10 Best Early Punk Albums

Putting together a list of the ten best early punk albums isn't easy to do. Too many great albums didn't make the cut because there is not enough room. 

  1. "The Ramones" This early punk album by the Ramones may have been the one that started the genre. Of course, at the time, the world did not yet know what they were hearing. Like all of the Ramones' albums, this one wastes no energy on polish. It's even debatable as to whether they tuned their instruments. This album is often attributed to being the beginning of punk.
  2.  "The Clash" When The Clash released this self-titled album it added something to the genre. After this album, punk bands realized that they could use the format to make not only raucous music, but also social and political statements.
  3. "Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables" Dead Kennedys continued with the idea of using punk rock to get their political and social views heard. They, too, did it in a loud way on tracks like "Kill the Poor" in which they sarcastically point out the beauty of the neutron bomb.
  4. "Never Mind the Bullocks" Your first clue that a list of the ten best early punk albums is authentic is whether it includes this politically motivated album by The Sex Pistols. Most of their political anger and insight, seemingly vomited by Johnny Rotten, is aimed at England.
  5. "Raw Power" Iggy and the Stooges who made this album are not to be confused with the comedy team. This is serious stuff. The album is hard and raw and, ironically, was not a great hit for them at the time of release. However, it did go on to be one of those early punk albums that other bands named as their inspiration.
  6. "WalkAmong Us" Some fans like to classify The Misfits as zombie rock and horror punk. If you are a fan of old low-budget science fiction movies, greasers, and rockabilly, this punk album is for you. In fact, file it as "punkabilly."
  7. "Kick Out the Jams" This was the first album by MC5. Some music lovers attribute this as the album that brought punk to America. MC5 was their own band and had a more brutal delivery of their message, which was often sex related.
  8. "London Calling" The catalog of the ten best early punk albums just had to have one more in it by The Clash. Much of this album is committed to situations that were happening in London at the time. Whether it is a good thing or not, this recording has songs that were the first to get radio play for any punk band.
  9. "Damaged" If there were such a thing, this album by Black Flag could bear the tag of heavy punk. Because it is so hardcore, it many considered it a crossover album that leads the way to harder rock.
  10. "Double Nickels on the Dime" This early punk album is a two-record set performed by Minutemen. Some experimentation on the album blends genres not common to the punk scene; namely jazz and funk. Because of that, this one is considered to be a little too "uptown" by purists.
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