Home / Let’s Have a War: The 100 Best Punk Songs

Let’s Have a War: The 100 Best Punk Songs

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My co-blogger “the turtle” and I have decided to come up with our own list of the 100 best punk songs. Yea, it’s been done a million times before, but maybe not by two people with disparate tastes and a broad vision of what punk rock is – two people who will also take suggestions from you to add to the list (Just please don’t say Emerson Lake and Palmer songs or anything about “fire on the mountain” at the Dead show in ’78. This is punk and hardcore and maybe indies). See, we know lists like this can start a small war. But that’s the fun in doing it.

This list will take a while to compile. We’re starting with three songs each. Keep in mind they are in no particular order. We’ll worry – and fight about – ranking and order when we reach 100.

So we start with six tonight – three each – In no particular order.

Turtle’s picks:

SNFU – “She’s Not On The Menu” – What can you say about this song? This song moves. When you listen to it you get the feeling that Chi Pig has seen this shit before and will see it again. And even though he has to watch this happening it doesn’t mean he’s happy about it. His feeling comes out in this song. This was a song about something I take to heart. Treating people like shit just cause you can. And that’s all fucked up. Plus it’s got a cowbell in it! download

The Business – “Harry May”– My first exposure to the Business. These were fun songs, but really not. Do you know what I mean? It was always fun to chant the chorus but the verse was about killing people. I was at a bar during World Cup and they kept this song on constantly. This wasn’t the first time I heard it but I was surprised how many UK fans, young and old, knew this song like the back of their hand. Great song that will get you ready for World Cup ’06. Plus, dude, they talk funny like. “arry arry arry may!” download

Hellacopters -“Fire Fire Fire”– Frustration and anger and fast cars and fast women and fast beer. I’m not sure about the fast beer part. The garage sound on this song really moves you. “Working all day won’t give me a buzz, so I set it for a six pack and a fast car. OH YEAH!” This line is a thing of beauty. Barely able to hear the screams as Dregen rips thru it like a hot knife through butter. Great song about hating where you are at and just wanting to get away. download

For my first three songs, I just went with my three most played songs on my Last Fm thing for this week. I have this tendency to obsess.

Rocket From the Crypt – “Salt Future” It’s one of those songs that you can’t just have on, you don’t just listen to it – you have to sing it. And I mean sing. Loud. Like you mean it. Even if you don’t know the words you just make them up as you go along and then sing real loud on the parts you do know and who knows what the fuck a salt future is or why it’s rising, but god damn this is some good drunken barroom sing-along music and I’m gonna belt this out like I mean it. download

Fugazi – “Promises” Another song you just have to sing, but this one you belt out with the windows in the car rolled up instead of down because your voice may crack on a word or two. The pickup right before he starts in with the “Go where you think you want to go” verse, the promises/words exchange at the end, the way the anger beneath the lyrics comes out as frustration in his voice – it all makes for one of those songs I shouldn’t listen to a lot, but I can’t help doing it anyhow. download

Rich Kids on LSD- “Scab on My Brain” – This song is awesome. It’s fast and loud and obnoxious and, if you do it right, your throat should hurt when you are done singing. And really, having the words SCAB ON MY BRAIN! burst forth from your speakers as your kids’ friends are hanging out in your kitchen is just icing. download

That’s just the start. Six down, 194 to go. Throw some suggestions at us!

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About Michele Catalano

  • This opens the door to the age-old question “What are the roots of punk rock?”. Based on my wide interpretation, my contribution for the list of top 100 punk songs consists of “Roadrunner” by The Modern Lovers, “Pushin’ Too Hard” by the Seeds and “TV Eye” by The Stooges.
    Feel free to disagree.

  • Oh, Roadrunner will definitely appear on my list somewhere.

  • Someone can’t tell the difference between bad music, loud music, fast music and actual punk music.


  • Whey don’t you enlighten us at to what “actual” punk music is?

  • Lets see, I like ‘Satellite’ by the Sex Pistols, ‘Too Drunk to Fuck’ by the Dead Kennedys, Gimme Violation by X-15, ‘Strychnine’ by th Sonics, etc….

  • Hadji

    Dead Milkmen
    My Bitchin Camaro or
    Swordfish has to be in the 100…it has to…

  • zingzing

    “repetition”-the fall

  • HW Saxton

    C’Mon Everybody- Eddie Cochran, Jack The Ripper-
    Link Wray,I’ll Go Crazy – James Brown, You’ve Got
    Your Head On Backwards – The Sonics, Psycho – The
    Swamp Rats, I’m Your Witch Doctor – John Mayall &
    The Bluesbreakers and Out Of Our Tree – Wailers

    That’s just a few from the Pre-Punk era… OK,not
    “PUNK ROCK” per se,but definitely seven very good
    examples of without whom, blah blah blah…

  • HW, good call on the Sonics and Wailers. Both having roots in Tacoma, WA. Many say that these bands are the beginning of punk rock as we know it in modern times.

    But I’ll keep remembering top 100 candidates as the day goes on. How about adding ‘Transmission’ by Joy Division and ‘Angels Ride’ by Napalm Beach.

    Oh man, due to the underground nature of punk rock, this list could get very obscure. And every choice is quite valid!

  • godoggo

    Joe McCarthy’s Ghost.
    We’re Desperate.

  • emilythestrange1992

    “I Wanna Be Sedated”-The Ramones
    “Longview”-Green Day
    “Adam’s Song”-blink-182
    “Smells Like Teen Spirit”-Nirvana
    Just some suggestions. I think the 90’s was a big time for punk, since that’s when it came back into the spotlight, so I do think that a lot of great songs came from the 90’s. But of course the original stuff was beyond good.



    are u serious???? take your head out of your ass! FIRST OFF nirvana is not punk there grunge blink 182 is punk???? are u fucking kidding me???? actually the 70s and 80’s was a “big time for punk” not the 90’s u tard!! all these wanna be pop punk bands flooded in the 90’s and almost killed punk. here are some REAL PUNK BANDS!!

    SHAM 69

  • Jordan

    The Refused. Hands down. Hardcore, political, fast-paced punk. The New Noise is one of the best punk songs ever written.

  • Sean

    The Cockney Rejects definately needs to be on this list, Oi! Oi! Oi!

  • Brian aka Guppusmaximus

    US Bombs – “US of Hate”
    US Bombs – “New Approach”
    Darkbuster – “Hometown Zero”
    The Ramones – “The Crusher”
    Voodoo Glow Skulls – “Empty Bottles”
    The Showcase Showdown – “Another Emergency”

  • terata

    you forgot about DRI they where great live at the channel in boston

  • terata

    eploited wrong side of the grave

  • terata

    the crucifuck- democracy breeds bad taste, hinkley had a vision.

  • alltimelowgirl

    Weightless by All Time Low is definitely one of the best punk songs of 2009!

  • xXxgothxXx

    anything by Avenged Sevenfold or Three Days Grace

  • maegan

    uhm? alltimelow?
    and avenged sevenfold?
    the THREEDAYSGRACE one made me go crazy the most
    you kids have NO idea what your talking about
    i hate the “punks” who say it has to be political to be punk. and knock on anyand everything.
    but really this is not a lie NONE OF THOSE ARE PUNK!
    get your head out of your ass!
    and go listen to some subhumans.