Poll: Who was the ultimate punk band?

Fight!

Last week I posted something about going to a Stranglers gig and was enjoying the vitriol about them not being a ”˜proper punk band’.
After 25 odd years the argument is still running and it needs sorting out.

Just what is a proper punk band?

We decided to have a poll and some notes her to help you make your decision

Ramones

Pros

Musically they are arguably the most influential band of them all. Invented the barre chord buzzsaw sound template that nearly everyone copied. After they played London in 1976 everyone speeded up and copped their leather trousers and drainpipes look.

Cons

The punk police get quite agitated and sneer that they had long hair, some of them were staunch Republicans – too bubblegum.

Crass

Pros

They combined the counter culture with punk and made a potent brew. Explained just what anarchism really was and set an example of how it could be done

Cons

The punk police claim that they were hippies in disguise

The Clash

Pros

They had the look, the anthems, the passion, the style

Cons

Some say they were the ”˜boy band of punk and were too contrived’

Buzzcocks

Pros

Invented the punk rock DIY single, sang clever, subversive love songs

Cons

They sang clever subversive love songs when the punk rule book asked for street politics.

UK Subs

Pros

Toured for ever, Charlie Harper is man of the people, never lets you down

Cons

The punk police always looked down on the so called second wave bands and didn’t like Charlie for being ”˜too old’.

Sex Pistols

Pros

They invented it, they had the sex, style and subversion

Cons

Punk police claim they were too contrived and were a fake band.

The Stranglers

Pros

Genuinely innovative and aggressive, wrote great songs, were true to themselves, never claimed to be punk anyway

Cons

The punk police didn’t like moustaches and keyboards – there were rules at that time! And also hit them with the misogynist stick and are still outraged by their antics- which was sort of the point wasn’t it?

Subway Sect

Pros

Awkward misfits who ignored all the rules of punk and made up their own

Cons

Awkward misfits who ignored all the rules of punk and made up their own.

Generation X

Pros

Wrote great anthems and were genuinely exciting- understood pop art and were in right at the start.

Cons

The punk police never liked Billy Idol because their girlfriends wanted to shag him.

X Ray Spex

Pros

Poly Styrene was a true original and lyrically brilliant

Cons

Were there any?

The Damned

Pros

Eccentric vaudeville whose debut album is one of the great rock n roll records wup their with the Stooges and the MC5. Brian James was there right at the start- arguably the first person in the UK who knew high octane rock n roll was to be the order of the day.

Cons

The punk police never liked them because they were not part of the ”˜inner circle’

Stiff Little Fingers

Pros

Genuine anger from Belfast and great songs

Cons

The punk police never trusted anyway who was not from London or part of the first wave.

The Slits

Pros

The ultimate punky reggae party

Cons

None

Adam And the Ants

Pros

Their initial bizarre take on punk rock was almost perfect.

Cons

The punk polics don’t like anyone who makes it.

The Fall

Pros

So full of punk rock vitriol and awkwardness that they were not punk at all

Cons

The Punk police don’t like ”˜this kind of music.’

Siouxsie And The Banshees

Pros

Siouxsie is one of the icons of punk and the music was innovative

Cons

The punk police always claim they were a ‘goth band’

Rancid

Pros

Proof that the punk spirit can survive in the 21st century. great anthemic, punk rock songs.

Cons

The punk police really hate them.

[poll id=”4″]

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29 comments on “Poll: Who was the ultimate punk band?”

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  1. its all about The Clash for me :)

  2. Conflict

  3. Fugazi. Politics, personal politics and a wider musical base than most

  4. Difficult. Depends on which way the wind is blowing and your own personal definition of “Punk”. Initial thought – “only one answer, The Sex Pistols” but it all depends on what “Punk” means to you. If “ultimate” means “first” then MC5, The Stooges, NYD & The Ramones will occupy a lot of peoples first thoughts along with The Damned (New Rose & all that etc). If it means impact on the (UK) populus then my initial thought would suffice. If it means not conforming to anybodys rules then there is no better suggestion than Vic Godard & Subway Sect.

    The genre “Punk” has so many flavours under it’s umbrella which makes a definitive answer impossible. Don’t worry, it’s all music, it’s all good in it’s own way.

    Not conforming to rules & the D.I.Y. ethic dictates that anyone claiming to be the “Ultimate Punk Band” simply isn’t because of this. How “Punk” is that?

  5. The Sex Pistols were the ones to take it out of the underground and let the kids in the provincial towns get in on it all. Probably not what the punk police wanted, but what use is preaching to the converted? For that reason alone i`m voting for them.
    Special mention for Dead Kennedys and Angelic Upstarts though.

  6. Good Lord! Decisions, decisions…

    Andy Kershaw once described The Clash as the ultimate folk band.

    Right, off to think now!

  7. Wot, no Suicide?

  8. Stranglers the original protaganists, helped kick start the movement before anyone really knew what Punk was. Damned first single ‘New Rose’ greatest punk song, Stranglers ‘No More Heroes’ Sex Pistols /’Never mind the Bollocks’ greatest Punk Albums.

  9. twitter_mike_mcconnell

    Don’t forget the punk police’s hatred of SLF for Gordon Ogilvie’s involvement – as if that mattered a damn. I love all of the above bands for all the contrary reasons you have nailed. Aside from the obvious NMTB as the definitive LP, I’d vote for ‘Inflammable Material’ – it’s pop, it’s punk, it’s fast, it’s righteous, it’s anarchist, it’s rough as sandpaper, it’s on an independent, it’s for the kids, by the kids.

    And the mighty Stranglers are my favourite band. So there.

  10. Johnny Robertson

    tricky…because they all adopted their own attitudes after the short snipey songs of the ramones, stranglers and pistols…xray spex were out there – Poly styrene was a visionary and took the punk ethos further which is what i thought ideas were about…

  11. twitter_librarypigg

    Back in the day, there was a fanzine called New Youth, whose tag was “Youth is not an age it’s an attitude”. And that is the key to punk, not the clothes, the music, or even the haircut, it’s the attitude.

    Anyway, not sure about punkiest band, but one of my favourite punkiest gigs was Cornershop, Blood Sausage & Huggy Bear at the Adelphi in Hull. Most of Cornershop didn’t turn up, so members of the BS & HB filled in, with either a roadie or a manager singing the lyrics from a sheet of A4. It was brilliant.

  12. Early Clash. End of.

  13. Sex Pistols for the win. Other contenders: Black Flag, Dead Boys

  14. Brilliant. And yes, no cons whatsoever with X-Ray Spex. THE punk band of all time. And yay for the punk police hating Rancid – any band that ‘claims the artistic rights’ to Crass (and yes, they have) deserves to have bottles of piss hurled at them.

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  16. Peter Jackson

    Top 3 The Sex Pistols, The Clash, The Damned in that order

  17. The exceedingly average NO BRAINS UK

  18. Lennart Lindström

    It´s a photo finish between Sex Pistols and Damned. And the winner is Sex Pistols!

  19. Ramones or stranglers both so good. sex pistols are more punky but I like Ramones or stranglers although buzz and sex pists are good.

  20. Sex Pistols and Ramones are everything punk is about. Sex Pistols have the intelligence, attitude, politics, and a raw sound. Ramones have the speed, short songs, melody, and 1-2-3-4 count rock n roll. Both are DIY, innovative, and play simple, but effective music. I love those bands and they both get my vote.

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