Best 1977-Era Punk

I listen to indie rock and love to keep up on what’s new, but my favourite old music is 1977-era punk. I bet Johnny Rotten never imagined that 50-year-old moms would be working out to his music 35 years later 🙂 Yes, it is my music of choice when going for walks, working out, and doing strenuous house cleaning. What a rebel I am, LOL! I don’t relate too much to teenage rebellion any more (although of course I have to deal with my kid’s). In retrospect, this music is pretty tame – it sounds like power pop by today’s standards. Although it seemed brand-new at the time, now I can hear 1950s rock n’ roll all over it.

I can tolerate the lyrics about street fights and drugs in much the same way as if I were reading them in a book: the words have nothing to do with me personally. And I feel fine sharing them with my kid (past age 13, anyway): I will never forget when Link discovered my Clash and Specials albums (on vinyl) and played them on a turntable. Link became more politically aware through listening to punk, and still likes ska.

I stopped listening to punk around 1980 because I didn’t prefer the more aggressive “hardcore” sound that was developing in bands like The Dead Kennedys, Black Flag and Minor Threat. I went on to listen to New Wave and Post-Punk instead. I haven’t included bands like The Buzzcocks on my punk list because I think they’re too power pop (but I’m crazy for them, The Jam, XTC…and don’t even get me started on Adam and the Ants!)

Without further ado, here are my Top 15 Favourite Classic Punk albums – in order by date. OH CUDDLY OLD SCHOOL PUNK I LOVE YOU!

  • New York Dolls – New York Dolls (July 1973) – The Stooges notwithstanding, it starts here!
  • The Vibrators – Pure Mania (June 1977) – Raucous rock & roll
  • Richard Hell and the Voidoids – Blank Generation (September 1977) – Intro to lurching punk vocals
  • Sex Pistols – Never Mind the Bollocks (October 1977) – Incomparable jolt
  • Ramones – Rocket to Russia (November 1977) – or choose any of their first 4 albums
  • Generation X – Generation X (March 1978) – beginning of pop punk?
  • The Rezillos – Can’t Stand the Rezillos (July 1978) – funny and frenetic with dazzling bass
  • X-Ray Spex – Germ Free Adolescents (November 1978) – commentary on consumerism in 78
  • The Dickies – The Incredible Shrinking Dickies (1979) – cartoonish and silly – in a good way
  • The Undertones – The Undertones (May 1979) – teenage zeitgeist
  • The Clash – The Clash (US edition July 1979) – Punk, politics and reggae
  • The Slits – Cut (September 1979) – Punk goes tribal (also anti-consumer!)
  • The Cramps – Songs the Lord Taught Us (1980) – “inventors” of psychobilly
  • Stiff Little Fingers – Hanx! (Live) (1980) – exciting mash-up of hits from early albums
  • X – Los Angeles (April 1980) – punk goes rockabilly, with duets

I never, ever get tired of punk because it RULES!

5 comments

  1. Best thing I’ve read all night. I’m turning forty next month and I still listen to punk daily-only I came a little after the first wave stuff, so hardcore punk is more my ball of wax. Still, I can certainly dig me some of the original era punk, that’s for sure. Your list is excellent (especially the addition of The Cramps, who often get overlooked as one of the early greats), I would only add one band-The Dead Boys. Sonic Reducer is such a kick ass song to get motivated to.
    Thanks for posting, and yeah, totally, punk still rules!

    • Thanks, Dave. I do have The Dead Boys’ album but it’s actually a little too violent for my taste 🙂 Some others I didn’t include were The Damned, The Ruts, The Skids and U.K. Subs which were all my spouse’s favourite punk bands, but I didn’t listen to them until years later. Cheers!

  2. Can’t say that Ive listened to them all, buy I spent many nights listening to the Clash, Sex Pistols and the Ramones. I should add some of them back into my playlists.

  3. Pingback: Desert Island Discs | An Exacting Life

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