Pistols and The Clash). That being said they are considered to be highly influential within the Oi and street punk movement.

The 1978 single, "The Kids Are United" was the bands biggest hit (#9 on the UK chart) and it prominently featured the football (or what us North Americans know as soccer) chant backup vocals that was a trademark of a number of their songs. The video help capture the infectious energy of the band and it makes you want to pump your fist and chant along.

Sham 69 - If The Kids Are United

Johnny Ramone In Concert

Johnny Ramone live with The Ramones on July 1, 1977 in Kelly's Pub, St. Paul, MN.
Johnny Ramone live with The Ramones on July 1, 1977 in Kelly's Pub, St. Paul, MN. | Source

Ramones - I Wanna Be Sedated

"I Wanna Be Sedated" was from their 1978 released fourth album Road to Ruin. The song definitely became one of their trademarks and it helped highlight what was so infectious and endearing about the Ramones. The Ramones were easily one of the most influential punk band and "I Wanna Be Sedated" is just one small example of why. They help write the punk rock blueprints that many would go on to follow.

The actual video was not shot until 1988 to help promote the greatest hit compilation, Ramones Mania. The band eating cornflakes while being unfazed by the craziness that ensued helps make this a truly iconic video. As an interesting side note, a young Courtney Love is also featured in the video.

Ramones - I Wanna Be Sedated

Joe Strummer RIP

Graffiti art commemorating Joe Stummer of The Clash.
Graffiti art commemorating Joe Stummer of The Clash. | Source

The Clash - London Calling

"London Calling" is of course the self titled track from The Clash's 1979 landmark album. London Calling was the band's third studio album and it did definitely show the band growing musically.

The title song is an indictment of a number of social ills which plagued London. This is one of the songs which helped establish Joe Strummer as the Bob Dylan of punk rock (and fittingly Bob Dylan has covered London Calling a few times during concerts).

The video features the band playing on a boat on the River Thames while it was pouring rain. The dark dreary nature of the video is stylistically well suited to the ominous mood and lyrics of the song.

The Clash - London Calling

Dead Kennedys - Holiday in Cambodia

"Holiday in Cambodia" was from the Dead Kennedys' 1980 debut studio album, Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables. This album and song helped establish the band as a formative act in the development of the hardcore punk scene.

The live performance video well captures the intensity and aggression of a Dead Kennedys' live performance.

Dead Kennedys' vocalist Jello Biafra and guitarist East Bay Ray also formed their own influential indie label, Alternative Tentacles. This helped contribute to the DIY (Do It Yourself) culture that the hardcore punk scene became known for.

Dead Kennedys - Holiday in Cambodia

Black Flag Logo


Black Flag - TV Party

This recorded version of "TV Party" which appeared on Black Flag's 1982 EP of the same name, originally appeared on their 1981 landmark debut studio album, Damaged. The song was goofier and catchier than most of the band material. Because of the goofy sing along nature of the song it is easy to overlook that the song also was a biting satirical indictment of how TV was responsible for the dumbing down of society.

The video was also a funny satirical mocking of how constant Television watching contributes to the breeding of stupidity.

Just like with members of the Dead Kennedys, Greg Ginn of Black Flag formed his own influential indie record label SST. This also was an important contributor to the DIY culture that was closely linked to the hardcore punk scene.

Black Flag - TV Party

Bad Brains

Bad Brains performing at Nightclub 9:30, Washington, DC on April 4th, 1983.
Bad Brains performing at Nightclub 9:30, Washington, DC on April 4th, 1983. | Source

Bad Brains - Banned In DC

"Banned In DC" is from the Bad Brains self titled 1982 debut full length album. The album was originally only released on cassette but it has since been released on CD, vinyl and digital download as well. The album is considered to be very important in the development of hardcore punk. Adam Yauch of Beastie Boys has been quoted as saying that the bands self titled album is "the best punk/hardcore album of all time".

This live performance video was taken from a performance at the legendary venue, CBGB in Manhattan, New York. The video well displays the intensity and ferocity of a Bad Brains live performance. With the video you can also take note of the fact that the band had a higher level of musicianship than the average hardcore band (they started as a jazz fusion band) and the performance even included guitar soloing which generally was considered as unpunk.

Bad Brains - Banned In DC

Suicidal Tendencies - Institutionalized

"Institutionalized" was from Suicidal Tendencies 1983 debut self titled album. It is considered to be the first hardcore punk video to receive significant airplay on MTV. The band has also proven to be influential within the skate punk scene and in the formation of the crossover thrash genre (also referred to as punk metal).

The video, just like the lyrics contains dark humour and it is a fitting commentary on the generation gap and teen alienation.

Suicidal Tendencies - Institutionalized

Minutemen - Double Nickels on the Dime

Double Nickels on the Dime [Vinyl]
Double Nickels on the Dime [Vinyl]

This is the Minutemen's epic double album on vinyl. The album is very eclectic and it shows why the band was so influential.


Minutemen - This Ain't No Picnic

"This Ain't No Picnic" is from the Minutemen's ambitious 1984 double album, Double Nickels on the Dime. By this time the band was starting to deviate from their hardcore punk roots. That being said, the band's anti-commercial stance and their refusal to be confined by musical genre rules were very much the embodiment of the punk spirit.

The black and white video was shot for $600 and it features the band performing in a barren field that is about to be bombed by then president Ronald Regan (featured in old public domain war film footage). The video did display an anti-Regan stance which was very commonplace within the punk community.

The song was written by the band's lead singer and guitarist D. Boon, who tragically died in a van accident at the age of 27 on December 22, 1985.

Minutemen - This Ain't No Picnic

The Pogues - Streams of Whiskey

"Streams of Whiskey" is from The Pogues 1984 full length debut album, Red Roses For Me. The Celtic punk band combined traditional Irish folk music with a punk influence. They ended up being an influence on other Celtic punk bands to follow, such as The Dropkick Murphys and Flogging Molly.

The video is a lot of lo-fi fun. It definitely links the song to the pub culture and it makes you want to get up and do a jig.

The Pogues - Streams Of Whiskey

The Dead Milkmen - Punk Rock Girl

"Punk Rock Girl" is from The Dead Milkmen's 1988 album, Beelzebubba. The Dead Milkmen where a satirical punk band that did not take themselves too seriously. They also added a refreshing sense of humour to the punk scene.

The video is goofy fun and I still get giddy every time I listen to the song and watch the video.

The Dead Milkmen - Punk Rock Girl

© 2012 CJ Baker


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    • spartucusjones profile imageAUTHOR

      CJ Baker 

      6 years ago from Parts Unknown

      I am glad that the hub helped you relive fond memories. I appreciate the comment!

    • lindacee profile image

      Linda Chechar 

      6 years ago from Arizona

      I enjoyed the videos. Brings back lots of fond memories. Oh, to be young again! ;) Thanks for sharing this influential and varied music genre.

    • spartucusjones profile imageAUTHOR

      CJ Baker 

      6 years ago from Parts Unknown

      Thanks for the comment! Glad you enjoyed

    • leahlefler profile image

      Leah Lefler 

      6 years ago from Western New York

      This is such a cool hub - especially with all the videos to the rock videos! I love this one, Spartucusjones!

    • spartucusjones profile imageAUTHOR

      CJ Baker 

      6 years ago from Parts Unknown

      FatFreddyCat: Glad you enjoyed! Thanks for the additional tidbits of information.

      Mhatter99: Thanks for the comment. I am glad that punk rock has gotten you out of debt.

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 

      6 years ago from San Francisco

      After disco we were so deep in debt, we needed punk rock to get out :))

      Great list. thank you

    • FatFreddysCat profile image

      Keith Abt 

      6 years ago from The Garden State

      Cool picks! Love those Ramones, Black Flag, Sex Pistols and Suicidal Tendencies clips...

      Useless trivia, actress Mary Woronov of "Death Race 2000" and "Rock N Roll High School" fame plays Mike Muir's "Mom" in the "Institutionalized" video.

    • spartucusjones profile imageAUTHOR

      CJ Baker 

      6 years ago from Parts Unknown

      Thanks for the input. I know that a band like the Pogues may not be punk in the traditional sense, but they do quite often get labelled as Celtic punk and folk punk. Also with this list I wanted to chart how punk as evolved into different directions, so I just didn't want one sound represented. I also didn't want to use a very rigid definition of what punk is.

    • e-five profile image

      John C Thomas 

      6 years ago from Chicago, Illinois, USA

      Good topic for a Hub (at least one of my favorites!!) I'm not sure I would consider The Pogues or some other bands included here "punk" per se, maybe neo-Punk? I voted for London Calling, but my favorite Clash video is probably "This Is Radio Clash." I might have included more traditional punk songs like "Homocide" by 999 or The Stranglers version of "Walk On By." Otherwise great hub, and a fun topic!


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