Henry Rollins shares his 20 favorite punk albums

on July 11, 2013, 5:23pm

 Henry Rollins shares his 20 favorite punk albums

I’d like to think Henry Rollins knows more than most people, and not just about things related to music. But as the former figurehead of Black Flag, State of Alert, and Rollins Band, he especially knows his punk music, and thus his list of his 20 favorite punk albums might as well be etched in stone and placed in court houses all around America.

Rollins published the list as part of his weekly column with West Coast Sound. He prefaced his selections by first attempting to define punk music, because a lot of the music you consider punk music is not punk music.

“This list is in no particular order. Lists like these often get confusing because they beg the question, what is Punk? Could Wire, also be considered Post Punk? Where do you put bands like PIL, Joy Division, Television, Patti Smith, Suicide, and Killing Joke? What about Gang of Four, 999 and the Banshees?

“For me, as a lean definition, I go by the classic UK 1977 graduating class, Pistols, Clash, etc., and go from there. Beyond that, there were a lot of great Punk Rock bands who never made full albums. The Machines, The Killjoys, Some Chicken, and countless others. So many great bands and great records in this genre and the surrounding/resulting genres. Best bet is just to get the music playing for as long as possible.”

Of course, being the humble spirit that he is, Rollins also omitted any of his own albums, including Black Flag’s Damaged, but This is still a rock solid list, though I could probably do with a few more Clash albums.

The Clash – The Clash
Generation X – Generation X
The Adverts - Crossing the Red Sea
X-Ray Spex – Germ Free Adolescents
Sex Pistols – Never Mind the Bollocks
The Ramones - The Ramones
Eater – The Album
The Damned – Damned Damned Damned
The Fall – Hex Enduction Hour
The Buzzcocks – Another Music In A Different Kitchen
The Saints – (I’m) Stranded
UK Subs – Another Kind of Blues
Wire – Pink Flag
The Lurkers – Fulham Fallout
Alternate TV – The Image Has Cracked
The Ruts – The Crack
The Germs – GI
X – Los Angeles
The Minutemen – The Punchline
Stiff Little Fingers – Inflammable Material


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August 21, 2014 at 2:20 am

Subhumans – The day the country died / EPLP & Conflict – The ungovernable force.

August 14, 2014 at 11:02 pm

No CRASS????? Probably one of the most underrated punk bands ever!!!! Period!!!!

August 14, 2014 at 8:21 pm

No Dead Kennedys – plastic surgery disasters?

August 14, 2014 at 7:53 pm

No Bad Brains?

Greg Fowler
May 17, 2014 at 5:47 am

“knows more than most people” ?! HUH?

Brendan Wood
May 17, 2014 at 3:10 am

Surprised there’s no Fugazi…

Joel Phillips
May 17, 2014 at 6:04 pm

or Minor Threat’s Out Of Step? hhmmm…

Jeffrey Dock
July 22, 2013 at 10:22 pm

Clash overrated? that’s like saying ice cream is too cold. T
he best punk album is Fear – The Record.

July 19, 2013 at 6:35 pm

guys if some of you didnt like Henrys list then make your own list goddamn, theres too many good punk albums to even try to put into a top 20…

July 13, 2013 at 11:16 am

I know these lists are, by their nature, subjective. but no richard hell?!? inexcusable. and what about the jam???

July 12, 2013 at 9:07 pm

No Misfits?!

July 12, 2013 at 4:01 pm

Iggy Pop no love?

July 12, 2013 at 1:51 pm

Gang of Four?

July 12, 2013 at 1:46 pm

Good list, Clash overrated. Wasn’t about the ratings. Sure we all have favorites. I would like to see Social Distortion, the Circle Jerks, and many others and the genres blur from Metal-Punk-New Age-Surf-Country and we choose our color(s) on the spectrum. I think Dead Kennedy’s should get a nod too. But I have my choices streaming on Pandora as I am sure everyone else does. SLF all the way! Damned, classic!

Dan Sveaver
July 12, 2013 at 1:44 pm

I also thought he’d have the New York Dolls’ debut album in his top 20

July 12, 2013 at 1:36 pm

No Stooges? Meh.

Dan Sveaver
July 12, 2013 at 1:41 pm

Yeah, I’m surprised that he didn’t include [at least] “Raw Power”

Colin P. Müller
July 13, 2013 at 6:34 pm

There’s still a lot of debate over whether or not the Stooges were a “punk” band. They certainly inspired the early punk rockers. Personally I think they were garage rock.

Dan Sveaver
July 12, 2013 at 1:36 pm

I bought “Damaged” when it was initially released, and thought it a masterpiece. about 30 yrs later, I still do, even though I feel more self-conscious singing the tunes at 47 than I did at 17. Still, very humble of Rollins to leave it out.

Hutch Trugent
July 12, 2013 at 12:26 pm

i am going to way over think this – but i am 35 and Rollins had a lot of impact on my adolescentce – Notice the absence of most early american hardcore (short of the minutemen) – i mean, no Bad Brains? but i think we owe that to two factors. One is that bands like Minor Threat are hardcore, not punk. Is there a difference> eh… for the sake of this list, yes. Two: he grew up in that era. it’s hard to judge what you were in the middle of. When Scorcese talks the history of film – he stops in the late 60′s… because he became a part of the fabric.

- The Clash is so overrated. the obviously had the impact worldwide, nuff repsect – but all time punk albums. You only need the first.
- for the fool asking about NOFX and Rancid. even though i do not enjoy them, i get what they did. that said – top 20 all time? no way.
- I love to see Henry drop bands like Wire, The Adverts, The Ruts, and especially Eater. For all you people whining there aren’t more than Clash song or Bad Religion – please listen to Eater!!!
- SLF first 3 albums are amazing and are vicious.
- Great call on UK Subs, Buzzcocks, The Fall, The Saints. Underrated.

… DOA? again, he is friends with them, so it gets soiled.
But what about Angelic Upstarts, Cock Sparrer, Cockney Rejects, Sham 69? All the DC dudes loved Blitz and those bands. But again some of that is 1982…well into Rollins’ hardcore career.
Discharge should make it. Hell Motorhead was more punk than most.

Eduardo Dedini
July 12, 2013 at 12:11 pm

Amazing man,Rollins rules!

July 12, 2013 at 9:44 am

Maybe because it’s an EP but I’m surprised the Spiral Scratch EP isn’t on there. Came out in 77 and I’ve heard him talk a lot about it. Plus it is amazing.

July 12, 2013 at 9:35 am

Good list. No Dead Kennedys or Misfits? I think it should be top 20 :-)

July 11, 2013 at 9:41 pm

It’s a solid list. These things are always subjective but I think this one is not too bad.

Michael Millett
July 11, 2013 at 9:32 pm

No 90′s punk? Out come the wolves – Rancid, Punk in Drublic – NOFX, Stranger then Fiction – Bad Religion

Drew Janes
July 12, 2013 at 1:51 am

bad religion was 80′s punk cout in producing since late 70′s i think?

July 12, 2013 at 2:40 am

Rancid and NOFX suck

Alex Young
July 12, 2013 at 9:31 am

I agree with you on NOFX, but Rancid sucks? C’mon!

July 12, 2013 at 10:49 am

Rancid is amazing, you’re insane

Eduardo Dedini
July 12, 2013 at 12:14 pm

NOFX sucks,but Rancid makes good music!


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