100 best punk songs 29-36
by Michele Christopher

On the subject of reader additions to the list - turtle mentioned earlier in the week that we don't want the list filled with just a couple of bands, so we are kinda limiting what goes in. So if we pick and choose from what you send us, that's why. And thanks for what you do send. You can still get in on the list, just use the contact info on the sidebar and send us 1-3 songs you think should be on the top 100, with a short blurb about each, in the style we've been doing.

Today looks like an old school day. Real old school.

First, two from Cullen Half a Pica Distance

29. Holiday in Cambodia, Dead Kennedys
One of the first punk songs I ever heard that proved to me that some punk guitarists actually knew how to play. Politics aside, DK has always had a powerful sound and Jello had a vicious wit to match. Holiday in Cambodia catures everything good about this band without getting terribly cheesy. download

30. Search and Destroy, The Stooges: I don't think there's much debate that The Stooges are the first real punk band. The created the sound that launched the New York Dolls who in turn launched The Sex Pistols and inspired The Ramones. Search and Destroy shows us the angry, anti-hippy angst that was bleeding out of the Motor City. download

Two from Solonor:

31. The Clash - London's Burning
As unfashionable as it seems to be (maybe it's just me), the Clash are my second favorite punk band. The opening of this song is classic. Joe Strummer screams, the guitar and drums pound out a fanfare, and we're off. The lyrics aren't much for much, compared to other songs, but I just change "London's burning with boredom now!" to "Bangor's burning with boredom now!" and go on with my little teenage angsty life. download

32. Ramones - Beat on the Brat
"Blitzkrieg Bop" kicked off the revolution with a "Hey! Ho! Let's Go!", but this one is more typical of what appeals to me with the Ramones. It works on so many levels at once, and it's the blueprint for most of their future songs. You can use it when you're angry. You can laugh at it (they don't really mean it...right?). You can take it as autobiographical (kinda like "sittin' here in Queens, eatin' refried beans, gulping down thorazines...") Plus, it rocks the hell out. download

Two from Andrew

33. Jim Carroll Band - People Who Died
All great cultures honor their dead. The punk subculture is no exception. [This song] is a celebration of Jim Carroll's many friends who died on the mean streets of New York. The gritty reallities of their tragic deaths is celebrate - and mourned -- with a solid rock backbeat. No maudlin dirges for Jim Carroll and his band. This song is a pure celebration of his friends' short, tragic lives. download

34. Sex Pistols - God Save the Queen
The Pistols created quite a stir when they performed this song on a cruise ship on the Thames during the Jubilee Celebration. While the British press was all wrapped up in the fanfare of the Queen's Jubilee and celebration the nation's glorious past, the punks, led by the Sex Pistols, were turning their backs to the pomp and declaring independence from the celebrated past. The Sex Pistols commentary was expressed in a phrase that became the rallying cry of punks in '77: "no future." download

And one from each of us:

35. Circle Jerks - Live Fast, Die Young
Talk about anthems. I was 18 when this song came out. When you’re 18 you fluctuate between feeling like you are gonna live forever and feeling like you want to die. Those two things kind of lend themselves to each other when you spend every night doing some sort of damage to your body and your brain cells and your life expectancy, and you really just don’t give a fuck about growing old and you sit around talking about how much getting older sucks and what is the point when the world is going to shit anyhow so you sit outside the bar in your car wondering if you are too drunk or stoned to drive and you pop Group Sex into the cassette player and you spend the next hour screaming live fast, die young and you think, hell yea. That’s what I’m gonna do. Live fast, die young. We see how that worked out. - M download

36. NoMeansNo - Big Dick - Wanna call them punk? hm. Well they had a punk following. Does that count? Make your own call. I don't fucking know. They influenced alot of punk bands. Does that count? Hm. I don't know. But I guess you can call them punk, or not. I don't really care. This song was on a great album that basically changed the way alot of people thought about punk rock. From guitarist and vocalist driven to bass drive. It changed alot of things we were doing. We never thought about things like that. They had a new style and a new approach. "You could rule a set with a bass? Really? Really?" This band started making people think that bass players weren't the background anymore. They were up front. And they had issues. - T download

And as an extra added bonus for you, the Richard Cheese verison of Holiday in Cambodia


Jim Carroll link busted


If you or your readers are interested in hearing more from Jim Carroll, he's doing a spoken word show at MASS MoCA (Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art), Saturday, August 19 at 8 PM. You can find out more at http://www.massmoca.org/performing_arts/performing_arts.html.



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