Music History

Published on June 8th, 2019 | by Alan Cross

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The greatest punk songs of all time–as viewed in 1981. How times have changed.

OpenCulture.com found this list of the 100 greatest punks songs assembled by the staff and readers of Sounds magazine in 1981.

Keeping in mind that punk was at best seven years old at the time, this makes for some interesting reading. Consider:

  1. The Clash was still a going concern. They wouldn’t break up for another four years.
  2. Hardcore punk was still in the process of being invented in 1981.
  3. The post-punk scene (consisting of bands that couldn’t have happened without punk happening first) was still finding its feet. Odd to see Siouxsie and the Banshees, Killing Joke, and (maybe) Public Image Ltd. included on the list. And if the list-makers were going in that direction, why no Joy Division?



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About the Author

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.


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