12 Classic Punk Rock Videos
Classic Punk Rock Video Poll
Which classic punk rock music video do you think is the best?
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 help 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.
All 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.
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.
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 band's rebellious and antagonistic nature.
Sham 69 - If The Kids Are United
Sham 69 was 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.
Their 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 were a trademark of a number of their songs. The video helps capture the infectious energy of the band and it makes you want to pump your fist and chant along.
Ramones - I Wanna Be Sedated
"I Wanna Be Sedated" was from Ramones 1978 released fourth album Road to Ruin. The song became one of their trademarks and helped highlight what was so infectious and endearing about them. 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 video was filmed in 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.
Johnny Ramone In Concert
The Clash - London Calling
"London Calling" is the self-titled track from The Clash's 1979 landmark album. London Calling was the band's third studio album and it did 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 (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.
Joe Strummer RIP
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.
Black Flag - TV Party
"TV Party" 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 tune, it is easy to overlook that the lyrics were a biting satirical indictment of how TV was responsible for the dumbing down of society. The visuals add to that message.
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 Logo
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 band's 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.
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.
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 27on December 22, 1985.
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 Dead Milkmen - Punk Rock Girl
"Punk Rock Girl" is from The Dead Milkmen's 1988 album, Beelzebubba. The Dead Milkmen were 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.
© 2012 CJ Baker