5 Songs That Created Punk Rock

A look back at the origins of anarchy.

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How did punk rock become such a well known musical phenomenon? To answer that question, you have to understand the fact that some elements of the "punk" musical style were around in a certain degree long before the genre itself existed. This is a list of songs that spawned the art of anarchy.

1. The Kingsmen - "Louie Louie"

Okay, at first glance, this song may not seem like it has anything to do with punk rock, but it's the earliest famous example of a three-chord rock song.

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2. The Kinks - "All Day and All of the Night"

Honestly, I thought this was a Clash song and then I looked it up and found out that it was from 1964. Which blew my mind.

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3. The Beatles - "Helter Skelter"

The Fab Four intended one thing when they recorded this track: as much noise as possible. The result is something that sounds quite like a punk rock song.

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4. New York Dolls - "Personality Crisis"

This band only had one big hit and it may just be the oldest actual punk rock song, despite the fact that the Dolls are usually classified as glam rock.

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5. Ramones - "Blitzkrieg Bop"

The Ramones predated the Sex Pistols by about a year and their debut album is the first thing accepted as "punk rock" by the mainstream.

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I hope everybody enjoyed this odd history lesson. See you all at CBGB's!

63 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Where are the Stooges?
    Anty 7
    My thoughts exactly. They are the definitive protopunk band. I would have taken out Helter Skelter for any song by Iggy and the Stooges (more metal than punk I would say)
    How do you not know all day and all of the night is by the kinks? and if you don't why are you writing a column on music?
    And what about Krautrock? That's proto-punk from Germany with a psychedelic approach. Just listen to this from 1969:
    Can - Outside My Door
    I'd say a lot of credit was due to Chicago Rock and to a certain extend low-budget blues records which focused on simple aggressive chord patterns. None the less, this is definitly an interesting look at how the musical traditions that informed Punk Rock were present even in popular music pre-dating what is now widely ragarded as 'Punk'. I especially enjoyed the inclusion of 'Helter Skelter', I never really thought about it before, but it does sound incredibly punky. It sounds almost exactly like The Melvins, who have cited The Beatles as a massive influence and have atleast covered 'Let Me Roll It', I'd be interested to see what other Beatles songs they've covered, especially if they've done Helter Skelter.
    Those songs all probably had an influence but by no means are they THE 5 songs that Created Punk. Stupid Title.
    Nero Galon
    Words cannot express how excited I got when I first heard Louie Louie. I remember hearing a small section of the song from The Simpsons years ago and its feels so good to be able to know it in full now! Fantastic song.
    Isn't all this fighting to be first a bunch of hipster BULLS**T. Punk isn't supposed to be about the first or last or original. It's supposed to be punk. And each band had their own influences. So classifying which bands started the whole genre would be nearly impossible. Honestly if your a punk fan and you heard "Which songs started punk" and you actually start thinking of the songs/bands, you already lost a little punk inside you.
    Where the f*** is Sex Pistols?
    i think they're reffering more to pre-punk songs. songs that influenced punk for what it is today. I'm surprised there's no iggy pop or 'kick out the jams' by MC5
    The Sex Pistols, fronted by Johnny Rotten, are like the Germs, Ramones or Black Flag, the epitome of punk rock at it's earliest inception. When people didn't know WTF TO CALL IT. Then came bands like the Dead Kennedys. I pity the student of music that thinks that Green Day invented "punk" rock. Or that Metallica invented heavy metal. Both are great bands, and I play songs by both of them. Then again... Maybe it's just me being the old fart in the room.
    In my defense it doesn't say THE five songs that created Punk Rock, for the simple reason that I could probably list 20 or more if I tried hard enough, this is just a view of the evolution of the Punk Rock style.
    the ramones numero uno always. they are the reason for teens picking up the guitar..they are Punk..
    Queen Sheer Heart Attack written in 1974, wasn't released until years later in 1977, because of the Sex pistols.
    If you are looking for the purveyors of Punk sound, then the Kingsmen, the Kinks and the Beatles definitely had some songs that fit in. However, one group that is not mentioned would be the Stones with "Citadel", which just oozes with punk overture...
    I'm amazed no one ever mentions Led Zeppelin's "Communication Breakdown." That song came out in 1969, and it's the closest thing to Punk Rock as it sounded throughout the '70s and '80s, and even later on. But then again, this genre has been evolving gradually and you cannot pinpoint a specific time in Rock history as the starting point. Helter Skelter was more metal than it was Punk. The Beatles wanted a heavy sound, and it was the leading sound ground for later bands such as Black Sabbath, the first true Metal band.
    Who did led zep Nick that from then? Cause they practically nicked all there other stuff from others!!
    Jesus, who the hell accepts these abortions to be posted as columns? Not cool, UG. The standard for the articles to be accepted should be much, much higher.
    The first punk record released was NEW ROSE by THE DAMNED,came out a month or two before the Sex Pistols record.
    wheres the metallica? metallica were clearly pioneers of the punk rock genre in many ways. the kinks? the beatles? ramones? come on...
    You're how old? Metallica, while clearly an awesome band with Cliff Burton on bass and Dave still doing vocals, came about after punk had phased into the more mainstream arena.
    The Who were pretty Proto-Punk with all their Ensemble Singing, and some of the Kinks stuff, was pretty Punk-y and New Wave-y.