Top 10 Greatest Punk Songs

See the final results of this week's poll to find the greatest punk rock songs ever.

Ultimate Guitar

This week we asked UG readers to vote for the greatest punk songs of all time. After hundreds of nominations and thousands of votes, the results are in.

US punk bands have done well for themselves in this chart, which is great because American punk has been an integral part of rock culture. Still, it's a shame not to see more British punk acts when the country generated so much great music during this period. Democracy rules, though, and you'll probably agree the final list has plenty of good results.

We'll leave it to you to decide if the final top 10 is up to scratch in the comments. For now, hit play and get your air drums out: it's time to shave yourself a mohawk and listen to the greatest punk songs ever.

10. The Stooges "Search and Destroy"

How better to start than with what is arguably the original punk band? These guys were punk before punk was even invented. And then, when punk came around for real, the released albums like "Raw Power" to show their garage rock sound still had more attitude than a city has electricity. Iggy Pop mixed this track, you know - and in 1997 he teamed up with Iron Maiden singer Bruce Dickinson for another more aggressive remix.

9. Black Flag "Rise Above"

Check out this video to know what live punk in the 1980s was all about. Black Flag were like a condensed version of everything great about hardcore punk, from the sweat and compassion to the intensity of their social message. Bands like this wrote music that couldn't sell out by default, and their integrity will always be intact for it.

8. Refused "New Noise"

When Refused released their 1998 swan song "The Shape of Punk to Come," they probably had no idea how true that would be. It became a template for post-hardcore acts, with their explosive sound being emulated off by hundreds of acts since. "New Noise" is only one bombastic example of what this album sounds like.

7. Green Day "Longview"

Green Day's first major label single started life as a bass riff written by Mike Dirnt when he was on acid. "I was frying on acid so hard," he said. "Later, it took me a long time to be able to play it, but it made sense when I was on drugs."

6. Suicidal Tendencies "Institutionalized"

Suicidal Tendencies' defining song was re-recorded in 1993 and won a Grammy - which sounds a little too mainstream for this list's punk attitude, so we're posting the original. It tells the story of singer Mike Muir and his run-ins with friends and parents. The funk elements were introduced by bassist Rob Trujillo, who of course is better known now as the Metallica bassist.

5. Misfits "Astro Zombies"

Inspired by the 1968 film of the same name, this song appeared on their 1982 album "Walk Among Us" which was mostly compiled of older songs that were being re-recorded again. Eagle-eyed fans will notice a photo of the band in the album sleeve is of a 1979 version of the band lineup, with Bobby Steele and Joe Image instead of Doyle and Googy who perform on the album. There's a distinct echo of Black Flag's "Rise Above" in the intro, but it quickly dives into Misfits' awesome signature sound.

4. The Clash "London Calling"

This list proves that "London Calling" is one of the defining British punk songs. Drawing influence from reggae on the baseline, Joe Strummer's frantic wailing is one of the most important moments in political music history. If you don't know what it's like to experience the dark side of London, this is it.

3. Sex Pistols "Anarchy in the UK"

Frontman Johnny Rotten might be turning less and less likeable in his old age, depending on your opinion (with this apparently sexist outburst being a recent tipping point), but you can't deny he's going to be the poster boy for punk rock for centuries to come.

2. Dead Kennedys "Holiday in Cambodia"

This single helped the band catch the attention of Polydor, but singer Jello Biafra threatened to leave the group if they sold out to the label. He didn't need to bother; they lost interest when they found out their next single would be titled "Too Drunk to F--k."

1. Ramones "Blitzkrieg Bop"

Ramones might not play aggressive punk like their musical brethren, but they took the garage rock sound of The Stooges and made it more fun and accessible than ever. The entire pop-punk genre owes its existence to this anthem, which says a lot about its impact on Western music. All together now: "Hay! Ho! Let's go!"

That's the end of our top 10 greatest punk songs list, as voted by UG readers.

Actually, that's not quite the end. There was one song which won far more votes than the Ramones, or any other act on this list. Drum roll please ... Britney Spears, congratulations, you're the real winner of our poll with your hardcore punk track "Oops! I Did It Again." Come and collect your prize!

Of course, we all know that Britney's song is real punk, despite the fact we haven't included it in the final list. So let's just pretend these songs are just "those ten which are still below 'Oops! I Did It Again.'"

Let us know what you think of the final results, and how you would improve them, in the comments - and hit the Facebook 'like' button if you want to share the greatest punk songs ever with your friends.

206 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Close enough to Oops! I did it again...
    As much as I like Local H, they're more rock than punk
    If you can tell by my avatar, I love Local H. They are not punk, though. you're right. Their early stuff (demos before even their first album) was a lot more punk stuff, but the majority of their catalog definitely is not. that being said, they do an awesome cover of Static Age.
    I know that this list is old but, Anarchy in the U.K by Sex Pistols should be #2. I agree blitzkrieg bop is number one
    THIS IS SO FUCKING PAINFUL TO SEE. I had to log in to post this comment holy shit am I pissed. WHO THE FUCK MADE THIS??!!?! Fucking BLitz Bop AS RAMONES BST PUNK SONG:??!?!?! WTF. GREENDAY LONGVIEW!?!?!?? WTF ... HOLIDAY IN CAMBODIA!!?!?!?!? HOLY SHIT U MAINSTREAM FUCK BAG THAT MADE THIS. NEVER AGAIN ATTEMPT A PUNK THREAD ESPECIALLY REGARDING THEIR RANK. gODAMN there were so many better songs by there bands and bands not included and everythings outa wack. some bands should not even be in there **** this im out
    very american centered, punk IS british... and I'm not even british lol
    Punk rock was born in the states. Sex pistols ripped off of Richard Hell.
    You are correct!
    Probably influenced but REAL punk started in England. Remember, Punk is more than just a genre of music, there is a fascinating culture behind it too.
    Define REAL punk...
    Well you could define that punk started in the basement of a Sex shop in London where a bunch of people who were at the bottom of society used to hang out. The Bromley Contingent. Or you could say the kids who grew up in squats sniffing glue are the real punks. Youtube: 1983 Islington Squatter Punk Documentary. All Richard Hell did was influence the clothing of Punk. But if you think Punk is just clothing then you seriously haven't a clue about the true culture of Punk.
    Yeah he definitely didn't the first punk anthem ever or anything like that. The fact that you dismiss Hell's contribution to punk rock shows that you know jack shit. I see you're from the UK so I can understand the bias, but give credit where it's due.
    Stooges and the Clash shoulda been higher, but decent list all in all
    I think Holidays in the Sun by Sex Pistols should be on this list as well as Linoleum by Nofx, Come Out and Play (Keep 'Em Separated) by The Offspring, fugazzi, Descendants, Guttermouth, The Vandals, and Get Busy Living or Get Busy Dying (Do Your Part to Save the Scene and Stop Going to Shows) by Fall Out Boy...
    Holidays in the sun is a ripoff of The Jam's In the city so it shouldn't be there. Fall ouf boy? Hahahahahahahahh.
    mitch the kitch
    It's funny how every song, except the Clash one, are all on Tony Hawk's games but just not the same version as these.
    I'm just going to go listen to Bad Religion and Bad Brains, you can have your list UG
    Greenday? Thought this was a punk list...
    I didn't know "Pop Punk" was considered Punk anymore.
    Neither did I - Green Day isn't punk, you can like it all you want but it's Pop-punk.
    Dookie is simply a punk record with catch melodies. Cry some more about how they are too successful to be considered a punk band.
    Aren't most of these covered in Tony Hawk games?
    THUG 2 - Ramones, Rancid, Frank Sinatra, Johnny Cash, Joy Division. Damn, that was one kick-ass soundtrack
    Oh man it does indeed. Anytime I hear a song from THUG 2 I get slapped in the face with nostalgia, haha.
    i dont understand why you guys hate Green day so much and consider them not punk. just remember its the Top 10 PUNK songs, the songs must be punk, not just the artist
    Yeah, i mean, longview, a meaningless lo fi song about jacking off, thats punk enough for me
    (gets angry like Samuel L. Jackson) FUGAZI MOTHERFUCKER, DO YOU LISTEN TO THEM? (takes a deep breath and calms down) But really, Fugazi, man.
    Idk what's with the downvotes on real punk bands like this. I sense the Green Day fanboys here...
    Forming by The Germs should have been on this list. The Germs started the LA hardcore scene
    Fuck it...that's as good a list as we're going to get, I live all those songs.
    Hmm, NOFX and Bad religion should have been there, but i understand, there are too many good punk bands to include in one list.
    This list is actually pretty awesome. It's hard to order them all, but I think every song on this list belongs here. There are other greats, but it's hard to pick one of these to drop in their favor. I will say that Blitzkrieg Bop absolutely deserved the top spot though!
    Sleeping in
    Decent list, it would have been nice to see some Fugazi on here, however. Also... maybe I'm the only person... but although Blitzkrieg Bop kind of kicked it all of I definitely wouldn't put it as number one. That's just my own opinion though.
    fugazi Was put up as my nomination, Minor Threat too. Ian MacKaye is such an important figure.
    But UG always approves all my suggestions. My opinions seem to be one of their first priorities. Way to go! XD
    I would have put Longview in front of Institutionalized...but oh well.
    I would have put Longview far away from any best-of punk list since it's not really punk itself (and I'm a Green Day fan).
    I honestly think longview is a great song, if not one of their best (maybe borderline with basketcase). Any song from Green Days dookie days deserves a slot somewhere on a top 10 punk songs.
    Me too. It would also be nice to see some Bad Religion or Social Distortion up there.
    Yup...of course Green Day gets the majority of the votes. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.
    Yeah, I was really hoping to see both here too. Probably my only gripe about this list.
    Good list. I would have liked to have seen Should I Stay Or Should I Go in there too.
    Nero Galon
    Having 1 song from each band is enough to make it fair. As much as how awesome The Clash were.
    Specially when that band are no punk at all xD Well, they have some ska influences here and there...
    Nero Galon
    The Clash had a wide variety of sounds. Overall they were punk (to me), they had songs which would pass for a different genre but songs like Career Opportunities and Tommy Gun are definitely punk.
    Their first album was definetly punk, as punk started to die own, their style got more varied with songs like Londons Calling and Should I Stay Or Should I Go
    They may have had a sound that varied more than most but they were still punk and were part of that community at the time. If you look at the most well known bands from the first wave they don't sound like stereotypical punk bands because it was about the message, not the vessel.
    solexhn sex pistols and blitzkrieg bop is number 1? oh, and congratulations to the dude that suggested Britney Spears!
    A lot of trolls in Pop Punk wed question, and a lot of votes and nominations in Punk Rock wed question, next Hardcore Punk please. You missed Bad Brains by the way
    Honorable mention to... The Who - My Generation.
    I was disappointed that song didn't make it, especially since it had been nominated a bunch of times. If The Stooges could make it for being protopunk, I think The Who would be eligible too.
    I think you missed the "punk" part...
    early Who is considered Protopunk. if Mother Love Bone is considered grunge when they were kinda glammy, The Who could be viewed as punk, especially in their early days.
    They definitely had the raw energy that you see and hear in punk
    Jagstang Cobain
    The who may not be all punk but My Generation sounds punk enough. I mean it has a simple energy filled riff and kickass attitude.
    Absolutely no Bad Religion??
    Social Distortion?
    Don't agree with Dead Kennedys at number 2, but a good list...Ramones is the best as well. It just energizers you but in a more fun way
    What's Green Day doing here?
    Agree. Bands like Green Day don't deserve to be mentioned on this "hipster-infested" site. It's pretty obvious, hipsters like you always generalize the band before the chosen song. Good Job.
    Hmm...well Green Day i far from more punk than bands like GBH or The Adicts who arent even on this list? Just a thought..
    I know, it's not like they spearheaded the punk-rock rebirth in the 90s or anything...
    Green Day really?
    Dookie is absolutely one of the best punk records of all time, definitely the best after the first wave of the 70's/80's.
    You may not like them now, but 1994 was Green Day at their best! Amazing punk album, no denying that.
    Yeah. What Green Day did during the 90's allowed "punk" to reach more people. They rightfully deserve a track in this top 10 just for that. I'm not so much a fan of them today, but the Dookie years justify a place in this top 10.
    I know people voted for these, but that is possibly the worst list I have ever seen, I mean a better clash song should have been chosen, there's nothing by the damned, the buzzcocks, stiff little fingers, the ruts etc. who should all be up there rather than ****ing green day or whatever. Personally for me there's far too much American stuff on this list and not enough British, which is where punk began and early on was at its best and truest.
    Maybe they'll have a "Best British Punk Song" poll and you'll get more British music. Who cares where the genre was originated? By this logic The Beatles (or early equivalent) would win every Rock n Roll poll, and Sabbath (or early equivalent) every Metal poll, etc... Why even have a poll if the first bands in the genre are the only ones you are allowed to vote for?
    the punk sound is more american than british although the best bands are british, remember proto punk bands like MC5, the Stooges, New york dolls, even the trashmen, and other garage bands
    One thing to concider, is that a lot of the punk bands in London in the 70s hadn't heard of many of the American bands at the same time. They all claim to be much more influenced by the DIY attitude of the pub rock scene
    Missing.... The Damned = New Rose TSOL = Code Blue The Buzzcocks = Ever Fallen In Love Fear = I Love Livin In The City Circle Jerks =Wild In The Streets Just A Thought....
    Almost Forgot..... The Cramps - Garbage Man
    I knew The Cramps wouldn't make the list even though they really deserve to.
    They were rockabilly punk. they were part of the scene in the 70's during the rise of CBGB... you're right they should be on this list.