The Best Punk Rock Bands Of All Time

Punk rock is a genre of rock music that emerged in the late 1960s and early 1970s from hard-edged forms of rock (such as heavy metal, punk blues) influenced by “garage” scenes. Punk was an underground movement that revitalized a larger community for people who were bored with mainstream pop culture or society at large. It also gave rise to many subgenres, including new wave, post-punk, hardcore punk, and alternative rock.

First wave punk rock was created by garage bands from the late 60s that made short, fast-paced, energetic music with simple lyrics. The Ramones, who formed in 1974, are often cited as progenitors of first-wave punk rock. They were followed by other groups such as the Sex Pistols and The Clash, who helped spread its influence even more worldwide.

By 1977 there were thousands of punks all over Britain, New York City, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. The punk subculture is generally characterized by anti-establishment views and the promotion of individual freedom.

The Ramones

The Ramones are an American punk rock band formed in New York City and active from 1974 until 1991. The group consists of Joey Ramone (1947–2001), Johnny Ramone (1948–2004), Dee Dee Ramone (1959–2002), and Tommy Ramone. They first garnered a devoted cult following through frequent live performances at the CBGB nightclub, developing a stage act that featured confrontational lyrics delivered with energy by Joey, one of the few musicians to wear makeup on stage. A total of eight studio albums were released during their career, with many compilations and live releases since.

The band’s musical style is rooted in American garage rock and early punk rock. They are often credited as one of the first bands to define the template for punk music. The Ramones’ fast-paced music and short songs helped them become icons of the New York City underground music scene in the 1970s, playing a major role in its development into what became known as “punk,” influencing numerous other musicians who played similar styles.

Their influence helped lay the groundwork for alternative rock in later decades; however, they are largely remembered today as pioneers within post-hardcore due to their pioneering use of heavy guitars played at breakneck tempos, lyrics written by Joey that drew from personal experiences and observations, and their live theatrical performances.

The Sex Pistols

The Sex Pistols were one of the most important and influential rock bands in history. They formed at the tail end of the punk movement but were more than just a band that made noisy records and played violent concerts: they had an attitude. Their music was confrontational; their lyrics were offensive to millions of parents, politicians, religious leaders, and police officers throughout Great Britain, and singer John Lydon (aka Johnny Rotten) was one of the most volatile frontmen ever.

The Sex Pistols’ impact on popular culture is so great that it’s easy to forget what a short-lived band they were — less than three years from formation until dissolution — but they managed to release only four singles during that time: “Anarchy In The U.K.” (1977), “God Save The Queen” (1977), “Pretty Vacant” (1977) and “Holidays In The Sun” (1978). Two of those singles — including the one that started it all — are now considered punk-rock classics.

The Dead Kennedys

The Dead Kennedys were a punk rock band from San Francisco, California, formed in 1978. The band was one of the first American hardcore bands to make a significant impact in the United Kingdom. Their concerts became notorious for attracting a violent audience and stage antics which resulted in the group being banned from playing at many venues across the U.S.

During their initial incarnation, they released three studio albums and one EP on an independent record label (by 1980s standards) before disbanding due to lead singer Jello Biafra’s feud with East Bay area punk promoter Randy “Biscuit” Turner over radio airplay royalties. They briefly reunited in 1993, releasing one more album before disbanding again. Following the band’s dissolution, Biafra continued to collaborate and record with former Dead Kennedys members, most notably guitarist East Bay Ray (who has also played with Biscuit), as well as drummer D.H. Peligro.

Black Flag

Black Flag was a punk band that started in 1979, founded by Greg Ginn on guitar. Their career spanned more than thirty years, with the band releasing six studio albums and one EP during their initial incarnation between 1982 and 1986 before breaking up. Black Flag was formed after Ginn’s previous project, Metal Massacre I is released with Ron Reyes as vocalist. They are also considered to be an early influence of hardcore punk along with bands like Bad Brains, Agnostic Front, and Minor Threat, among others.

After the band temporarily disbanded, Ginn reformed Black Flag with new members in 2003. They released three more albums before they dissolved again in 2013 due to Ginn’s health problems. A final studio album was also planned, but it has yet to be released as of today.

The Misfits

The Misfits were formed in Lodi, New Jersey, United States, in 1977. They released their first single, “Cough/Cool” on Glenn Danzig’s label Plan 9 Records (later reissued by Jerry Only’s self-run label) before signing with the major record company Mercury Records.

The Misfits had a style that mixed punk with horror imagery, covering topics such as violence and drug use. At its formation, the band consisted of vocalist Glenn Danzig, bass guitarist Jerry Only (who also provides lead vocals on some songs), drummer Manny Martínez and guitarist Bobby Steele; Steele later left early in the band’s career due to creative differences with Danzig.

After breaking up in 1983 following various legal disputes involving royalties filed by founding members Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein and Jerry Only, The Misfits disbanded for three years. During this period, Danzig was involved in a short-lived side project called Samhain, which would evolve into the more successful band Danzig later that decade.

In 1987, Glenn left his previous group to focus on his own musical career and reformed the Misfits with new members, including guitarist Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein (Doyle II), bassist Eerie Von and drummer Dr. Chud; Chud was replaced by Robo after an injury in 1990. After releasing one album (“American Psycho”) under their own label Plan 9 Records, they signed with Caroline Records for 1995’s “Famous Monsters,” which proved to be their last recording before breaking up once again due to increasing interpersonal tensions between members of the band during its tour.

The Best Guitars for Punk Rock

There are many great guitars available for playing punk rock music. Many of the best guitars for punk are very inexpensive but still have great sound quality. This makes them ideal for beginners who want to get into playing punk rock music.

Make sure you do your research before buying a new guitar. You need to make sure that any two guitars are comparable in price because you should avoid buying the most expensive guitar if you only need one for learning purposes. Additionally, make sure to try out any guitars you are thinking of purchasing before making a final decision.

Gibson Les Paul Junior

The Gibson Les Paul Junior is a solid-body electric guitar that was first sold by the Gibson Guitar Corporation as part of its Les Paul series in 1952.

The Les Paul Junior is generally considered to be one of the earliest mass-produced electric solid-body guitars, along with three other Gibson models: the Les Paul Goldtop, Flying V, and ES-335.

The Les Paul Junior was originally called the “Les Paul TV Model,” as it first appeared in a 30 second TV advertisement that aired on August 31, 1952, during the New York World’s Fair. The guitar featured two P-90 single-coil pickups, one volume control knob with a “tone” knob on the lower bout. It was available in Sunburst, Goldtop (1953–1969), cherry (1954 only), and Wine red (in 1958). The sunburst finish is known as “TV Yellow.” Gibson produced around 8,000 Les Paul Juniors between 1952 and 1969.

The Les Paul Junior is a much simpler design than the original Les Paul and was cheaper to produce. Its body is solid mahogany with a carved maple top (unlike the one-piece mahogany top of the regular Les Paul). The simplified design made production easier and cheaper, but the absence of a maple top layer meant that the Les Paul Junior’s tone was not as bright and crisp as the more expensive models.

The original models had two P-90 pickups, but some reissue Juniors have one or more Gibson humbucker pickups instead. The original wiring did not support coil splitting, which allows the guitarist to use only one of the two coils in a humbucker. However, Gibson’s Dirty Fingers wiring modification accomplishes this on some reissue Juniors, and most modern versions have a push-pull switch to enable coil splitting. The Les Paul Junior has a single volume control with tone on the lower bout and was available in sunburst (which is more of a yellow color), wine red (1958–1960) cherry finish.

The Les Paul Junior has been used by many influential guitarists, including The Who’s Pete Townshend, Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain, Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore, The Strokes’ Nick Valensi and Julian Casablancas, former Nirvana member David Grohl (who has used several Les Paul Juniors on tour with the Foo Fighters) and Queens of the Stone Age’s Josh Homme.

Gibson Firebird

The Gibson Firebird X or X-Bird is a Gibson model that was produced in the mid-1990s. It combined the visual style of several earlier Firebird models with elements of other designs from Gibson’s catalog to produce an entirely new guitar. The Firebird X has become highly collectible in recent years among serious players and collectors due to its distinctive appearance, excellent build quality, and the fact that only 4,095 units were produced.

The Firebird X is essentially a re-imagining of the original 1967 “reverse” Firebird III with elements from several other Gibson models. It features an offset double-cutaway mahogany body which is carved into a pointed, aggressive “X” shape. The depth of the body increases towards the lower bout to accommodate humbucker pickups, which were included with all Firebird X models. A single-cutaway version was introduced in 1994 but only ten were produced before being discontinued due to poor sales.

The headstock is unique to the Firebird X in that it features a “modified” reverse angle headstock, which Gibson used on its other X-shaped guitars of the time. The original Firebird’s double cutaway design was based on Les Paul Juniors of the 1960s and this visual element is reinterpreted by the Firebird X as a pointed “X” shape.

The distinctive headstock is mirrored by the bridge, which has two cutaways on each side to allow easier access to the upper frets. Other visual elements from other Gibson models include an inlayed pearl Gibson logo and white truss rod cover (seen on the Gibson Melody Maker), black speed knobs (similar to those used on the Les Paul Junior) and pointed three-and-three headstock (seen on Gibson’s 335 series).

The Firebird X was produced in two distinct versions: Series I, which were built from 1993 until 1995; and Series II, which were built from 1995 until 1996. The Series I was available in three versions: the Firebird X Standard, with two humbucking pickups and a stopbar tailpiece; the Firebird X Deluxe, which had one single-coil pickup in addition to the humbuckers and a tune-o-matic bridge with a floating tremolo tailpiece; and the Firebird X Custom, which had two single-coil pickups instead of humbuckers. A four-string version was introduced in 1994, but only ten were produced before being discontinued due to poor sales.

Fender Telecaster

The Fender Telecaster is a solid-body electric guitar introduced in the early 1950s. It was originally offered as a separate model, but became widely adopted as the “Telecaster” pickup (and later, “Fender Stratocaster”) were combined into one unit. In 1954 it was renamed the Fender Broadcaster and from there on until the early 1970s, the Telecaster and Stratocaster were essentially identical twins.

The Telecaster was originally offered in sunburst or natural finishes. In later years Fender introduced a number of alternative colors and refinements to the standard Telecaster. These innovations included models with distinctively-shaped necks and others designed to improve the reliability and sustain of solid body electrics, including a one-piece cast aluminum “humbucking” pickup replacing the normal two-piece unit; these are commonly known as American Standard Telecasters or “AS” models.

Fender also produced a few high-end “lawsuit” editions of the guitar, notably the Firebird and Stratocaster (which were not truly special edition models but had distinctive paint jobs), as well as one or two limited edition instruments sold to obtain exclusive designs unavailable elsewhere, such as nine- and twelve-string models and others. The double Telecaster (which has two independent bridges for each string) was introduced in the 1970s, as well as a dual pickup version called the “Double Trouble” which gave an extra output jack to run both pickups at once with separate volume knobs.

The following year, Fender introduced a new model called the “Broadcaster”, based on a double-cutaway body designed by Paul Bigsby. Also in 1950, Leo Fender released his own design for the electric guitar. He calls it the “Esque” or “Esquire.” His prototype features two humbucking pickups in a large, wooden-composite pickguard. R&D chief Adolph Rickenbacker liked Bigsby’s design but had reservations about its high price and ordered Leo to make several improvements of his own.

The first prototype featured two single-coil pickups, which “he quickly switched to a double-pickup version.” Rickenbacker also made the first prototype’s control plate and bridge out of wood, then machined a wooden insert to fit into a steel-core maple shell. This second prototype changed from twin humbucking pickups to one humbucker mounted between the coils of each pickup.

Recent Posts


Welcome to Holidays in the Sun, the #1 music-related blog in the world, where you can find the latest music news, reviews, and opinions on current artists. We are committed to bringing you the best music out there, whether it be mainstream or not!

© 2016