There are still plenty of bands missing and more albums to collect, for sure. Some punk bands weren't good for more than a single or two, or never released a definitive album during their brief -- or not too brief -- careers. Most great punk rock was done by single, however, the truly great bands did manage at least one album.
What do you say we clear the mosh pit and put in some chairs for those of us whose backs can no longer handle the slam dancing of old?
Turn down the hearing aids, it's going to get loud!
24) The Dictators -- Go Girl Crazy!: Led by the charming Handsome Dick Manitoba and Andy Shernoff, the Dictators were among the first groups to create the modern mix of junk culture love and enthusiasm over chops. Their rough and tumble cover of Sonny and Cher's "I Got You Babe" never sounded more lovely. But "Master Race Rock" sounds like they're tripping over one another for the TV remote.
22) The Damned -- Machine Gun Etiquette: As punks better learned their instruments, they began reaching out to other styles of music that made their punk attack ever more interesting. While punk rock has little to no reason for existing today in its manicured form, back in the late 1970s it needed all the modifications it could handle. Standing on the dole line is boring. The Damned got the idea to make it sound like fun. Remember when poor people weren't the enemy?
20) Circle Jerks -- Group Sex: Black Flag took on the darkness, while their singer Keith Morris took off for lighter pastures with the hilarious Circle Jerks. Group Sex is fourteen songs in fifteen minutes. The ADD generation starts here.
18) Black Flag -- Damaged: Though Henry Rollins is synonymous with Black Flag, much of the group's legacy is rooted in a time before he joined the ranks. Rollins' angst would slow the band down, but the stuff written before he showed his face careens out of control like pure hardcore. Maybe "Damaged I" is more emotionally "true," but "Rise Above," "TV Party" and "Six Pack" are better songs. Only a churl doesn't love a TV Party.
16) Dead Kennedys -- Plastic Surgery Disasters: Some might pick Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables or In God We Trust, Inc. But I'm partial to this ambitious collection that manages to work the entire field, from thrashers to grinders to rockabilly. Due to the band's provocative nature, East Bay Ray may be the world's most underrated guitarist. Remove the shock value and there are some killer riffs waiting to do real damage.
14) The Clash -- London Calling: I think I'm supposed to take the Green Album, but I just can't. Maybe the original Black Market Clash ten-inch record, but definitely London Calling, which broadens the punk palette until it's so many shades of grey that it can be played over and over without your arms getting tired.
12) Johnny Thunders and the Heartbreakers -- L.A.M.F.: Such a glorious mess in its first edition that it's been remixed several times since to better point up its attributes. The New York Dolls split the difference between glam and punk, but Thunders directed his new band to go in for the kill. If this music sounded dangerous, it's because it was dangerous. Would you let your daughter marry a Heartbreaker? I don't think so. Unless you hate your daughter.
10) Bedlam -- Bedlam: New Jersey had more popular hardcore punk bands, but never one that sounded more like a cement mixer running over your creepy uncle. Love songs to NJ include "Dioxin" and "New Jersey: Chemical Dump State," while the, ahem, tribute to "MTV" and covers of "Burnin' Love" and the Flintstones theme (twice!) made them popular with kids of all ages. Best song title: "Hated You Then and I Hate You Now." Best line: "I don't want to take her out to eat / I just want to spend my money on me." Don't we all!
8) Minor Threat -- Out of Step: Taking "Complete Discography" seems like a cheat, even if it all does fit on one CD. "Salad Days" is the perfect culmination of this Washington, DC hardcore band's narrative. And in a righteous world I would be allowed to add the single to stretch out this EP, but sticking to the rules somewhat, I say at eight or nine songs, this thing kicks harder than most full-length rock albums and even lasts longer than at least two dozen punk albums I can think of. Ian MacKaye was ok, but his disciples were often thick and ordinary. Not his fault.
6) Misfits -- Walk Among Us: Recently re-listened to this one and dang if it didn't come racing out of the speakers like I owed it money. The unison chants mean anybody can sing along and the ratty sound erroneously convinced aspiring punks that anyone could play it. But that isn't so, as thirty years of schoolin' haven't put nobody on no day shift.
4) Dead Boys -- Young, Loud and Snotty: "Sonic Reducer" would be the National Anthem for the country I would want to rule. Or at least be a semi-conscious citizen of. "Caught With the Meat In Your Mouth" is fun, but "I Need Lunch" is to the point. Don't forget there's even a Younger, Louder and Snottier version for those of you who are never satisfied.
2) The Ramones -- Leave Home: Picking one Ramones album is the real Sophie's Choice. The first self-titled one is the blueprint and Rocket To Russia is the full-on actualization. That leaves Leave Home, which Carbona-full or no should never be discounted. I'll be your Pinhead, if you'll be mine.