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20 of the most influential punk bands from the 1970s

The 1970s was a pivotal decade for punk rock, and several bands emerged during this time that had a profound influence on the genre and its subsequent development.

Sex Pistols By Riksarkivet (National Archives of Norway) Photograph: Billedbladet NÅ/Arne S. Nielsen
The Sex Pistols live in Norway 1977
  1. Sex Pistols (UK)
    The Sex Pistols are arguably the most iconic and influential punk band of all time. Their rebellious attitude, controversial lyrics, and raw energy helped ignite the punk movement in the UK.
  2. Ramones (USA)
    The Ramones from New York City laid the groundwork for the classic punk sound. Their fast, simple, and aggressive music became a blueprint for countless punk bands worldwide.
  3. The Clash (UK)
    Known for their social and political commentary, The Clash infused punk with elements of reggae, ska, and rockabilly, broadening the genre’s appeal and impact.
  4. The Damned (UK)
    As one of the first British punk bands to release a single (“New Rose”) and an album (“Damned Damned Damned”), The Damned played a crucial role in shaping the early punk scene.
  5. The Buzzcocks (UK)
    With their combination of punk energy and pop melodies, The Buzzcocks left a lasting impact on punk and indie music.
  6. X-Ray Spex (UK)
    Fronted by the iconic Poly Styrene, X-Ray Spex challenged gender norms and consumer culture with their music, making a significant impact on punk’s feminist and DIY movements.
  7. The Saints (Australia)
    Often credited as one of the first punk bands outside the UK and the USA, The Saints brought a fresh, raw energy to the genre and helped establish punk globally.
  8. Dead Boys (USA)
    Hailing from Ohio, Dead Boys were known for their wild, chaotic performances and gritty punk rock sound.
  9. The Germs (USA)
    A prominent band in the Los Angeles punk scene, The Germs embodied the reckless and confrontational spirit of punk.
  10. The Adverts (UK)
    The Adverts were known for their politically charged lyrics and their significant contributions to the UK punk scene.
  11. Iggy and the Stooges (USA)
    Led by Iggy Pop, this band’s wild and intense performances contributed to the development of punk and the broader alternative music scene.
  12. New York Dolls (USA)
    A precursor to punk, the New York Dolls embraced glam and garage rock elements, influencing many later punk and rock bands.
  13. The Jam (UK)
    Though often associated with the mod revival, The Jam’s early punk sound and socially conscious lyrics played a role in the punk movement.
  14. Television (USA)
    An essential part of the early New York punk scene, Television’s intricate guitar work and poetic lyrics set them apart.
  15. Richard Hell and the Voidoids (USA)
    Richard Hell’s punk rock style and influential fashion choices left a mark on the genre’s aesthetics.
  16. The Slits (UK)
    The Slits were pioneers of all-female punk bands and contributed to the genre’s exploration of identity and gender roles.
  17. Sham 69 (UK)
    A key band in the UK’s “Oi!” punk subgenre, Sham 69’s working-class anthems resonated with many young people at the time.
  18. Generation X (UK)
    Fronted by a young Billy Idol, Generation X embodied the energy and rebellion of punk during the late 70s.
  19. The Vibrators (UK)
    Known for their energetic performances, The Vibrators contributed to the early UK punk scene.
  20. The Stranglers (UK)
    Combining punk with elements of new wave and post-punk, The Stranglers helped shape the diverse evolution of punk in the late 70s.

These twenty bands, plus numerous other throughout the 1970’s, played a critical role in establishing punk rock as a vibrant and influential genre. Their impact continues to be felt in music and culture to this day.

Punk is NOT dead.


The American punk merchandise collaboration


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